Who | Daniel Castro
Where | Toronto, Canada
Current Bar | Freelance (Graffiti Hospitality, BarChef)
Past Bar(s) |La Banane, Toronto Temperance Society
Favourite Spirit | Vermouth
Favourite Juice | Watermelon
Favourite Classic Cocktail | Sazerac (in ritual form)
Favourite Part of the Job | To name one? It’s the human connection. The meaningful conversations and genuine relationships that one can develop with guests. I treasure those moments and don’t take their time for granted.
To answer in full…
It’s everything outside of the glass; the long hours, late nights, the nonsensical banter with both staff and guests, the cuts on my fingers at the end of a rough shift, the team rising above any hiccups during service, arriving early so you can peacefully mis your bar to spec, seeing the sun come up while on the way home etc.
It’s the challenging thrill that is the zen of what we do while in the thick of it.
This means putting the joy of cocktail-making low on my priority list, not the other way around. This in turn allows me to embrace and appreciate some of the aspects that this profession brings.
Favourite After Work Drink | Water
Favourite at Home Drink | Water. Wine, if it’s been a long week.
Favourite bar in the world | Arnaud’s French 75 Bar (New Orleans)
Best known for | All things New Orleans: history, cocktails, and hospitality
Best story from behind the wood | An older gentleman who had been sitting quietly at the bar for a while discretely tells me to settle his and the whole bar’s tab. I paused for a moment to think about what he just told me. Curiosity getting the better of me, I reluctantly asked him, “Why?”.
He tells me he had just won a big case. I quietly congratulated him on the big win, as well as complimented him on the kind gesture. He tells me that it’s the least that he could do – he’s a defense lawyer who would’ve preferred to have been the prosecutor in this case.
We didn’t discuss much further, and he soon went about his way. He, like many of us, sometimes come to the bar to find some sort of solace, a haven. I can only surmise that this was his way of doing right, that he left happier than when he first arrived.
What do you collect? Criterion Collection and horror films.
Favourite thing about your city? My neighbourhood of Rexdale for always keeping me grounded.
What was the last photo that you took? Of my wife completing her 1,000 piece puzzle. So proud of her!
Where was your last vacation? Our wedding & honeymoon: New Orleans/DisneyWorld/Universal Studios
Any claims to fame? Naw.
Belt or suspenders? Belt
Fernet or Cynar? Cynar
New Orleans or New York City? New Orleans
Glass or Tin? Glass
Are you available for freelance gigs? Yes
Find him: Facebook | Instagram
Media: Tales of the Cocktail: Finding Love at Tales
The Guardian: Tales of the Cocktail: New Orleans event proves booze industry knows how to party
Tales of the Cocktail: When You Serve Drinks For A Living, How Do You Stay Healthy?
Tales of the Cocktail: How to Keep “Bar Hands” At Bay