Bartending Class – Week 1, Day 2

Today’s class was taught by Mark, a self-described sarcastic and mild mannered former bartender with 25 years experience and a strong love for teaching. It started with going through our workbook and the review questions for the sections we had covered during our first session. After a quick review we moved on quickly and opened up with a “bar drill”, quickly creating several drinks that were taught yesterday; everyone was eager to get behind the bar to practice their skills. We were split up again with four behind the bar and four at the counter as customers. Drinks were shouted out, liquor (dyed water) was poured and things were really moving. We alternated with being in front or behind the bar as we practiced new drinks and our pouring technique.
We also focused on quality wine service, margaritas and tips for determining ingredients in a drink based on its name or key ingredients. For example, all cream drinks get Kahlua, all Russian drinks have vodka, any drink with south in its name gets Southern Comfort. The rules of it all are starting to fall into place.
Ever present in the back of my mind throughout the day and now is the comparison of making drinks and working in a kitchen producing food. We learned clever bartending tricks about how to utilize multiple ingredients at one time to make several drinks, how to mix drinks in a particular order based on their ingredients so as not to have to wash out our shaker as many times and how to properly garnish drinks based on clearly defined rules. Our goal was to increase speed and accuracy while minimizing waste all the while being consistent with our products. Time is money in the business and greater output yields more money in your pocket as well as the bars.
I have also observed that idealized bar without surly demanding customers and real money on the line is a great place to hone one’s skills much like the sterile kitchen of a culinary school.  Add in a few drunks, cash, credit cards and the checking of ids and this becomes a whole other ball game. The customer always makes a difference.
Getting comfortable behind a bar is like a kitchen. You learn your surroundings, where everything is kept and over time learn how to be more efficient. This class is way more fun than I was expecting and is really opening my eyes into the subtleties of the business, product, operations and great customer service. I bought the kit they sell, much against my desires knowing that they mark up its contents considerably so I can practice and improve my skills at home with pourers, shakers, mixing spoon and strainer.  Why didn’t I sign up for this course before?

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1 Comment

  1. Interesting blog! I found you through the foodieblogroll and it sure likes bartending class is a lot of fun. I’d love to read more on what happens next and how you’re getting along.Ive always wanted to enroll in a class like that. I also would love to guide our readers to your site if you won’t mind. Just add this foodista widget to this post and it’s all set to go, Thanks!

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