To be a great bartender, you may think that you need to memorize hundreds of cocktail recipes. However, the truth is that you really need to only know the ones that your customers usually drink.
Here are 5 cocktail recipes to master so that you’ll be able to satisfy even the most sophisticated bar patron.
1. Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned has a lot of variations on the recipe. However, it is overall known as a simple but classic drink that every good bartender should know how to make well.
Here is the recipe to follow:
1⁄2 tsp Sugar
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 tsp Water
2 oz Bourbon
Large Ice Cubes
Add the water, sugar, and bitters to the glass and stir until the sugar becomes dissolved. Then add large ice cubes and the bourbon and stir gently to allow the flavors to combine.
Garnish with an orange peel and serve in an old fashioned glass.
2. Moscow Mule
The Moscow Mule is a popular drink because it goes down easy and it’s served in a distinctive copper mug. Although, it was invented in 1941, it has become popular again these days because people love ginger beer and it is readily available thanks to the popularity of craft beer.
Here is the recipe to follow:
2 Shots Vodka
1⁄2 oz Lime Juice
1⁄2 cup Ginger Beer
Garnish with a lime wedge. Serve in a copper mug.
The Margarita is the perfect summertime cocktail and one of the world’s most popular cocktails. Whether served frozen or on the rocks, the recipe for making a margarita is the same, except for the fact that you need to blend the margarita mix with crushed iced for a frozen margarita.
Here is the recipe to follow:
1 oz Cointreau or Triple Sec
2 oz Blanco Tequila
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Garnish with a lime wheel and serve in a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with salt.
4. Long Island Iced Tea
The Long Island Iced Tea is a staple of college bars and nightclubs. It’s essentially a blend of many different spirits, but the key is mixing the ingredients in the right proportions so that it actually tastes good.
Here is the recipe to follow:
Vodka (1⁄2 shot)
White Rum (1⁄2 shot)
Blanco Tequila (1⁄2 shot)
Gin (1⁄2 shot)
Triple Sec (1⁄2 shot)
Fresh Lemon Juice (1⁄2 shot)
Simple Syrup (1⁄2 shot)
Finish with a spritz of cola and garnish with a lemon wedge. Serve in a hurricane glass filled with ice.
5. Bloody Mary
The Bloody Mary is considered to be the perfect cure for a hangover. It’s a favorite that people enjoy whether it’s brunch or lunch. While some people hate it, others absolutely love it many due to the unique ingredients of tomato juice and hot sauce.
Here is the recipe to follow:
2 Shots Vodka
4 Shots Tomato Juice
¾ Shot Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Dashes of Tabasco
3 Dashes of Worcester Sauce
¼ of a Teaspoon of Horseradish (optional)
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Garnish with a rib of celery and serve in a hurricane glass.
You rely on your physical health to complete your job and most restaurants don’t offer health insurance, putting us bar staff at higher risk than most when it comes to injuries. But don’t lose hope. There are still options available to keep you afloat until you can safely return to work. Read on for some tips for navigating workers’ comp insurance as well as some info on disability benefits and disability insurance.
Workers’ Comp Basics
While the laws vary state to state, most require employers with 1-5 employees to have workers’ compensation insurance. This means that if you get hurt on the job you can file a claim to receive lost wages while you’re out of work. The first thing to do when you become injured or ill on the job (after seeking medical attention of course) is to find out if your establishment does indeed have workers’ compensation insurance. Most likely they do. The second thing to double check is that you are classified as an official employee of the bar. Some employers try to be shady and cut costs by hiring staff as ‘independent contractors’. But, you probably are already aware if you’ve been hired under this category.
Filing Workers’ Comp
If you are hurt at work while performing a work-related task, you must immediately report it to your employer IN WRITING. In New York, you must provide this notice within 30 days of injury. However, we strongly recommend doing it as soon as possible. Your employer should then provide you with the necessary forms to fill out. These may include some for your employer’s insurance carrier, one for the state, and all the relevant info about your rights in the situation and returning to work. Your employer will also need the full medical reports from any treatment you receive related to the injury or illness.
In most situations your boss should file the claim for you. However, it’s best to stay updated and informed throughout the process. If your claim is approved, you may receive a percentage of your lost wages and assistance with medical bills. If you are denied, you have the right to appeal.
If you become ill or are injured in a NON work related incident, you may qualify for assistance from the state through social security. Again, you will need all of your medical records to receive benefits. When filing for disability through the social security office, you are making the claim that you are physically or mentally unable to work. HERE is some relevant info.
