My 12th stranger bar was Toronto Temperance Society. This is one of the bars in Toronto where you really need to know your method and your palette needs to be in top form. Every drink on the list (or off) is done consistently, no matter who is on the bar. I worked with Oliver Stern who is really, really good at his job, has been in tonnes of competitions and is pretty funny.

The first thing I did was borrow a vest from him*. Then I started muddling pineapple, orange rind, lime rind and some booze together. After that, we added some simple syrup. This is the TTS pineapple syrup.

The room filled up quickly due to Sidecar (downstairs neighbour) being extraordinarily busy for a Wednesday. For the most part I stayed out of the way, but Oliver would occasionally tell  me proportions for drinks while he was on his way to bus a table or top up water. “Muddle, 2, 1, 3/4, spoon, big rock” or something like that, which makes no sense to anyone that doesn’t bartend.. It’s cool that he felt comfortable leaving me to it.

Once dinner was over we got a good crowd of industry folk. You might recognize this girl from a two-page Belvedere spread in last week’s Grid.

Or not.

Then the Sidecar staff headed up stairs and started ordering Tiki drinks from us. So we lit some stuff on fire and continued to geek out.

It was great working in a spot that pays tribute to the idea of the speakeasy. With everyone in there being a member and having a set of printed rules to follow there isn’t much room for misunderstanding or misbehaviour. So when 4 guys that clearly did not read the rules started asking ridiculous questions about why the 2″ ice cubes weren’t clear and why don’t we order blocks of ice in a very diminutive way, and went on to say “It’s funny to make fun of cocktails.” Oliver looked this guest in the eye and said “Then what are you doing here?” And all his buddies laughed at him. Manners go a long way.

At the end of the night Oliver was nice enough to pour a little of this into a glass for me to sip on while we wiped and wrapped up the impressive mis-en-place. I feel more and more like I can work at any bar i get put behind. I’ll keep testing that out on Monday when I work at Ursa with my friend Robin Goodfellow. See you there.

*Sometime before Halloween, I will post about The Vest and bartender uniforms.