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Gay Living TORONTO

Josh Hutcherson is

Straight But Not Narrow Lesson in Love:

Getting Catfished Man Crush

Pierson Hayes

AUG/SEP 2016 | 1

GayTORONTO Living ISSUE #2 August / September 2016 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Matkai Burmaster



PHOTOGRAPHERS Adam Hart Adam Zivo Alex Roberts Brian Lawrence Greg Rola


DESIGNERS Alex Roberts Matkai Burmaster Revel Papernick WRITER Camil Rochon

ON THE COVER Pierson Hayes by Adam Zivo

Gay Living Magazine Toronto is published 6 times per year by Plexik Creative inc. DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING Alex Roberts CREATIVE DIRECTOR Matkai Burmaster PUBLISHER Plexik Creative Inc. 1-888-979-4525 TO ADVERTISE IN GAY LIVING MAGAZINE Alex Roberts 1-888-979-4525 ext. 4505 @GayLivingMedia 2 | Gay Living Magazine

SPECIAL THANKS Chris Veight Unsplash

@plexikcreative | 3

Cover Story

Josh Hutcherson is

Straight But Not Narrow spect and dignity they deserve. In fact, Hutcherson feels so strongly about the cause that he started up his own charity called Straight But Not Narrow which helps to unite allies of the LGBTQ community together to drive change.

Matkai Burmaster

Professional Actor • Editor-In-Chief @ThatGuyMatkai Hollywood has long been plagued with a “don’t ask, don’t tell” mantra for movie stars when it comes to their sexuality. There are countless stories of major movie stars hiding the fact that they are gay for years in order to maintain their mainstream acting careers and their “lady killer” status – in fact, there are a handful of terrible gay movies on Netflix and beyond that are about this exact situation. Well, that will change fast if Josh Hutcherson, star of The Hunger Games trilogy, has anything to say about it. Hutcherson is a huge supporter of gay rights and self-identifies as “mostly straight” – a statement Alfred Kinsey would probably be proud of. He works tirelessly to help gay people maintain the re-

“It’s all about empathy and understanding because there is no science anywhere that shows that being gay is a choice. Nothing.” shares Hutcherson. “And so it doesn’t make sense logically to hate somebody for who they were born as.” Wise words from the 23-year old Hollywood heartthrob who performs almost exclusively in heterosexual roles – something the film industry makes its billions on. Having said this, it isn’t surprising that Hutcherson supports gay rights in this way as it is typical of his generation. As time progresses, younger generations are becoming increasingly comfortable and welcoming to the spectrum of the LGBTQ+ accronym. His support for our community is on par with his easy-going personality, but also a testament to the effect that time and perserverance can have on changing the minds of a society. Hutcherson also weighed in on the Orlando tragedy that left a half-hundred dead and more injured. Josh feels that “especially now in the aftermath of something like Orlando, reaching out to the straight community and trying to get their support ... is massively important to show the LGBTQ community that we’re not all like that.” Josh has a point despite his incredibly diplomatic response; people often only realize that there are issues when tragedy strikes, and while it’s great to have support in times of crisis, it’s also important to have support on an ongoing basis. But do we nurture that ongoing support in the gay community? Even within the gay community, there is often a lack of respect and credit for the straight allies that help us make progress every day

4 | Gay Living Magazine

Photography coutesy of and Straight But Not Narrow

as gay men. These people are friends, family members, and coworkers that stand up for us and help the world see us for who we truly are every day, yet we often forget to thank them and make derogatory jokes calling our straight brothers terms like “breeders” - a term that, to me, is the equivalent of a straight person calling a gay guy a faggot. While it can be a way to blow off steam and have fun with straight friends, it can also be a form of reverse-discrimination and can turn straight people off from supporting LGBTQ+ identified individuals in truly powerful ongoing ways. We have seen that change can come when you spread kindness and warmth among friends and foe. Let’s continue to build our community and thank our straight allies for joining us in our journey and speaking up about gay rights. Their support is powerful to our growth and development.