Before an injury occurs, it may be wise to look into disability insurance, especially if you don’t have health insurance. Many financial institutions provide this type of coverage. Basically, you’ll receive a medical exam and be quoted a tier of monthly prices depending on how much you want to receive in the case of injury or illness. The younger and healthier you are, the more affordable this is so it’s best to do it as soon as possible.
Have experience with any of the above? Let us know in the comments and get well soon!
A badass bartender has to have many qualities. They save people after having a horrible day of work with their favorite cocktail and some light banter. At the same time, they have to keep their eyes on the person in the corner who has had a bit too much to drink.
So how do you become a badass bartender? Just turn yourself into Superman (or Wonder Woman).
Yeah, right! Well, since that’s not going to happen, here are some real tips to help you improve your bartending skills.
One of the most important things you can do as a badass bartender, is make drinks quickly and accurately. If you stay on top of your drink orders, it keeps the manager off your back and your customers happy.
Badass bartenders are everything pickup artists wish they could be. They’re charming and know exactly what to say (without being jerks). The have good manners and being this way will earn you a great deal of respect (and… some big tips).
Becoming a badass bartender means that you know how to talk to people. You’ll also need to learn how to deal with many different personalities since you’ll meet all types of customers.
Pro tip: Treat every customer like an old friend even if you’ve never met them before.
Make sure that you introduce yourself to new customers and ask their names. Remember them so that you can start to call them by name every time they come in.
Keep It Positive
Become the person that motivates the team. No one wants to work with someone who’s always in a bad mood. Being positive will also make your customers feel better and keep coming back.
Look the Part
Dress in a way that suits your bar where it’s casual rocker gear or Brooklyn dapper style. Make sure that no matter what you’re wearing, your clothes are always clean. No one likes having drinks poured by a sweaty, stinky mess.
Come Up With a Gimmick
Flair bartending doesn’t have to involve juggling bottles of alcohol. In fact, it’s much easier and at lot safer for your customers to keep things low-key.
However, if you want to become the celebrity bartender at your bar, come up with a joke that you always tell or a trick. Some popular tricks that you can practice include: The Tin Roll or The Hinge Cut. Do them every now and then to wow your customers.
That’s all there really is to it. As you work to improve your craft and stay focused on providing excellent service, you’ll earn your rep as a badass bartender.
Ok everyone, let’s talk about long shifts. Doubles, 20-hour marathon sessions during ‘music weeks’, and the dreaded “clopen”. Why do we do this to ourselves? And why do bars and restaurants encourage it?
A Culture of Work
It can’t be denied, the hospitality industry is a work-to-the-bone, never say no, go ‘til you drop world. We pride ourselves on being able to make it through incredibly long shifts because the payoff is cash. In the bar environment, we’re often encouraged to work ourselves to the point of exhaustion. This mentality is simply accepted as ‘the way it is’ and rarely questioned. However, there’s often no place for us to turn when we get sick, injured, or forced to work shifts that border on inhumane. It’s important to ask the question, “Are we truly signing up for this willingly or are we being forced by a philosophy that mainly benefits our bosses?”
Why Is It Like This?
Bartending is becoming more and more respected. As time goes on, it has earned appreciation for the art that it is. However, we are still shackled by a history of mistreatment. In many states, tipped employees are exempt from minimum wage. This means that employers can get away with paying us a fraction of what others receive. A lot of times this is fine because we make bank in tips. However, it subtly classifies us as less-than and makes us a largely disposable workforce. Restaurant employees almost never have health insurance or an HR department to turn to when we need help. There’s no 401K savings plan to help us prepare for the future and any overtime pay is negligible. Because of all this, the opportunity to put a grand in the bank after one shift is too tempting to pass up, regardless of the consequences.
Don’t get me wrong, hospitality employees can make great money. But we’re missing the support that the majority of the modern workforce receives. All of these reasons combine to create a culture that encourages and rewards behavior that is sometimes dangerous.
While you may be totally willing and able to work for 20 hours straight, that doesn’t make it good for you. Many bartenders experience joint problems from standing and shaking cocktails, exhaustion from lack of sleep, and long term issues that we rarely address because we don’t have insurance. Not to mention, it’s hard to plan your life when you may not know when and for how long you’ll be working.
How to Mitigate the Consequences
Since we all know you’re going to work that crazy shift anyways, here are some tips for staying happy and healthy.
If you really can’t take a break, make sure you stay hydrated and eat. Bring snacks from home or scarf something down in the kitchen but don’t go without food.
Sleep as Much as You Can
Try to get us much sleep as possible the night before and go right home after your shift. We know it’s tempting to hit the bars but the more rest you get, the less likely you are to burn out and literally collapse from exhaustion.
