Alfred Siu was just visiting Toronto when he realized there was an opportunity for a new cocktail bar in the city. “In the drinking culture sense, Toronto is a very uptight city,” says Siu, who is originally from Vancouver. “A lot of bars were just too serious. And we wanted to be laid back. There should be nothing pretentious about a cocktail.”
After quitting his Vancouver gig and heading to The Six, it took almost three years for Siu to find the right spot. In the interim, he worked at El Rey and a couple of other drinking dens, gaining inspiration for what would become Project Gigglewater.
Siu knew he wanted a neighbourhood, industry spot like Civil Liberties, one of his favourite cocktail bars in the city. He admits that not having backers meant constraints on the budget — but what Siu has achieved is an intimate space beloved by cocktail lovers.
Alfred Siu, owner of Project Gigglewater
“We’re casual: We just do simple, good cocktails. We don’t make anything super instagrammable and the lights are usually dim at Gigglewater, so you can’t really take a photo,” laughs Siu. The drink menu is a little shorter right now (thank COVID) — but what you’re guaranteed is a collection of innovative cocktails with some very interesting infusions...
“Asparagus and sea asparagus are nothing alike. Sea asparagus actually tastes like the sea — it’s briny, it’s got a little bit of bitterness,” says Siu of the vodka-based Sea Asparagus is My Safe Word. Of course, amusing names are in Project Gigglewater’s DNA.
“In prohibition, there were many slang words like booze, hooch — giggle water was the cutest and best sounding name of all.”