What went down at Toronto Cocktail Week’s opening night gala at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

What went down at Toronto Cocktail Week’s opening night gala at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Toronto Cocktail Week made quite the splash when it kicked off its week-long event series at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada on Tuesday evening. During the sold-out opening-night gala, guests enjoyed unlimited cocktails made by the city’s best bartenders before taking selfies with sharks.

More drink stations than you could shake a jellyfish at were spread out over the aquarium’s two floors, each one represented by Toronto’s top cocktail bars and mixing up at least two signature drinks. With almost two-dozen cocktails on offer, there was something for everyone: Bulleit Bourbon bracers, Tio Pepe–laced tipples and Bacardi rum numbers. Some were sweet, some were spicy and some were straight-up strong. One of them even came garnished with mini marshmallows that were torched à la minute. And you can’t have a cocktail party without food, right? The solid portion of the night’s menu included fried chicken, tofu ssams, Korean barbecue and a dessert table loaded with churros, cupcakes and cookies. Here, a look at the spirited event. If you missed it, not to worry, there are still plenty of great events happening from now until October 20.

Diageo’s giant bar served up five different signature cocktails:


Here they are, including the appropriately named Kumbaya (second from right) garnished with a couple of torched marshmallows:

Everywhere you turned, another bar:

In honour of one of their cocktails (The Keep It Simple Syrup), the guys of Pinkerton’s, Poor Romeo and Maple Leaf Tavern went all out and dressed up as the members of KISS:

Nice photobomb, manta ray:

You can’t argue with the backdrops here:

Many an Instagram was uploaded:

Trevor Burnett, Spirits Ambassador, Woodman Wines and Spirits, mixing H by HINE Cognac Sidecars:

DaiLo’s Nick Liu was there:

So was PrettyUgly’s Robin Goodfellow (right):

The party was DJ’d:

Having fun at the Bacardi/Grey Goose station:

Thankfully—despite all the liquid courage—nobody took a dip in the shark tank:

The fried chicken was very popular:

As were the Drake sliders that were being passed around:

Check out the dessert table:

What an interesting fish!

More photos from the evening: