The seminars that took place at Toronto Cocktail Conference 2019.
COCKTAIL SAFE! presented by Camper English
This seminar from the founder of CocktailSafe.org will explore safety in cocktail ingredients and techniques. We’ll look into the common sources of faulty information including “detox” websites and vintage cocktail books (I’m looking at you, Jerry Thomas), before getting to the good stuff, or rather, the bad stuff. We’ll cover the top misused ingredients at the bar including tobacco, activated charcoal, cinchona bark/tonic syrup, and essential oils, and the techniques that can get bartenders into trouble, including fat-washing and liquid nitrogen. Along the way we’ll cover bitter almonds, calamus, copper, vintage tiki mugs (bad news about those), wormwood, and tonka beans (good news about those… for Canadians). Finally, we’ll touch upon allergenic and drug-interacting ingredients and the bartender’s responsibility for labelling cocktail menus accordingly.
Sponsored by Jameson Caskmates
ROUND BUILDING, REVISED presented by Iain Griffiths
We all know there is a correct way to build every chit but the “laws” of 2008 when this ideology first reached saturation are long overdue for an update. Whether it’s the development of the reverse dry shake, building stirred drinks on block ice or Dave Arnold blowing everyone’s minds with how abruptly thermal exchange ceases when you stop agitation, we’ve come a VERY long way in the last 20 years, yet a lot of bartender gospel is preaching outdated mind sets.
This talk is part one of a two part series being presented during TOCC looking at the in’s & out’s of high volume cocktail bartending in modern bars.
Sponsored by Ungava Gin.
TIKI THROUGH A POLYNESIAN LENS: A DIVE INTO TIKI HISTORY AND ITS CONNECTION TO THE COLONIZATION & MARGINALIZATION OF POLYNESIA presented by Samuel Jimenez
Tiki is a subculture that has is globally recognized and celebrated. Many of our industries most colourful, knowledgable and esteemed personalities stem from this sub-culture. But is it cultural appropriation and is It problematic?
This seminar is aimed towards creating a conversation that is on many minds within the cocktail community but very few have the experience to speak on. It is my belief that the issues that surround tiki go unnoticed because of the lack of representation of people from Oceania in our industry. Tiki as a subculture cites Polynesia as a core influence in it’s inspiration but strays away from acknowledging the misrepresentation of Polynesian culture by hiding behind the terms of “faux-Polynesia” and “Polynesian Pop”. It is my goal with this seminar to educate attendees on the history and origins of Tiki and attaching them to the colonization of Polynesia. It is my belief that many people within our industry are unaware of the marginalization of Polynesia’s people and the real threats that Oceania faces as a result of its relationship with the USA. Economic exploitation, the threat of climate change, the forced annexation of Hawaii, and misrepresentation of a real culture. It’s a conversation that is layers but has to begin somewhere. Why not here?
Sponsored by Tequila Patron.
FROM COLONY TO COUNTRY TO COCKTAIL CULTURE: THE SPIRITED HISTORY OF CANADA presented by Shane Beehan and Spencer Gooderham
This seminar will take a detailed historical tour of our Country and the spirits and individuals that helped shape our drinking culture. From the first settlers arriving from the old world, to our earliest distillers and distilleries that helped build infrastructure and create community, to the bartenders that created some of the world’s most iconic cocktails, Canada is a rich tapestry of stories that have folded together to create a unique and vibrant cocktail culture. Sharing tales from our history and recipes from famous manuals we aim to mix a cocktail of Canadiana that proudly celebrates our modern moment.
Sponsored by Gooderham & Worts
COCKTAIL CHEMISTRY 101 presented by Mark Harrop and Simon Ho
The goal of this seminar is to gain an understanding the basic chemistry related to making cocktails and alcohol production and how to use this information to better understand flavours. Some of the topics to be covered include proofing, dilution and batching formulas. We’ll be bridging the gap between your Grade 10 science classroom, the distillery and behind the bar.
Sponsored by Spirit of York.
COMMUNICATING VALUES presented by Ashtin Berry and Paul Clarke
Bar and restaurant owners have long been focused on ways to relate their establishment’s approach and style to colleagues, customers and the media. But what about conveying that bar’s values in these politically potent times? This session will focus on ways hospitality professionals can make sharing their values part of their standard procedure, from issues related to inclusion and diversity to topics such as sexual harassment, sustainability and support for local communities.
Sponsored by Aviation Gin.
BITTER/SWEET – A PROUDLY UNCOMFORTABLE HISTORY OF RUM AND DRINK IN THE CARIBBEAN presented by Christina Veira
The goal of the seminar is to present a true history of rum in the Americas. We will discuss the growth of sugar cane (and rum) as an industry along with its foundation on the slave trade affected the global economy in myriad ways . The objective is to honour the contributions of all people to rum production – not only land owners – while also shedding light on how it is possible to both be descended from trauma while still enjoying the product of it, In the process, we will discuss how plantations and agriculture developed past emancipation. The seminar will culminate with a tasting of the myriad of flavours often showcased in pan-Caribbean cuisine, especially as it relates to drinks. Caribbean drinks tradition, if recognized, is often conflated with Tiki Culture instead of the rich traditions of using barks, herbs, bittering agents, fresh fruits and fermentation enjoyed throughout the islands. This will be showcased throughout both composed drinks (mauby, sorrel, irish moss, ponche, ti, cerasee) and techniques. These are often ignored due to a perception that a lack of “mixology culture” means a lack of flavour or culinary history; we hope to dispel this.