@GayLivingMedia | 5


Blind Date with

A Gay Clown

Camil Rochon

Theatre & Film Professional This Fall, Buddies in Bad Times is presenting Blind Date, an improvised show that brings an unwitting audience member into the spotlight to go on a date with a clown. The show was created by Rebecca Northan, a veteran improviser and clown, and has been performed across North America by Northan herself and a collection of other performers. What makes this performance so buzz-worthy then? This show traditionally features heterosexual relationships, however the Buddies version will feature lesbian clown Mimi and gay clown Mathieu who will pull same-sex partners from the audience for the adventure. The two are alternating nights throughout the run. Now, I’m not gonna lie; I’m a tad biased. I’ve seen the show recently and it’s phenomenal. I’m also a clown-in-training which attracts me to the show in a deeper way since I have such a big interest in the art form. I was fortunate enough to talk to creator Rebecca Northan about the show and gain some further insight into what it takes to create this type of show. CR: Why the clown character? Does a nose really make a difference? RN: Playing a romantic scenario with an audience member as a clown character does a few things; it keeps things light. The nose is a constant reminder that we are playing. The nose ends up giving both the performer and the audience member a form of “permission”. The thought of Blind Date ever happening without a clown nose just feels too raw, too real, too exposed. CR: So, bringing on an audience member to act in a full length play could potentially lead to some kind of disaster, no? I mean what if the person really doesn’t want to go, and if people are scared about going up on stage should they avoid this type of show?

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RN: First of all, we’re very careful and considerate during our preshow selection process. We mingle in the lobby before the show to get a sense of who is there that night, who might be a good ‘date’, and then we check in to see if they were to be chosen, would they be comfortable with that? It gives shy people a chance to say no. We would never choose someone who doesn’t want to come up on stage! We’ve always got a ‘maybe-list’ of five to six patrons on a given night. We give them the chance to ask questions and if they are at the theatre with a spouse or partner, we also check in with them to make sure they feel safe and taken care of. Out of the 500plus shows we’ve done, we’ve only ever had two men decide not to which case, we’ve let them go, with applause, and then invited another gentleman on stage to continue. CR: How did this queer version come about? RN: I always thought the BEST place to launch Queer Blind Date would be Buddies in Bad Times...when we were running Blind Date at the Tarragon last season, and the question came up again, I just finally tweeted to them “How about Queer Blind Date?!” and Evalyn Parry, the new Artistic Director, said yes. Now while the show is mostly known for Mimi, the main female character, it’s important to note that Mathieu is NOT the first male version of the character, but he is the first gay male character for this show. RN: The show is about love, and I want that to be shared with as many people as possible, in as many combinations. I suppose the last thing I’d want to add is that expanding into a Queer version seems right and timely. At its core, Blind Date is a very oddly packaged interview show that features a guest from the audience; we get to know them. When the show is at its best, you can feel the whole audience fall in love with a stranger over the course of 90 minutes. That’s an amazing thing to witness, to feel, to facilitate, and to participate in. “Love is love is love is love is love” is what Blind Date has always been about. I’m very humbled and grateful to Evalyn and Buddies for helping to open up and expand the Love.


Check out Blind Date, September 20 through October 9 at Buddies. @yyzbuddies Photography by Tanja-Tiziana

Gay Living


Awesome people + places. Winners decided by you.


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Gay Living Font: Nexa XBold | 7

Sex & Love

Lesson In Love:

Getting Catfished

Andre Goh

Diversity & Inclusion Professional I’ve been single for almost two years. Previously I was in a committed and monogamous relationship for almost 18 years. I thought that the relationship was going to be forever. Partly because we had become so comfortable with each other and that this was the man I had grown to love and see as my one and only. But I learned quickly that as the saying goes, ‘Nothing last forever’! The first year after our separation, I grieved hard. I was heart-broken, mopped around, ate badly and looked pretty awful. I also focused on work, re-building friendships and getting re-acquainted with my city. It was a slow process and eventually became a rewarding one. My healing process allowed me to cry for what was, to slowly forgive my ex, and to try and find goodness again. The second year, I was feeling more confident about myself, more optimistic about the future and was open to finding love. As a 53 year old gay man, I learned very quickly that the gay and male community is very rigid with clear rules around gay men who are older and single – I was invisible in most gay scenes. Unless of course, I was willing to pay for the company or the companionship of a younger man. I also found out that many men my age that were single, were a little like broken toys – some had not been in relationships ever, others had only been in short term relationships, and the rest were looking for quick reliefs. It saddens and disappointed me. As someone who values love and a romantic at heart, I was confused. I could not believe that there weren’t men like me out there, men who were looking for that old fashion kind of love where dating meant you talked about yourself, listened to the stories of the other, and learned about each other. I didn’t want to believe that today’s dating world was only filled with people interested in sex. That just could not be true. Friends and acquaintances suggested I consider online dating. Told me that it was the way to meet people, the best way of meeting the best people, and the most likely way I will meet a future husband. So I signed up with several dating sites. Seen as ‘fresh meat’, I got