Ask for What You Need
Don’t be afraid to ask for the support you need. If you need to use the restroom, don’t hold it and risk a bladder infection. If you’re hungry, ask the manager to get you some food. Again, if you’re being mistreated, REPORT IT.
We want to hear about your experience with long shifts. Why do you do them and what tips do you have to make them bearable?
You love being a bartender. But people keep telling you to quit and “get a real job.” Whatever that means!
That doesn’t sound like it’s going to work for you and you can’t figure out why. Here are 5 reasons why it’s hard to work a traditional job after bartending.
You’re Used to Being Up Late at Night
Let’s face it, being a bartender makes you feel like Batman leaving to fight crime for another night. After skillfully serving drinks into the wee hours of the morning, somehow waking up at 6 a.m. to sit at a desk for 8 hours just doesn’t sound like a good deal.
When you bartend, the social interactions with your coworkers and the bar patrons make your shift just fly by. So it doesn’t feel like hard work, although it can be at times. You also get the luxury of going home to crash after having made your money while everyone else was sleeping. How great is that?
You Love Meeting Interesting People
How many jobs really let you meet all kinds of interesting people day after day? And if they tip well, they’re pretty hard to come by. If the reason why you bartend is because you love meeting new people, you’ll find it really hard to return to a traditional job where the only social interaction you’ll get is gossiping around the watercooler about who’s going to get fired next.
Tips, Tips, Tips
Tips aren’t only for strippers! Bartenders can make a whole lot of cash in a night too. Isn’t it great to get a cash windfall in tips after a busy night at the bar? Unfortunately, that 5% raise that traditional jobs pay after a year on the job simply doesn’t give you the euphoria you’re looking for.
Social Media Helps You Do Your Job Better
As a bartender, you use social media and other technologies to help you stay connected to what is going on in your local drinking scene and attract more patrons to your bar. At a traditional job, you’d probably literally feel like your arm is being ripped off as your boss confiscates your phone from too much Facebook surfing. Worse, you’d probably get fired for posting anything on your social media profiles that shows that you actually like to have fun at work. Oh gosh, the horror of it all!
You Don’t Have a STEM Degree
Rumor has it that if you don’t have a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, you’ll be banished to minimum wage hell for the rest of your life. In fact, some people who do have these degrees don’t even have a job! If bartending is already helping you to live without a traditional job, why not stick with it? After all, this isn’t your parent’s economy!
We’ve all seen customers who take things too far while trying to “flirt” with the bartender or are pestering other bar patrons. While it might not be enough of a nuisance yet to get the customer thrown out or banned, there are some ways to diffuse the situation before it escalates.
Here are some strategies on how to deal with over-friendly customers without risking your reputation as a bartender.
Distract the Customer
If you see a customer that is being irritated or pestered by another customer (let’s call him the problem customer), step in. You can divert the problem customer’s attention by starting a conversation with them. Distracting them by offering them a drink (if they haven’t already consumed too much) or performing a bartending trick will also work. This will give your customer the opportunity to walk away from the problem customer, thus immediately diffusing the situation.
Make sure to be low-key in your approach so that the problem customer doesn’t catch on to what you are trying to do.
Intervene With Drunk Customers
Sometimes drunk patrons turn into problem customers especially when they are alone. Since they don’t have other people with them to diffuse their “creepiness level,” they can come off as too aggressive to others. As a bartender, you need to keep your eye on these customers and be aware of when it’s time for someone to step in.
You can try offering the drunken stranger a soft drink or water to encourage them to sit at the bar instead of wandering around. However, if you think things might get out of hand, call the manager or bouncer over for help.
Accept the Weird Regulars
Some customers are just weird or ‘different’ if you want to be politically correct. They ask you questions like “Are you happy with your life?” or want a full-out tutorial on how to make drinks while you’re working. Yes…awkward! While you probably wouldn’t date them or be their best friend, you also know that they’re harmless and really just want to seem outgoing.
To deal with this, you need to be really good at banter. Laugh at your customers’ jokes and ask them questions from time to time. Understand that every customer isn’t going to be your favorite but they are still paying for your service and are happy to give you good tips.
Act Professionally at All Times
You can avoid attracting the attention of an over-friendly bar patron in the first place by knowing your place. Don’t offer advice and don’t dominate conversations that your bar patrons are having amongst each other.
Always maintain proper behavior so that your patrons don’t get the idea that they can run the bar. Once you show customers that you’re not in control, you’ll never get it back.
Be mindful that these tips only apply to the customers that you think you can handle. If the customer is crossing the line to the point where the situation seems dangerous for you or other customers, get the manager or security involved.