Sponsored by Toronto Cocktail Conference
THE GREEN HUSTLE presented by Kelsey Ramage and Ricardo Dynan
Sustainability is a word that is too often thrown around, misrepresented and overused within the drinks industry, we’re here to change that. Come and be inspired by different views and challenges around Sustainability within the bar environment, but all with the same mindset – with the objective of instigating change. At Michelin starred restaurant Fäviken far up in Northern Sweden, the climate and environment are a crucial part of how they deliver their food and drink concept. Only ingredients found around them are to be used. How does this environment affect what cocktails that are served – as well as the how and why techniques of the world’s only bar “beyond the wall” (that we know off…) Trash Tiki will be inspiring you to get involved in applying easily implementable hacks within your bars that are both beneficial to the environment our industry, and your bottom line. Things you can easily do TODAY to be apart of the change. Sustainability can be an overwhelming topic, but we hope we will make it less daunting and more accessible for everyone – the smallest act can make a big impact and you can have fun and be inventive along the way! Join Global Ambassador from Absolut Vodka, Rico Dynan and Trash Tiki’s Kelsey Rampage as they spirit you away in a fun sustainable world of new thinking, delicious drinks, biodegradable confetti, practical demonstrations, and generally a dope seminar on how you can make a change.
Sponsored by Absolut
BETTER BAR MANAGING presented by Trevor Kallies
The Bar Manager role in a Bar or Restaurant is can be the job that is both the Gift and the Curse. The role is at most times thankless. You are charged with controlling costs, managing inventory, chasing variance and become responsible for your team’s strengths, weaknesses & opportunities. It can be a stepping stone to venue management, bar ownership or it can drive someone out of the industry entirely. In this seminar we will cover all facets of managing a bar and a bar team, from costing a menu, to becoming a mentor and all things in between. It will be a crash course in how to work the position of Bar Manager into one that is organized and allows for personal time and personal growth.
Sponsored by Bearface Canadian Whisky.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT THROUGH COMMUNITY BUILDING & INTERACTION presented by Evelyn Chick and Christina Veira
What is your purpose in this industry? Your strengths? Longevity? Are you on the path of least resistance or paving your own way? How do you measure success? How do you reach your goals?
In this seminar, Evelyn Chick & Christina Veira leads an important conversation on how to navigate your position in this industry. Dive into issues like hitting a career crossroad, making calculated choices about your future using your strengths and weaknesses, how to leverage outreach, relationships, networking & customer service from behind the bar and into new spaces. The goal is to open up everyone’s mind to possibilities beyond the roles of being a star bartender, bar owner, brand manager or drinks writer and lean into the community around us to find alternative answers. You don’t need to have a set Five Year ( or even one year) plan to attend.
Sponsored by Toronto Cocktail Conference
STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM, NOW WE’RE HERE – HOW TO NAVIGATE YOUR CAREER IN THE BAR, RESTAURANT AND SPIRITS WORLD presented by Amber Bruce, Dave Mitton and Katherine Boushel
From humble beginnings in the bar and restaurant scene to navigating yourself into your ideal role. Please join Amber Bruce (Bar Manager & Partner, The Keefer Bar and Vice President, Canadian Professional Bartenders Association) Kate Boushel (Bartender and Beverage and Education Director, Barroco Group) and Dave Mitton (Global Brand Ambassador of International Canadian Spirits at Corby Spirit and Wine, and former bar and restaurant owner in Toronto) for a discussion on guiding your way through this amazing world of bars, restaurants, and spirits. Where it’s certainly not all glitz and glamour. They will discuss the realities of making your way up the ladder of success as a bartender, owner, operator, right down to how much your life changes when you decide to become one with a brand. With these three in the same room, it should just as much fun as it will be an informative and relevant time.
Sponsored by Lot 40
BE A SPEED QUEEN/KING: HOW TO SPEED UP SERVICE WITHOUT COMPROMISING QUALITY presented by Tess Anne Sawyer
Whether you work at a high volume cocktail bar or a well-paced restaurant, there are always pivotal moments of the service “crunch” in each shift. Now that we’ve discussed different methods and approaches to round building, let’s fit that into your overall service. In this class we will discuss: how to set your bar up for success, the best round building type for your bar and service style, and how to “dance” with your co-workers, all to create speed in service, but never compromise the quality of service or drinks.
This talk is part two in a two part series being presented during TOCC looking at the in’s & out’s of high volume cocktail bartending in modern bars.