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tons of hellos, wanna meet up, and you look great! But most were only interested in, ‘what do I like to do in bed’, or ‘how big are you’, or ‘what type of guys am I into’, or (my favourite), ‘are you a top or bottom’? So many questions and yet none were serious enough for me to consider them as part of the dating process. And it wasn’t love or a long term relationship that any of these men were looking for. Disillusioned, I began to delete my online dating profiles – they were emotionally draining and all for the wrong reasons. Then I got an honest and simple message from a man almost 15 years my junior. He was a good looking man, a decent looking man and someone who seems to be level headed. He talked about previously being in a long term relationship, being cheated on, and how much he wanted to settle down with the right guy. While he lived in another country (allegedly in Texas), our friendship was based on shared past experiences, supporting each other, and discussing future goals and dreams. Within weeks, we were on the phone almost daily. Each conversation built on the next. Soon we were discussing a possible future together. After two months of internet texts and phone conversations, we agreed that it was time to meet. He said that his occupation (antique dealer) was mobile and that he could relocate. He re-assured me that his heart was only for me, that he had never felt closer and more linked to someone else than with me. He threw out line after line that melted my heart, that soften my resolved, and gave me hope, again. He presented himself as someone genuine, someone serious and someone truly looking for love. And in all this time, he asked for nothing except my honesty, trust and eventually my love. What was most refreshing for me was that in all this time, we never once discussed bedroom desires, sexual positions or sexual needs. We never discussed physical types or preferences, nor did we ever look to each other for physical or sexual gratification. In so many ways, this courtship was traditional and romantic – just up my alley and just the kind of man I was looking for. Could this be it? Could I seriously be so lucky as to find a man who wanted the same things and wanted me all for himself? I was apprehensive, yet fully committed to this stranger who I had been sharing intimate details about love and life. I told myself that a hundred years ago, it was only through letter writing that people got to know each other. And so I looked at our growing online

relationship as something like that, old fashioned with the use of emails, texts and skype. Every time I thought of him, I smiled and my heart melted. Needless to say, I was baited, hooked and sunk for a possible bright future with someone new. Then two weeks later, he sent me his flight booking and confirmation details. As I was a little skeptical, I checked his booking confirmation on the airline website and found it confirmed and paid for. My heart jumped for joy and I could not believe my good fortune and good karma. It felt like the gods were being kind to me and returned my years of ‘being kind to strangers’ with this new happy beginning. I could no longer doubt his sincerity. After all, I was sure that it would be impossible to fake an airline ticket purchased that could be confirmed on the airline website. Then a day before his departure, I received an email from him saying that he was having some challenges with a business deal (of which he had been telling me about in our conversations). He said that he had maxed out his credit cards and asked if I would loan him some money. He said that he would pay me back as soon as the deal went through and that he desperately wanted to finish the deal before his flight the next day. He said that he would not be able to leave if he didn’t finish this deal. As I read and re-read the email, my heart began to slowly crumble. I saw that this courtship was part of an elaborate plan to scam money from me. I kept asking myself through tears of pain and sadness why would he do it, why did he drag this scam out for over two months just to ask for money, and why did he lie so much for just this? Its silly how naive I was and how I did not see the potential pitfalls of online scamming. My only consolation is that he did not have my address, my social media profiles and my money. It could have been worse, as everyone around me reminded me. But for me, it was worse. It hardened my heart. It made me cynical, less trusting and not at all interested in meeting people online. I’m still single, still looking for love and cynically optimistic. Right now, I’m trying to date someone. He’s sweet, he’s smart, he’s good looking, kind, gentle and sees the world with enthusiasm. However, he’s also in a relationship that he says is broken and that he wants to end. I wonder if I am opening myself up to being hurt yet again. While I continue to be hopeful, I am less confident that true love, the Princess Bride-kind, exists. I know that my story is not unique. I know that many single gay 542 Church St men my age (and younger) also experience similar pains and (416) 519-9302 loneliness. Our silent voices never get heard when love and tionships are discussed. We are the silent majority who are never celebrated, never the poster child, and never acknowledged as full participants of the LGBTQ communities.

