Tristan Joseph, bartender

Updated: Dec 16, 2020


This is Tristan Joseph, from Toronto.


Tristan is 28 years old and is from Scarborough, East end of Toronto. He studied video game development. He used to play a lot of video games and spent his free time conceptualizing his own characters, so choosing to make a career out of it seemed like a great choice. However, when he started to understand then inner workings of the industry, he decided that it wasn’t the life he wanted to build for himself and left the program.

Like many of us, Tristan had started to work in the hospitality industry in order to support himself while he was in school. He started as a runner at a Mill Street Brewery in Toronto. At that time, he was really shy and loved the idea of the super cool bartender that is friend with everyone. He started to be invited to go out with the bartenders for after shift drinks. He enjoyed being social with them and wanted to be more comfortable with that. Eventually, he got to the point where he wanted to get to know them as friends rather than colleagues, and that really helped it overcome his shyness. From there on, it became easy to treat his guests the same way and he started to enjoy the impact he could have on people once he became very personable with them. Today, Tristan bartends at Civil Liberties, one of the best cocktail bars in Toronto.


Tristan got into cocktails on his own and learned out of his personal interests. He has quite an instinctive approach to cocktail bartending. Like he explained us, his mother comes from Trinidad and whenever he tried to learn how to cook with her, there was never really any measurements. It was more like “a little bit of this, and a little bit of that”. Tristan realized that he applied the same approach when it comes to making cocktails.

Overall, Tristan appeared to us as being quite an interesting character. He is nerdy and shy, but personable and radiant at the same time. For the past few months, he has gotten pretty involved at Civil Liberties and spends most of his time trying to help the business survive and thrive. If you don’t know him or the bar he works at, we highly recommend you go for a visit once it is possible and safe to do so.

For Tristan's cocktail recipe, click here.

A little bit more about Tristan...

The three words that describe him best: quiet – kind – attentive

Fun fact to know about him: He’s a big nerd and has been playing Donjon and Dragon once a week with the same guys for the last five years.


One bottled cocktail to bring on a desert island: A Navy Grog.

How he likes his martini: Gin and dirty. 8:1 gin to vermouth ratio.


The biggest lesson his job taught him: Even when people are really upset, being nice to them, trying to diffuse the situation while remaining calm and really trying to understand why they are upset is what really helps. Meeting hostility with more hostility doesn’t bring you anywhere. In other words, understanding how to solve social problems was a big lesson for him.


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