Before people even understood alcohol in its entirety, they have been bartending. The very act of sharing a drink with another person has always been a very personal experience. Each culture has its own social environment where they are able to share a drink with others, but the United States holds bartending as a profession that consists of so much more than pouring beer.The lengths at which Americans will go to to obtain alcohol and the social experiences the substance offers is no secret. Let us not delve into prohibition for the fear of sounding redundant, but let's instead discuss modern day bartending. YouTube videos, countless forums, and classes are offered that help someone master the art of bartending. The most important foundation necessary for mastering this art, however, is a solid knowledge of what made the practice what it is. Here is what you need to know to become a better bartender:
1. Know your Beers: One of the most popular and oldest beverages in the states is beer. There are thousands of types of beer, and having a solid knowledge of how they differ is essential. Is it light? What is the correct foam to beer ratio when pouring a draft? Is it domestic or imported? These questions are simple enough and will have people calling you the beer expert. Fool them with kindness!2. Common Drinks, Common Knowledge: If you know how to make a White Russian, Sex on the Beach, Fuzzy Navel, Mudslide, Tom Collins, perhaps a Seabreeze, and the most popular drink in the US -- a Margarita-- you should be set to get through your first few shifts. Bartending is an art that is learned in installments. In a few months, you will feel comfortable enough to start flipping bottles. Do not do that, though.
3. Smile: This is a profession that heavily relies on tips. The more drinks you make, the more your tip jar makes. Honestly, the human race is social and they desire a friendly atmosphere. If you have a bad day, leave it at the door. The bar is your stage and you are playing the happiest role until last call. Shake, smile, and pour!
4. Make Mistakes: The biggest trick to become a better bartender is truly faking it until you make it. All bartenders experience strains of healthy anxiety before every shift, regardless of how long they have been in the industry. New drinks are created each day and it is hard to keep up. Do not be afraid to ask questions in a friendly manner and if you ever need to check something, run in the back and check that handy little black book of recipes. We all know that it's there, after all. Breaking a glass or two is to be expected as well.
In conclusion, this is a field that is fast-paced, exciting, and worth every minute. It is a rewarding profession that requires skill that is learned along the way. Remember to fake it until you make it and you will be a better bartender in no time!