@GayLivingMedia #Catfished | 9


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It’s a Jungle Out There

Otters & Twinks & Bears. Oh My! Joey Viola

Resident Community Columnist @joeypurple Growing up just outside of Toronto, I never made any contact with the vast LGBTQ community - the largest in Canada. Church Street was to Wonderland as I was to Alice; I had no idea where I was going and I voluntarily followed a gay bunny down the rabbit hole. Needless to say, I should’ve thought twice before eating that cookie labelled “Eat Me”. Having attended a Catholic school (about a half-hour north of the city), homosexuality was considered a “sin” in my community. Taboo, in all the ways. Times have changed since, but kickin’ it old skool in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, like so many decades before, being affiliated with “faggotry” would get you teased and/or ostracized, indefinitely. Despite being popular within my grade, I was subject to my [un] fair share of bullying. Mostly from the older, more testosterone-ridden boys. It even came to a point where it affected my studies and I was suspended for defending myself. But that’s a whole other story involving Tae Kwon Do and a pinch on my ass. In the first couple years of highschool, I killed all the femininity I had within me. To survive, of course. I remember recording “Will & Grace” and “Queer As Folk” on the family VCR for a glimpse of gay culture. It wasn’t until after I was suspended that I realized I was repressing myself. So at sixteen years old, jaded and in Grade 11, I came out of the closet. I was proud of who I was, regardless of all the mean-spirited older jerks. When people get in your way, walk around them and step in front. The entire LGBTQ community has stories similar to this - those moments when we realize we’re wearing a label we’re born with. It doesn’t wash away, you can’t “pray the gay away”, and you sure as hell can’t find anywhere to hide from it. The television shows I mentioned, the ones I secretly watched before my parents came home, those shows were my only true outlet into the world of rainbows I knew I belonged to. Every week, twice a week, between 3:30 and 5:30PM, Karen Walker and Brian Kinney were my drag mothers. They were the ones who helped me understand the highs and lows of being gay. It sounds frivolous and I probably could’ve had some better counsel than a drunk fruit fly and a snarky village hoe, but I like to attribute my passions to their 90’s flair.


When I first found out I was going to be a contributing writer with Gay Living, I was enthralled at the opportunity to be able to speak to my community. Our community. A community faced with a different standard of living. Many of us struggle to see our similarities. We must always stand together, in the soles of adversity, and in the name of the our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, Trans and Cis alike, that came before us. Today, while our peers Scruff and Grind, our connections live online. Messages and statuses and hook-up apps reign over face-toface dialogue. More than half of the time, we refer to ourselves with nicknames (the majority relishing in the nature of animals because in the end, we ain’t nothin’ but mammals). Twink, Pig, Otter, Wolf, Bear, Polar Bear, Panda Bear, Cub, Dog, Puppy, Panther, Fox/ Silver Fox, Fruit Fly, Fag Hag, Daddy, Fishy… (I’m sure I’m missing some). For someone who doesn’t know about the biological nicknames that have risen out of gay culture, you might be wondering where to buy some food to feed the animals at the petting zoo. What does this all mean? Hell, I’ve even seen Straight people play guessing games about this. Within our gay culture, we’ve managed to literally dissect our physical attributes into categories, and over the years, these categories have become lifestyles. Every Pride Week in Toronto, we see people selling stickers with labels - words like DYKE or BEAR or FAG - that are glamorized onto rainbow stickers that we willingly donate money to wear. Proudly. And why not? What I’ve learned is that while we as a community share similar trials of oppression, we are all different - in a similar way. These “labels” we wear have become a badge of self-expression. Today, these words are reclaimed and owned with pride and celebration. The alternative would be succumbing to bigotry, and that is by far a more iniquitous word to claim. Even if we’re lucky enough to find solace within who we are, gay or straight, we’re still vulnerable to experiencing a form of shame at one point or another. It happens sooner than later, and it goes for every human being. Coming into ourselves - whether that’s self-acceptance or a sense of belonging - we strive to feel even just a little bit of comfort within a society that generally deems us different. After all, everyone’s shirt has a label. It’s your decision to wear it across your chest or tucked behind your shirt collar.

