SCOTCH Stop by The Press Gang (5218 Prince Street) for an extensive selection of Scotch. Ask an unsuspecting bartender to make you a Rusty Nail with the Macallan 1971 and film their reaction.
GIN If you're looking for a great gin tonic, go no further than Field Guide (2076 Gottingen Street), which uses small batch tonic from Newfoundland's Third Place Tonic. Thanks to its Spanish-influenced menu, gin is also a good bet at Highwayman (1673 Barrington Street), where you'll also find a nice selection of Italian Amari and sophisticated cocktails tinged with nutty sherries, like The Macondo.
SHERRY The back bar at Little Oak (1475 Lower Water Street) also runs deep with sherries and amari, which you'll find in one of their signature drinks, The Ben Line, which also sings with pear bitters.You'll find lots of fresh flavours from ripe fruit and aromatic herbs on the small, refreshing list of seasonal cocktails at both Morris East (5212 Morris Street) and EDNA (2053 Gottingen Street), like the latter's Just Beet It, which features fresh beet juice and mint.
VODKA There's no better place for vodka than in one of Roy's shakers at his eponymous lounge at the Westin Nova Scotian (1181 Hollis Street). His vodka martinis are the stuff of legend, whether its with a twist, an olive or an onion.
SYRUPS & BITTERS Creativity is king at Lot Six (1685 Argyle Street) where you can depend on the crew for house-made syrups, shrubs and bitters that elevate any spirit.
RUM You can't do better than the bar at the Halifax Distilling Co. (1668 Lower Water Street) for a dark 'n' stormy or a daquiri since they make their own line of rum. But the Black Sheep (1569 Dresden Row) also does rum well, with creative cocktails like their coffee-infused Black Drip Flip.
BRANDY Grab a brandy by the fireplace at The Drawing Room (1222 Barrington Street, upstairs), or better yet get an absinthe drip in Sherlockian surroundings.
TEQUILA A selection of tequilas and mezcals make up an impressive hunk of the drinks menu at El Chino (2398 Robie Street). Make like you're in Mexico with a classic margarita, or try its sweeter sibling, the amaretto-laced Kay's Margarita.
WHISKEY Get yourself a whiskey-based Prohibition-era cocktail, like an Old Pal or a Sazerac at Noble (1563 Barrington Street, downstairs). Just make sure you have the password first.
You'll also find well-done classics like a Negroni or a Manhattan at the comfy bar at The Bicycle Thief (1475 Lower Water Street). It never hurts to look for Italian classics like a Campari and soda, an Aperol spritz or an Amaretto sour at the Thief or La Frasca (5650 Spring Garden Road).
BOURBON 2 Doors Down Bar + Bites (1533 Barrington Street) is a great place to explore local flavours with barrel-aged bourbon. Try the Maple Run (see page TK).
Cachaça If you like your drinks to have a tropical flare, Agricola Street Brasserie (2540 Agricola Street) regularly features Cachaça, distilled from sugarcane. You'll find it in the spicy, jalapeno-spiked Paso Doble cocktail.