Beyond Shirley Temples

We were interviewed by She Does The City about what motivated us to start Temperance Cocktails, and what our dream is for the business.

This is one of the smart things Haritha said:

Toronto is a very multicultural city. We have a high Muslim population, for example. That community is not considered when mainstream establishments are creating their menus. At the same time, a while back turmeric was huge in cocktails and beverages. It was such a hot item that everyone was using it; bartenders didn’t want to be left out of the big thing, but they were completely ignoring the fact that turmeric doesn’t actually go with everything. But you might not have any intuition for that if it’s not a flavour you grew up with, and for most of the top bartenders in the city, it wouldn’t be. People who have been marginalized because of their race and culture have also been shut out of a lot of those high-profile positions.

You can read the whole piece here!

Bottled drinks (not bottled feelings)

This winter, Workman Arts (we love them!) asked us if we’d be able to set up a bar at an upcoming event of theirs. It turned out that event was happening while we were in Cuba. Determined not to let them down, Haritha sprung into action and bottled hundreds of cocktails for them before we went on our trip.

Once we got back, we realized that bottling our drinks opened up so many possibilities!  They would be great in gift baskets as non-alcoholic alternatives to wine, folks could order them for parties, and we could even offer regular deliveries for people or companies in driving distance! 

As a non-drinker, Audra knows the lack of good choices at work functions can be kind of a drag. So we’re hoping to connect with organizations or companies that do things like “beer Fridays” or have stocked kitchens for employees. We’d love for you to have our drinks on offer for your staff who don’t drink (or don’t want a drink in that moment)!

Click here to make an order! If you have any questions, email

Ice Ice Baby Shower

One of the countless reasons for not drinking — not that you need a reason! — is pregnancy. But pregnant people deserve fancy drinks too, arguably even more than the rest of us! So we were so happy to be a part of a baby shower last weekend. Here’s a little video of what that looked like!


We were asked to prepare a ‘winter themed’ menu, so we created three non-alcoholic cocktails: Snow Day, Mitten Strings, and The Fireplace Channel. Here is the menu we presented the guests with.

Baby Shower-660

(We’d love to do more events like this, get in touch if you’ve got any coming up!)

WORKSHOP! Non-alcoholic holiday cocktails

You don’t have to drink to be merry! Attend our upcoming workshop and find out how to make a variety of non-alcoholic cocktails, as well as create your own signature holiday drink!

Included in the price of registration is a bottle of our Almond Orgeat, recipe cards, as well as all ingredients and equipment!

(The workshop location is our charming Parkdale apartment. There are stairs to the door and to our second-floor apartment, as well as three cats of varying quality.)

You don’t have to drink to be merry

At their best, the holidays provide a lovely opportunity to connect with the people you care about. So whether you are planning a large corporate event or a small at-home gathering, it is important to ensure no one is left out. One way to do that is by offering your guests high-quality non-alcoholic drink options. Temperance Cocktails can help.

“Alcohol isn’t a positive or even neutral thing for everyone,” says the company’s founder Haritha Gnanaratna. “Some people have religious reasons for not drinking. Some people are in recovery. Some people grew up around alcohol and have negative associations.”

“There are countless reasons a person might not want to drink,” he continued. “But there are no reasons not to have good non-alcoholic options.”

For the holidays, Temperance Cocktails is offering event bartending, menu consultation, workshop gift certificates, as well as non alcoholic shrubs and syrups.

“A lot of people consider wine to be a neutral gift,” said Gnanaratna “But it isn’t neutral for everyone. As an alternative, we will be selling shrubs and syrups that can be mixed with either soda or alcohol.”

After ten years of working in the hospitality industry, Gnanaratna decided to ditch what many would consider a key ingredient in his work: alcohol. The inspiration for this project came about after meeting his now-partner, feminist writer (and non-drinker) Audra Williams.

“When Haritha told me he was a bartender, I warned him that I literally have a tattoo of a temperance activist” said Williams. “But then on our first date he made me a gorgeous drink of smoked black tea with celery cordial, cardamom, lemon, and agave. I didn’t actually know a drink like that was possible.”

Since launching this fall, Temperance Cocktails has done signature events for the Centre for Social Innovation, the closing party for Workman Arts’ Rendezvous With Madness festival, and the Toronto Queer Film Fest. For each undertaking, we work with the client to develop a personalized menu that aligns with the event or the organization’s values.

While the creation of the recipes is Gnanaratna’s domain, Williams will often help out in the serving department.

“For me, the best part of all of these events is when someone comes up to the bar and hopefully asks us if we have any non-alcoholic choices,” she says. “I get to tell them that it’s all non-alcoholic, and hand them the menu. People are so delighted and appreciative, it’s a really special moment.”

Gnanaratna and Williams are available for print, podcast, and TV interviews and/or demonstrations.

For more information contact:

Haritha Gnanaratna
(647) 339-9355