“These are the days of our ‘Gay Living’ lives” Joey Viola | 11

Man Crush

Host, DJ, and Dancer

Pierson Hayes by Adam Zivo

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Man Crush

“ Today

is the tomorrow

we worried about

yesterday. ”

Pierson Hayes @piersonhayes


IF YOU WON THE LOTTERY Fun for everyone!

HOBBIES Walking adventures, finding amazing R&B music, and making people laugh.




FEELING SEXY IN Ripped skinnies with Timbalands and a skank tank YOUR HERO My parents DREAM VACATION Private villa in St. Lucia

@GayLivingMedia #ManCrush 14 | Gay Living Magazine

Photography by Adam Zivo

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Media Partners | 15

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Queen on Fire

Juice Boxx @juiceboxxqueen

Adam Zivo

Photography & Film Professional A storm of glitter and pink hits the stage. The club lights flash – a disorienting kaleidoscope of purple, orange, and hot white. Juice Boxx, one of Toronto’s newer drag queens, starts another night of hosting and performing. Juice is a dense ball of energy, loud and sassy, wearing cotton candy dreadlocks, over-saturated and hyper-bright – a bit too much to handle, even for a queen, and it works. Her stomps across the stage in mass heels printed with cartoon ponies. Before she was Juice Boxx, he was Joseph Primeau. One afternoon, he arrives to be shot for this magazine at my home studio. The concierge calls, his voice hesitant when asking whether Joseph can come up. Jo arrives in streetwear, but his face is fully Juice’s. His burly boyfriend, who he’s been dating for twelve years, accompanies him and they gush about their newly adopted puppy. The boyfriend drops off Juice’s outfits for the day. Sequins, sparkles, and heels have been crushed into a white laundry basket – it looks domestic. Stripped of the raunch and glam of the club, the outfits feel like they’re part of some childlike game of fairy-princess dress up, but then we unpack a hot pink machine-gun bra from the basket, among other things. Juice is loud where Joseph is quiet. Juice is vivacious, while Joseph

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is gentle and maybe even a little meek. How did one become the other? Joseph had gone to art school in Windsor and for his thesis had done a series of large-scale paintings of drag queens. He had also created a web series that included elements of drag, though these elements never fully coalesced into drag itself. He orbited drag culture, dipping into it ever so slightly, and was finally pulled into it entirely through what started as a joke. His friend group wanted to participate in Crew’s and Tango’s Drag Race. Joseph went through with it, though no one else did. Even with his history of flirting with drag, he was scared. He was a makeup artist who wanted to be a teacher. Drag was still very much outside his purview, and the judges were friends of his – friends who might find him ridiculous and laugh at his expense. He did well. He did more than well, actually. And it felt good to be up there, so he did it again and again, and Joseph became Juice. Who Juice was wasn’t entirely clear at first. Juice could be all sorts of things – what did she look like? Who was she? The first few months of being Juice involved asking those questions, and Juice tried being different things here and there. She eventually crystallized into candy, pop, and anime – kawaii without the creepy orientalism. Bars started to book her more, and she became a fixture in the scene. After the shoot ends, Juice becomes Joseph again and his boyfriend picks him up. They worry about their puppy’s anxiety problems, and plan a night in together. A few nights later at the club I talk with Juice between slices of pizza, and think of that laundry basket and how the dresses had to be folded to fit inside it, and even then they overflowed.

Photography by Adam Zivo


Fashion & Style

Black Sheep Hair:

The Salon You’ll Fall in Love With Matkai Burmaster

Professional Actor • Editor-In-Chief @ThatGuyMatkai There’s a new kid on the block and he’s pretty. I’m not talking about some cute guy - I’m talking about Black Sheep Hair - the new salon overlooking Church Street. From the moment you walk in, you are immediately engulfed in the stunning decor of the studio, which was designed by Toronto designer Maria Gisondi. It features a clean, modern look clad primarly in a black and white colour pallette with hints of wood, nature, and glass. The vibe is incredibly relaxing and warm. It’s a fabulous approach to a hair studio and a welcome breath of fresh air for our community.