Here are 5 things bartenders can do to attract more regulars to make the bar experience better for all involved.
1. An Awesome Happy Hour
When it comes to winning over new customers so that they come back to your bar over and over, a ‘killer’ happy hour is key. If your bar offers awesome deals on drinks and food, you can convince customers to stop by during those times. Once they stop by, it becomes a part of their regular routine. And you’ll have regulars that you can count on for consistent tips.
2. Create Photo-Friendly Opportunities
Be sure to create photo-friendly opportunities at your bar. This helps customers to remember that they had a great time while they were there. You can do this by hosting silly events to giving out free prizes. When customers come to your bar not knowing what exactly to expect, they’ll be more likely to come back for more if they had a good time.
3. Make Sure There Are Plenty of Singles
Why would customers come to your bar versus all the other options? The answer is simple: the people. That is one thing that they won’t be able to get anywhere else. Trivia games, speed dating, and other events that are likely to attract the single crowd.
If your bar is known as a place where singles are ready to mingle, guys and gals will hang out often. People will have more fun and will think of your bar as a great place to make new friends.
4. Reach Out to Your Neighbors
If you haven’t had a chance to check out other restaurants, bars, and businesses in your neighborhood, now is the time to start. All you have to do is introduce yourself and offer the them discounts, free drinks or invitations to a special event at your bar. Or just tell them about the happy hour specials.
In no time, they’ll start to feel like your old friends. Then on the days when your bar is slow, these are the people who will become the regulars that stop in for a few drinks just to support.
5. Learn Your Customers’ Preferences
One way to turn customers into regulars is by getting to know them better. Find out their names and their favorite drink orders. If Julia always orders a dirty martini, be ready to pour that drink as soon as you see her walk into the bar.
When bartenders think about how to increase their tips, not much thought typically goes into whether or not their gender helps. So do women or men make more in tips due to their sex?
There is a stigma among men that beautiful ladies make more money than men. And many female bartenders believe they are underpaid compared to their male counterparts. So what is really the truth behind this matter?
The Battle Of The Sexes
In Render Food Magazine, they stated, in their article about servers, “The idea that women make more in tips due to sex appeal is an enduring cultural myth.”
Rain Dove Blog did a study one night as the ‘Battle of The Sexes’ at a local bar in Brooklyn and at the end of the night, the male had around $100 more in tips than the female.
In this article on waitbutwhy.com it stated one of the six proven ways to get better tips was, “ideally, be a slender, attractive, big-breasted blond in your 30s.” They based this off a scientific study down by Michael Lynn Ph.D. To view the study go here.
We did some research and the jury is still out on whether or not gender really will increase your tips. Many articles show that men make higher tips while other articles say women make more.
The Real Truth About Gender And Tips
After our thorough investigation, we believe that gender is not the issue when it comes to tipping. There are several factors that will determine how many you make in tips whether you are female or male.
The economic status of the person you are serving. It matters how many the customer makes and if they are in much debt. This has nothing to do with gender or how you are performing as a bartender. On average, the higher their social status, they more likely they will tip you well.
How great you are as a bartender will affect your tips. If you pay attention to your customers and make very little mistakes, you can end up with better tips. And if you don’t have great people skills, your tips will reflect that.
Lastly, when it comes to tips it also depends on your establishment. More prominent locations will have higher tipping customers. Of course you may find those stingy ones too, but location does matters.
This gender debate will go on for years and years. However, the bottom line is if you do your job well, take care of your customers and interact with them you will see that you are making great tips whether you are a male or female. If gender does play a role, which we don’t believe it does, it’s only a small role. So be yourself, work hard and forget all those gender tipping stigmas.
Drinking holidays are the days that your bar or tavern mostly likely will have a heavy flow of people coming into drink and have fun. These days can actually take a toll on the bartenders and servers. Yet they are also great days to make more money.
Survival Tip 1: Get Some Rest
Don’t go into your shift unrested. Some bartenders have tried to work on a holiday on only a couple hours of sleep and can tell you it is unpleasant. Make sure the night before a big drinking holiday that you get a full 8 hours of sleep. You are going to need it!
Survival Tip 2: Wear Comfortable Shoes
Any bartender or server will tell you, it’s a bad idea to wear dress shoes or heels on a day that you know you will be busy at work. Unless you are fine with pancake-size blisters and sore feet, wear a pair of comfy gym shoes instead. Your feet will thank you.
