A progressive and admired figure in North America’s bar world, Christina Veira has been a central figure in furthering the conversation around cocktails, hospitality, leadership and safety, emerging as a role model and mentor for bartenders across the length and breadth of the continent. She is recognised for her commitment to making the cocktail sector a safer and more equitable place to work with the first-ever Roku Industry Icon Award as part of North America’s 50 Best Bars.
With family roots in Jamaica, Veira has hospitality in her blood – her grandmother owned a shop-cum-bar-cum-dancehall – but she only joined the industry by chance while at university. It was the beginning of a romance that saw her progressively hone her practical cocktail-making skills while also developing an interest in the educational side of the business, achieving a certification as spirits educator and hospitality consultant from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET).
As partner and general manager of Bar Mordecai in Toronto, No.47 in North America’s 50 Best Bars 2022, Veira is putting her leadership skills to good work by leading a group of talented and conscious bartenders. Located in a trendy stretch of Dundas Street West, Bar Mordecai has become a hit among Toronto locals and visitors thanks to its accessibility, commitment to community building and carefully crafted cocktails.
At Bar Mordecai, Veira has already harnessed her hospitality skills to raise over US$100,000 for organisations that support women and LGBTQ+ rights and that fight food insecurity. Passionate about educating the next generation of bartenders, she plans to open her own school in the second half of 2022, featuring a holistic approach that will centre intersectionality, empathy, accessibility and empowerment.
Beyond her work at Bar Mordecai, Veira also shares her learnings generously with the industry as bar and beverage curator for Restaurants Canada Show, the country’s largest hospitality event; as national coordinator for Speed Rack Canada, an all-female bartending competition; and formerly as director of programming for Toronto Cocktail Week. With the Roku Industry Icon Award now under her belt, she is establishing herself as a leading light, nationally and internationally, in the movement towards a better hospitality space.