But the beautiful style of this new gem is hardly the full picture. Black Sheep takes a hollistic approach to the way they run their business from their team leadership style to their non-descriminatory pricing policy. “We are a genderless salon. We believe that pricing should reflect the work, not the gender you identify as” says co-owner Ryan Oakley. “However you identify, you are part of our family.” The studio is run by a collaborative team of stylists including Oakley, Senior Stylist Kait Slattery and funky colour-enthusiast Samantha Reesor. Work by the Black Sheep team has been recognized in publications like Vulkan and Huf. Pop on by or book an appointment online to support this new staple in the Church-Wellesley Village. You’ll be glad you did.

Sponsored by Black Sheep Hair Photography by Kareen Mallon 473A Church Street | 17

Food & Drink

Your BBQ Needs Wine

Andrew McArthur

Somelier • Hospitality Professional Living in Ontario, the winters are long. One way to deal with it is to take our meals outside when we’re able. If you have a grill I’m sure you’ve already got a hilariously slogan’d apron, now you just need food for the grill and delicious wine. Food on a grill is a focal point around which suburban men will argue over charcoal brick formation and commuting time-savers, while in the Church and Wellesley village, burgers will be flipped while onlookers dispute the most recent elimination on Drag Race. Whether at a rooftop gathering with all your friends, or dinner for one, don’t spend an afternoon perfecting your marinade only to skimp on wine. Here are my top 6 BBQ wines for the summer. I love grilling fresh vegetables in the summertime. When I do, I reach for Jardin Inspector Péringuey Chenin Blanc 2014 (13.5% ABV approx: $15.95). Smells of apple, pear, mango with a creaminess. The wine is dry but with much tropical flavours including pineapple and mango. There is great acidity and the body is rich with a lingering sweet finish. The refreshing tropical quality to this Chenin Blanc matches well with the sweetness coaxed out of vegetables when grilling. From Terra Alta, Spain, Jaspi Blanc 2014 (13.5% ABV approx: $15.75) is a blend of white Grenache and Macabeo. Very fragrant with aromas of pear, white flowers, and lychee. The body is medium with great acidity and a long finish. Flavours of sweet stone-fruits, tart white cranberry, lavender, table grapes, and grapefruit pith bitterness. This wine I serve with herbaceous chicken or fish, basically anything you take off the grill and add a squeeze of lemon to From Niagara, Rosewood Estates Winery Süssreserve Riesling 2015 (10% ABV approx: $14.95) is your spicy sausage wine. Süssreserve is a cool technique wherein unfermented grape juice (in this case Riesling) is added back to the wine after fermentation.

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The result is the low alcohol content and a fresh sweetness that renders this wine off-dry. Pear, yellow apple, cantaloupe and Rieslings characteristic petrol aroma round out the nose. In your mouth it’s not cloyingly sweet, the Süssreserve adds a fresh quality with white cranberry, vanilla, lychee and spiciness that finishes long with peaches. Drink with anything spicy, or just to cool off. Onto the Reds, Olarra Laztana Reserva Rioja 2010 (14% ABV approx: $19.95) is a Tempranillo blend that smells of chocolate, blackberry, dark cherry, leather, wet soil, flower petals and cedar. An award winning wine, this Rioja is blackberry, red and dark cherries and vanilla on the palate with a long pleasant finish. Tangy acidity and fine tannins make this your go-to burger wine. Now for our heavy hitter, Alamos Selección Malbec 2013 (14% ABV approx: $16.95). Grown at high altitudes in Mendoza, this Argentinian Malbec is bell pepper, plum, blackberry, smoke, spice and dried earth on the nose. The flavours are of blackberry, dark cherry, vanilla and spice. The near-full body and small but persistent tannins make this wine a natural with your T-bone. This is your steak wine, but try it with lamb as well. Never show up to a party empty-handed. Malivoire Ladybug Rosé 2015 (12.5% ABV approx: $15.95) has always been one of my favourite Rosés. A nose of strawberry vanilla, pear, white cranberry and purple sand cherry leads to flavours of cherries, strawberries and vanilla. Good acidity makes it food friendly and in spite of the sweet and floral flavours, the wine is dry. This wine should be your host gift whenever you are invited to a BBQ. It’s capable of matching with almost any grilled fare but also makes a great aperitif. If unsure, just walk around with it in your glass, it’s that beautiful. This is after all, one of the few times of the year when your tan lines are real, so let’s all make the most of what’s left of summer and take our lives outdoors, especially meals. Matching great wine to your grilled foods does not have to be difficult, and the suggestions I’ve just given won’t disappoint. Light the grill, turn up the patio lanterns, and savour time we have left for outdoor dinning. Perfect your marinade ensure the steak is cooked thick, and don’t forget the wine. Cheers!