Survival Tip 3: Drink Plenty of Water
This is especially true if you are working on a really hot day. The last thing anyone needs is a dehydrate bartender passing out behind the bar. Also, when a customer offers you a shot, drink a shot of water or juice instead. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Survival Tip 4: Pace Yourself
It’s important to serve as many people as possible in a timely manner, but don’t allow customers to rush or take advantage of you. Pace yourself in order to make fewer mistakes and to keep your energy flowing throughout your shift. This will also help your tips to come in pretty steady.
Survival Tip 5: Don’t Be Afraid To Cut It
People tend to let their guard down on holidays and you may see many of them get too drunk. Always be the smart bartender. If someone looks like they have had enough, cut them off and offer them a cab ride home.
Survival Tip 6: Be Aware of Longer Hours
On drinking holidays a lot of crazy things happen. Bartenders call in sick, go on vacation, or some simply just don’t show up. Plus, it is busy and there may be more people than the bar may be able to handle. If you know in advance that you could possibly work longer than planned, it won’t be so much of a problem.
If you want the night to run smoothly, you and your co workers have to work as a team. If one of you is swamped, another should help out. If one of your co workers needs a breather, let them take a quick break and cover them. Working at a bar is hard work, it’s even harder when it’s busy and everyone is being selfish. Be a good team player and take care of your teammates.
Survival Tip 9: Stay Cool
Working the holidays can be very stressful. You are working and not enjoying time with your family. Sometimes your customers can be rude, obnoxious and unforgiving. No matter what the situation is you have to have patience and be understanding. Don’t let anything get to you, it’s just a job and you are there to work. If you remain calm regardless of what is going on around you, the night will go more smoothly and your tips will show it.
Survival Tip 10: Bring Protein Snacks
When you’re busy, it is almost impossible to get a break. If it’s allowed, bring peanuts, trail mix, an energy bar, raisins or a granola bar for a quick snack when you just can’t get a way. It’s important to have something that will help boost your energy and protein levels to help you make it through your shift. Of course if you get an official break, it’s important to pack a lunch. Unfortunately bartenders may not get breaks during these busy shifts so don’t forget to bring a snack.
It’s always fun to have a night out at your favorite bar, right? Laughing at jokes and gulping down delicious cocktails with your friends is a guaranteed way to have a great time.
Have you ever wondered about the person serving you? While you’re having lots of fun, the bartender works hard to make everything perfect. We found 10 amazing things bartenders never tell you!
Topped Off Might Mean Less Alcohol
There is a simple trick that bartenders do when a customer constantly wants a stronger drink. They simply fill a straw with pure spirits, so when you drink your cocktail, you will immediately believe there’s a lot of alcohol in your drink (even if there is not).
A Trick with Red Bull Vodka
It’s a common trick as well – when a customer orders a mixed drink made with Red Bull, the bartender uses only half of a can. That is so they can use the same can for two different customers. You will be charged for a full can but will be getting only half of it.
For this reason, many bars have a button for Red Bull drinks (they don’t include the price of a whole can), but there are bartenders who will give you Red Bull vodka instead of a can of Red Bull and a shot of vodka. Be aware.
Drunk = Less Alcohol
Bartenders always see when you’re way over your limit but they may not cut you off. However, when you order a mixed drink, they pour the cocktail mixers properly and when it comes to alcohol, they just float a bit of alcohol on the top of the cocktail. It makes it smell like booze, which is probably the best way to make someone who consumed too much alcohol think they’re drinking lots of it. But the alcohol content is minimal.
Be Nice = Free Drink
Of course, bartenders always try to mix the right amount of alcohol for cocktails, but they are people and can make mistakes. If you’re paying attention and being nice to a bartender, you can simply ask what’s going to happen with the drink that was mixed mistakenly and perhaps you can get a free drink.
House Liquor Gets You More
When bartenders use top shelf liquors, they try to mask their taste with creams, juice, and sodas. As a result, you pay for the liquor you’re not going to enjoy or taste. What you can do is order the house liquor when ordering a mixed cocktail; you will not even be able to tell the difference.
The Sober Bartender
If you regularly go to bars, you’ve probably seen that bartenders make mistakes and take sips of cocktails to check their taste. And yet, they are sober. Bartenders know they can’t work while drinking and have plenty of techniques to stay sober all night long.
A Good Bartender Is Like A Good Hairdresser
There are many bartenders, but the good ones are rare. If you know the one that makes your favorite cocktail straight up with a perfect twist, become a regular.
Bartenders Can Have A Signature Beverage
Even beginners can have signature drinks, so always ask. If you want to make your own cocktails, bartenders advise that you start with a base spirit, citrus, a liqueur, and a sweetener. The most important rule is to always taste as you go.