🍸 DIY Cocktails? An Inside Look at Bombay Sapphire's "Canvas Bar" 🍸

bombay sapphire gin canvas bar toronto pop-up
Yesterday, I attended the media event for Bombay Sapphire's Canvas Bar, a month-long pop-up located at 950 Queen Street West (just a few blocks west of Trinity Bellwoods). The point of the bar is to use your glass as a canvas (hence the name), by following four easy steps to create your own custom cocktail! Don't fret if you prefer to leave the drink making to the professionals; there are renowned bartenders from across North America that will be rotating weekly to bring you their unique twist on a Bombay Sapphire-inspired cocktail. For more information on this interactive pop-up, keep reading!

bombay sapphire gin canvas bar toronto pop-up
Photo: Vito Amati/Ryan Emberley Photography

The pop-up is located in an industrial, modern space and naturally, has a sapphire blue colour scheme. While there are places to sit and mingle, it's definitely an experiential location rather than a final night out destination. Also, it goes without saying, but this pop-up is 19+. To start, let's dive into how the DIY cocktail process actually works.


Step 1: Choose Your Gin
bombay sapphire gin canvas bar toronto pop-up

Since the pop-up is put on by Bombay Sapphire, it should come as no surprise that this is a pretty simple step. The two options are Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin and Bombay Sapphire East. If you're unfamiliar with either (or both) of these options, there are staff on hand to help you make a decision. Once you make your selection, the staff will hand you your "canvas" with the gin pre-poured.


Step 2: Mix
bombay sapphire canvas bar toronto pop-up mixer

All of the mixers are on tap, so you're welcome to add as much as you would like. You can even mix and match if you're feeling indecisive! The options are Citrus Floral Tonic, Herbal Earthy Tonic, and Spicy Sweet Mule (for all of the Moscow Mule lovers out there). My friend and I sampled all of the mixers and you truly cannot go wrong. All of them are complementary to the gin, and not as strong in flavour as their names may lead you to believe, so it's simply personal preference.

Also, how stunning is this glass jar display? 


Step 3: Spritz
bombay sapphire canvas bar toronto pop-up spritz

This station consists of four perfume bottles that you can use to spritz your drink. The spritz options are Lemongrass Extract, Cassia Extract, Bergamot Extract, and Edible Glitter. Yes, you read that correctly. EDIBLE GLITTER

It felt a little strange to spray my cocktail with a perfume bottle, but this ended up being one of my favourite stations. All of the extracts were enticing, and I could not get enough of the edible glitter. Also, this gorgeous floral wall is actually a paint by numbers, so you can further indulge your creative side if you please. Some people were even free-handing to add more detail to the design. 

bombay sapphire canvas bar toronto pop-up spritz
Photo: Vito Amati/Ryan Emberley Photography

STEP 4: Garnish
bombay sapphire canvas bar toronto pop-up garnish

Whether you're garnishing for the added flavour, or purely for aesthetic purposes, this is definitely the station that allows you to have the most creative liberty. Plus, after this step, you finally get to enjoy your DIY cocktail! This station has essentially every garnish you could dream of, and I was impressed by how fresh the entire spread was.

bombay sapphire canvas bar toronto pop-up garnish

And voilà! Your masterpiece is finished/your drink is ready.

bombay sapphire canvas bar toronto pop-up


The Non-DIY Bar
bombay sapphire canvas bar toronto cocktails
Photo: Vito Amati/Ryan Emberley Photography
As I mentioned earlier, there is also a bar that's manned by some of North America's most talented bartenders. These bartenders will rotate each week, and they've each created unique Bombay Sapphire cocktails that are much more intricate than the DIY tonic/mule cocktails you make on the "canvas" side of the pop-up. It was really cool to speak with each of them and see the artistry that goes into creating these cocktails.

bombay sapphire canvas bar toronto cocktails
Photo: Vito Amati/Ryan Emberley Photography


Other Tidbits
stir creativity bombay sapphire canvas bar

In case you haven't gleaned this from any of the photos above, this place is incredibly Instagrammable. There are a few neon signs at your disposal to pose in front of, and there's even an artist who makes custom wooden stir sticks so you can personalize your drink even further.


If you're looking to "Stir Creativity" (or watch some professionals do it), I highly recommend checking this pop-up out. It's such a distinct interactive experience because of its choose your own adventure vibe. It's also incredibly fun to do with family and friends so you can taste test each other's personal concoctions. I genuinely think this is an experience that could appeal to people of all ages (as long as they're over the age of 19!).

The pop-up will be open every Thursday to Sunday evening until the end of November. 

Cheers, and happy DIY-ing!

stir creativity bombay sapphire canvas bar

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