Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Professional Bartender

The word 'professional' defined in many ways to mean much same thing, one that is skilful by virtue possessing special knowledge or person having impressive comperence in a particular skill

Many a young adult probably exited the theater after watching the movie “Cocktail” thinking that they too could become a killer bartender. Well, the movie’s star, megastar Tom Cruise can probably attest that being a real bartender is hard work. Successful bartenders know how to talk to bar patrons, pour drinks and work a crowd. It will take difficult, challenging work, but becoming a successful bartender is doable. Here is how:

• Learn how to juggle. You have to master the technique of flipping drinks and glasses in the air and not having them all crash down in one big, wet mess. Sure it is not necessarily mandatory but bartenders are famous for it. Denying the crowd their show might lose you some customers. At the same time, you will need to be able to keep track of all the people you’re serving. Whose tab hasn’t been paid yet, which drink did that person order, knowing when someone has had enough and needs to be cut off, etc. The most successful bartenders know how to juggle their drinks and the crowd.
• Learn the drink recipes. Of course, what kind of a bartender would you be if you did not know how to mix the drinks? Know the terminology, the measurements and all the tricks in the book. If you have to stop and ask each and every person “What’s that?” whenever they ask you for a drink, you are going to fail as a bartender. No one is going to go to the bar or club with the crappy service. Know what goes in a Long Island Iced Tea, Apple Martini, etc. Keep reaching over for the recipe book and no one is going to ask you to make them a drink.
• Know the ingredients better. Of course, if you know your ingredients as well, you can probably concoct your own signature drinks. You should know the old reliables like the back of your hand but what is more important is knowing what mixes work best. Great bartenders are master chemists who can take the most mundane drinks and turn them on their heads creating a new amazing cocktail.
• Be sociable. The bartender-patron relationship is a key facet of what makes a bartender so successful. Most of the time, people go to your bar because they are familiar with the joint and with the barkeep. They know and like you, they like your drinks and they like the fact that they can talk to you. No one is going to go to your bar if you keep turning them away or aren’t a good conversationalist. Drinks and flash are part of the package but what seals the deal is your charisma. A successful bartender is a chemist and a charmer.
• Practice. You cannot become a good bartender without honing your skills first. Practice your mixing, juggling, social skills, have it completely down before your first bartending assignment and even after that, keep on practicing. Successful bartenders do not sit on their hands. They get better.
Bartending is hard. There is no way around the fact that it will take hard work and perseverance. Give it some time. With a lot of practice and training and most importantly, experience, you too can become a successful bartender.
Bartending may look easy for some, but this is far from the truth. Bartending is a challenging job which requires skill, a sharp mind, and the right attitude. If you have plans to become a bartender, assess your skills to know whether you are fit for the job.
1. Observe bartenders. Pay attention to how expert bartenders do their business. This makes you learn the characteristics to acquire or develop to become a bartender yourself. Notice how the bartenders interact with their customers. Observe how the bartender takes the customers’ orders, mixes the drinks, serves the drinks, and do otherbartending jobs. Make notes and think about whether you can do the same or if you need improvement on certain aspects.
2. Try bartending and seek comments. Know whether you have what it takes to be a bartender by bartending yourself. Become a bartender and seek feedback from customers. Attend a training school for bartenders where your skills are put to the test. Go to a bar, talk to the bartender and see if you can take his place or work with him for assessment purposes.
3. Consider your knowledge and experiences. All skills are learned and acquired through experiences. Think about your past experiences in bars. Consider your knowledge about bars and bartending. If you have sufficient knowledge and experience and are willing to apply these in actual practice, then you can become a bartender.
4. Analyze your personality. Not everybody can become a bartender, because there are certain personality types that are not fit for bartending. The most important personalityrequirement to be a bartender is patience. Bartenders deal with drunken people who have little control over their emotions, thus a lot of patience is necessary. Being pleasant yet authoritative establishes good relationships with clients. Good people skills are arequirement as a bartender; if you don’t have these, develop them or forget about bartending.
5. Evaluate your mental skills. Bartending isn’t just about being nice to customers; it needs good mental abilities as well. Bartending requires a good memory to accommodate several orders at once and know the procedures for mixing drinks. Remembering who your customers are and what they like to order creates a favorable impression and increases the number of your customers.
6. Determine your average working speed. Busy hours mean you have to work fast and do several things at once. Assess your speed and capacity to multi-task in order to know how you will fare as a bartender. You can time yourself while doing bartending activities such as mixing drinks, cleaning the table, or arranging glasses. Seek to improve your speed as time goes by.
7. Consider your abilities. Are you good in doing bartending tricks such as juggling bottles or pouring liquor from a high distance? These abilities require good hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity. Consider your regular abilities such as your ability to clean glass or wash the dishes effectively as well.
Becoming a bartender requires you to have the skills that bartending needs. If you have the skills already, don’t be contented and improve yourself. If not, don’t be disappointed because the skills can be learned and developed. Remember: if you have the passion to become a bartender, you can be a bartender, as long as you don’t give up.

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