Food & Drink

Cocktails to Beat the Heat Andrew McArthur

Somelier • Hospitality Professional A finely crafted cocktail need not be prepared by a bartender with a curly moustache or a sleeve of tattoos. It’s passion and experience that make the drink and the bartenders at Boutique put the kind of care expertise into each drink that separates their cocktails from others. I know this because I’ve become somewhat of a regular at Boutique, ending my Tuesday nights with a gin martini served up with a twist. The bartenders move deftly behind the bar shaking, stirring, skewering, and straining myriad cocktails, all while I sip upon my classic martini. I realize there’s nothing stopping me from picking up the menu, or asking the bartender what some of these cocktails are, yet week after week, it’s gin, up, twist. I’m experimental with cocktails but at 1:00 am, I’m likely to stick with what I know; I needed a push. I was so glad when general manager Peter invited me for a tasting. Free drinks? Yes please! I love when classic drinks are reimagined, reinterpreted, perhaps improved. The first drink presented to me was the Raspberry Mojito. Not yet knowing the ingredients, I inquired with my first sip, Havana Club? Indeed the delicious 3 year Cuban rum is employed in the execution of this summer sipper that channels the resort experience. I’m not generally one for a sweeter cocktail, but there is nothing confected about the Raspberry Mojito. The purée is fresh and imparts a sweetness so natural and befitting. Close your eyes, plug your ears and you’d almost mistake the heat of the Toronto sun for the warmth of a Caribbean island while drinking this on Boutique’s patio. A fantastic adaptation of a classic that pays respect to the original.

tion. The gin haters out there will be surprised at how mellow this cocktail is and may reevaluate their stance on this spirit. Limoncello, a palate cleanser adds a freshness that makes this drink a great bridge between cocktails and wine, or cocktails and more cocktails. Strawberry syrup cuts what would otherwise be a tartness and the addition of Perrier sparkling water adds a textural component that lightens the drink. Tequila? I can promise no one will experience the gag-inducing reaction that our early (and perhaps recent) party days with tequila has left us with when drinking Cactus. You expect the smell and flavour of tequila but melon liqueur and aloe vera soften this into one of the most refreshing cocktails you’ll taste all summer. What you notice first is the alluring bright green colour. As you raise the glass, aromas of melon and aloe promise a sweet experience that is delivered on the palate with the surprise element of thick aloe vera juice. Think bubble tea but suspended in a larger mass throughout the drink. With alcohol the effect is incredible. The aromas, flavours and texture all challenge how you may feel about tequila cocktails. This is one of the best composed and most summer friendly drinks I’ve ever experienced and it pays respect to the capabilities of tequila beyond shots with lime and salt. Toronto has experienced record heat this summer and Raspberry Mojito, Perrier Limonata, and Cactus are three cocktails that will keep you cool and refreshed. Whether a first date, after work drinks, catching up with friends, or a night-cap to end your day, the bartenders at Boutique (506 Church Street) are shaking, stirring, and mixing the villages best cocktails everyday from 2:30pm - 2:00 am. Summer’s not over yet, and these cocktails will carry me right through into autumn. In the meantime, I’ll be making the most of the nice weather, sipping cocktails on Boutique’s patio. See you there.


Boutique’s Perrier Limonata is maybe the most sophisticated of the three drinks I tried. A combination of classic spirits crafted into a contemplative cocktail. There are so many flavours involved yet the bartender tames them into a drink of subtlety. Think of the gin as the element supporting the rest of the flavours, not the star attrac-

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by Greg Rola, Brian Lawrence & Adam Hart

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edition 26

5-11 oct. 2016

Main event 9 oct.

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Gay Living Magazine | Toronto | Aug/Sep 2016  
Gay Living Magazine | Toronto | Aug/Sep 2016