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Best Bartender Award 2023

Christina Veira

TO THE MANY who’ve been schooled by Christina Veira in everything from systemic racism to the flavour profile of Japanese awamori (and some other under-the-radar spirits), it will come as no surprise that she has been heavily invested in education and communication for most, if not all, of her life. In addition to her studies in English, math and philosophy at the University of Toronto, Veira’s extracurriculars included a part-time job at a “lettuce eatery” and a starring role on the competitive debate team.

Her hard work as a hospitality educator who has led the vanguard for progressive industry change continues to pay off. Awarded the Roku Industry Icon at the 2022 edition of North America’s 50 Best Bars, Veira is still riding a wave of success at Bar Mordecai, where she was made a partner less than a year after it opened, in 2020. Thanks to her cocktail smarts and keen sense of what makes a bar work, Mordecai has become one of Toronto’s buzziest bars.

Her on-point bartending, her enlightening social media feed and her groundbreaking seminars — like the one she gave on the politics of rum at the 2019 Toronto Cocktail Conference — have attracted the attention of industry folk around the world. Recently, she was invited to do guest shifts at Las Brujas in Mexico City and The Manor Bar at Rosewood Miramar Beach in California. World travel is fun, but Veira’s next big project is home-based — a proper spirits school in Toronto to help the next generation of bartenders excel in their careers.

—Christine Sismondo


Photography by Jessica Blaine Smith

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