Sponsored by Jack Daniel’s
DEALERS CHOICE: THE ART OF NO MENU presented by Andrew Whibley and Nick Kennedy
Dealer’s choice can be one of the most fun parts of the job, or frustrating if it isn’t done properly. Nick Kennedy (Civil Liberties) and Andrew Whibley (Cloakroom Bar) both run programs that are solely based on this concept. Let them walk you through the ups and downs of this process including why their bars operate this way, how to properly take an order with no menu, how to balance the books and what to do if a client throws a complete curve ball. This seminar should give you all the tools to comfortably go off menu the next time a client requests it.
Sponsored by Luksusowa
SOCIAL MEDIA: A TOOL FOR GROWTH presented by Cocktail Bandits
The Cocktail Bandits will share how they used social media and a love for Tequila to create a platform to educate, entertain and empower through craft cocktail advocacy. The duo turned their blog website on cocktail tips and social events into a published book covering the cultural influences in Charleston’s current and past beverage history.
Sponsored by Toronto Cocktail Conference
THE SUSTAINABLE BARTENDING PROJECT presented by Lucas Groglio
Coctelería Consciente: The Sustainable Bartending Project is the first project in the world to introduce sustainability into the DNA of the cocktail and spirits industry.
Our main goal is to raise awareness in the cocktail industry about the environment, sustainability, circular economy, healthy habits, and social responsibility through cocktails, spirits, and bars working together for the sustainable development of the industry while we have the opportunity to positively impact our guests, teams, communities and cities. In this seminar you will learn real know-how and examples on how the industry is introducing sustainability into their daily operations from bars, festivals, spirits companies, distillers, breweries, and entrepreneurs around the world, contributing to a more sustainable, profitable and healthier cocktail and spirits industry.
Sponsored by Toronto Cocktail Conference
BARTENDING TECHNIQUES 101: THE GUEST IS ALWAYS RIGHT presented by Ana Wolkowski, Iain Griffiths and Robin Goodfellow
All the cocktail books, technique training, and classic recipes in the universe are irrelevant to the most important part of the drink…. asking the guest if they enjoy it. Balance is relative, as is knowledge. Yet, we forget to include in our vigorous training and fancy bar prep the only thing that really matters, the goal of our entire operations, whether or not the actual drink being served is being enjoyed by the person who is paying for it. This group will discuss how building the utility belt of cocktail technology is only useful when the kryptonite of ego and perfection is at a safe distance.
Sponsored by Whitley Neill
VERMOUTH PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE presented by Shaun Byrne
There are so many different ways to serve, drink and store. Shaun Byrne, bartender and Author of The Book of Vermouth and co- founder of Maidenii, will discuss and showcase the spectrum of Vermouth while highlighting the history, trends and future of the drink. Coming all the way from Australia, it would be a missed opportunity to not take advantage of Shaun’s extended knowledge and expertise on all that is Vermouth.
Sponsored by Sovereign Canada
THE TYRANNY OF THE BLANK PAGE presented by Joaquin Simo
There’s nothing like staring at your entire backbar and realizing you have no idea where to start when creating a new cocktail. All of these delicious options, and yet, no ideas spring to mind. Joaquín Simó of NYC’s Pouring Ribbons will chat about the importance of using proven templates to help jump-start the creative process. Too many choices can be paralyzing, so creating restrictions is actually a great way to focus your creative energies. This is a skill that comes in very handy when coming up with seasonal drinks, themed menus, competition cocktails, as well as for cocktail consulting gigs.
Sponsored by Woodford Reserve
CHECK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YOURSELF: CONVERSATIONS ON HEALTH AND WELLNESS IN THE INDUSTRY presented by Amie Ward
From musculoskeletal disorders to emotional trauma, we put ourselves through the ringer working in this business. This course will take a look at the harsh realities of how the bar industry impacts our bodies and minds, and offer solutions to combat daily wear and tear. Proper footwear, nutrition, exercise, and self-care will be examined. Physical, mental, and emotional well-being will be discussed as it relates to bartenders and also bar managers–the sherpas to providing healthy environments for their team members.
Sponsored by Toronto Cocktail Conference
HOW WE LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE CRAFT SPIRITS presented by Christine Sismondo and Stephen Beaumont
After what felt like years of planes, trains and various road trips across various parts of rural Canada, Stephen Beaumont and Christine Sismondo came to develop a sincere love for local liquor. Come hear all their best stories and learn about some of our favourite distilleries across the nation, as well as our predictions for the future of craft spirits in Canada.
Sponsored by Bartender Atlas
KITCHEN TECHNIQUES BEHIND BARS presented by Micah Melton
Cooking techniques have slowly found their way into the daily prep routine of many Bartenders. Sous vide, weight vs volume, dehydrating, and ingredient manipulation have helped provide more consistency, intense flavour, and a higher caliber of garnish to our cocktails. So, which techniques should we be using? What are the do’s and don’ts of incorporating these techniques into your bar? Micah Melton, Beverage Director of the groundbreaking, forward thinking Alinea Group including the Aviary & Office Chicago/NYC will share some insight to help make your drinks more consistent, quick, interesting and delicious.