During these unprecedented times, the hospitality industry needs leaders like never before. Josh Davis is an industry veteran with over 15 years of experience and he is also the founder of Brown And Balanced which started as an event at Portland Cocktail Week and Camp Runamok and has since built into a stand-alone entity.
The first season aired last fall, with a focus on different Black hospitality professionals. Brown and Balanced, presented by Campari America, was such a success and is back again for Season 2, continuing on Friday, June 18th with Toronto’s Christina Veira.
At the core of Brown and Balanced is the mission to share talents and stories of Black and Brown food and beverage professionals and the projects they’re developing through digital content. As Davis describes it, “think In Living Color and Mad TV meets Charlamagne Tha God meets Black and Brown Bartenders. BOOM.”
When quarantine and lockdowns swept the nation, Brown and Balanced hosted a series of Happy Hours over on Instagram featuring bartenders, servers, and cocktail enthusiasts from all over the U.S. to share their stories and backgrounds. After taking time to rest and restore, Brown and Balanced is coming back to continue conversations.
The next Featured Bartender of the season will be Christina Veira of Toronto, Canada’s Bar Mordecai. Read on for more about Christina’s journey and what to expect from her Brown and Balanced appearance.
Keep reading to get to know Christina and in support of Brown & Balanced, we ask that you please keep up with all of Campari America’s industry-focused events and education by following @CampariCommunity or signing up for the Campari mailing list HERE.
Name, City/State, most recent place of employment.
Christina Veira, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Bar Mordecai.
What are your pronouns?
If you weren’t a Bartender what would you be doing?
Probably one of two things. I’d either be working in non-profits in something child-focused (working with shelters or food insecurity). Or, honestly, some sort of marketing work.
How did you get started in the industry?
I have the very typical and unsexy origin story of wanting a job with flexible hours while in university. Working in restaurants fit the bill and also guaranteed a free meal. Win/win.
How do you see Black/Brown bartenders using their platforms to enact change in what we see across the bartending community?
With the social climate in the world today, I feel like our industry is a microcosm of society.
What are some ways you have been able to shift and try to stay afloat?
2020 was a crazy year, with the shutdown affecting all of our businesses. Personally, I was lucky to be able to still continue a lot of the spirits educator and teaching work I had been doing pre-pandemic. Before COVID, I was self-employed as a consultant, teacher and event producer.
If you could have drinks with 5 people dead, alive, or fictional who would you choose and what would you be drinking?
This is probably a bit of a cop out but I would absolutely love to have a drink with my great-great grandparents and beyond. There is so much of our family history in Jamaica that is cobbled-together stories, many apocryphal in nature. I would love to just fully understand what was important to them, how they lived and how they loved each other. Some of my fondest memories is visiting back home when I was a child and being in the garden with my great-grandfather or watching my grandmother make coconut drops or my other grandmother tend to her shop/bar/dancehall (yes, my family owned a shop/bar/dancehall, I come by this naturally).
What is the best advice a bar mentor of yours has given you?
People don’t go to bars because of the bartender. Bartenders can augment or distract from their time but at the end of the day
If you could go back to the beginning of your career what is some advice you would give yourself?
Stop putting your energy into people that never want you to succeed. You don’t need to convince them of anything and their inability to see your worth is not your personal failure. Take that energy and spend it on those who want to see you thrive and who you want to see alongside you at the top.
Martha Brae with Appleton Estate 8
Named after the river that runs by my family’s home town, this stirred drink plays with the spice and orange back bone of Appleton 8 while complimenting it with some of my favourite bitter, sweet and herbaceous flavours. While the other components come from all over the world, it combines to make a drink that is reminiscent of some of my favourite Jamaican flavours.
- 1.5 oz Appleton 8
- .5 oz Cynar
- .5 oz Spanish Sweet Vermouth
- .25 oz Akvavit
- .25 oz Amontillado Sherry (I used Romate)
Combine all ingredients in a chilled mixing glass. Stir well with Kold Draft ice for 10-15 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe and finish with a spray of thyme tincture*. Enjoy!
*Thyme tincture: macerate a small bunch of fresh whole thyme sprigs in 500ml of Wray and Nephew for 48 hours. Strain out and keep in a sealed mason jar in your fridge
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