The New Social Order

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Drink Tips from a Pro

Editor's Picks


Sarah Parniak is a Toronto-based beverage professional, which is to say that she’s represented Canada in international bartending competitions, she’s a drinks writer for magazines, and she’s an ambassador for Seedlip spirits, the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic liquors. We caught up with her and got some tips on where to drink, what to drink, and what to see while in town.

What’s the most important thing you learned as a bartender?

You never know who’s going to sit at your bar! Assume nothing, ask questions, be polite and above all, professional. Get to know your audience and approach all guests as individuals in order to provide the best experience possible.

What are you most excited for in 2019?

I’m really excited for Seedlip’s upcoming partnership with Terroir Symposium this May!

I’m also looking forward to finally releasing a long-incubated creative project into the world sometime soon.

Best place(s) in Toronto to…

…Enjoy a drink with a view

Canoe Restaurant! Sipping Champagne and slurping oysters while watching a majestic lightning storm over Lake Ontario is one of my most memorable Toronto aperitif experiences. During the summer months (we’re almost there!) the skyline view from the Thompson patio is hard to top.

…Try something unusual

Beeline for Sakai Bar for a mini education in sake styles. Owner Stu Sakai always has something unusual and delicious open and is always so willing to share his knowledge and love of Japan’s famous ferment.

…Drink natural wine

Toronto is finally catching up and discovering just how rad casually excellent wine bars can be—it seems like natty wine spots are the new cocktail bar!

Paris Paris is light-filled and lovely for an afternoon glass, but my all-time favorite Toronto wine joint is Archive. It’s super relaxed, the staff are great and their bottle list, full of weird and wonderful juice, is one of the city’s best.

…Grab a late-night bite

416 Snack Bar serves Toronto-inspired single-bite goodness until 2am, so that’s a go-to. Bar Raval is great for midnight pintxos and low-proof cocktails and Le Swan, one of Jen Agg’s new projects, has a lovely late-night vibe and menu—tuna melts for life!

…Take visitors to Toronto

Ah! So many places, so little time. Ideally, I’d take guests on a wee tour, starting with people-watching in Trinity Bellwoods over Sam James coffee and pastries from Nadege. Then a wander through Kensington Market, maybe a dumpling pit stop at Mother’s Dumplings, an AGO visit, and a cheeky glass of orange wine at Grey Gardens. A pre-dinner beer at Bellwoods Brewery, a delicious dinner at Imanishi Japanese Kitchen and sake and pinball tourneys at the Black Dice Café.