I hate the word…mixologist…with all of my heart. I want to throw in the bar towel and whither up and die every time somebody asks me if I am a mixologist. Besides presenting itself as incredibly audibly gay, it is a worthless self-appointed term containing absolutely zero credibility. I am a barnerd…passionate about introducing new flavor profiles and providing a liquid journey for my customers. I enjoy studying the colorful past of cocktail creations, various liquors, experimenting with signature recipes and techniques, and everything along those lines. I love to drink beer but I couldn’t tell you jack shit about it…I am embarrassingly lacking in my wine knowledge…I am definitely not a cork dork…however, I could give you an in-depth rundown on the history of the cocktail cherry…a twenty-minute spiel regarding the production Don Julio Tequila…or talk your ear off about absinthe. Since the general public has an insatiable thirst to call a bartender anything but a bartender…I am going to fill their glass with barnerdism…which sounds fucking awesome. So tonight…I committed a premeditated twist on the libation of choice for one of my guests. From the size and water quality of the ice cubes…to changing the ingredients ever so slightly…to smoking the glass with mesquite…to the garnish…I invested time and thought into liberating this libation from its standard method of preparation. The payoff came in the form of the smiles and approval from my customer. He claimed it was one of the best beverages he had ever had. I was genuinely happy to have succeeded on my mission to successfully implement a unique experience while simultaneously learning a few new tactics along the way…and the whipped cream on the chip shot…is that he graciously handed me a hundred-dollar gratuity. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to go the extra yard. Never underestimate the power of a cocktail.
Posted in Inspiration
Tagged absinthe, barnerdism, bartender, beer, beverage, chip shot, cocktail creations, cork dork, don julio tequila, extra yard, flavor profiles, history of the cocktail cherry, libation, mixologist, signature recipes, smoked glass, spirit specialist, the bar nerd, the power of a cocktail, true bar stories, van gogh, wine, wine knowledge
The bumper bartender race has come to a conclusion. I finished just behind the leading group of higher seniority bartenders ending up with a couple of day shifts and three nights. I am happy with the results. Although I will take a small cut in pay…I will now be able to enjoy a slightly less vampiric lifestyle…I am looking forward to it. So today…was my first day shift in over five years. Considering I usually sleep in until one or two in the afternoon…getting up at eight in the morning was the hardest part of this transition. I basically stayed up all night staring in anticipation at my alarm clock. The shift itself went remarkably smooth and I enjoyed myself. It was refreshing to have different side work, different servers, different drinks, different body motions, a more laid back energy in the bar, etc. I made great money utilizing quality over quantity tactics…I had time to talk about cocktails and different liquors with my customers…which led to a lot of up selling. I connected with several people who are going to come back and visit me on my night shifts …one of which was a beautiful single lady…and got off in time to enjoy the sunset along with a couple of ice-cold Heinekens. Tonight…I am going to do more research on a couple of the higher end scotches and cognacs we sell and increase my liquor knowledge. Tomorrow morning…now that I comfortable…I am going to open the bar up a half hour early to increase my sales. It feels good to be thrown back into the trenches. The bottom line is that working a myriad of days and nights is going to mold me into a more rounded bartender. Mike…over at Life On A Cocktail Napkin…expressed it perfectly: When life hands you lemons…make a lemon drop martini!
Posted in Inspiration
Tagged bumper bartender race, cocktails, cognac, day bar, Heineken, lemon drop, lemon drop martini, mike, night bar, quality over quantity, scotch, tales from a cocktail napkin, the bottom line, trenches, vampiric lifestyle, when life hands you lemons
Generally, bartending jobs aren’t all that hard to acquire if you are a decent bartender and interview well. However…landing a top paying and consistent gig can take years of hard work garnished with a lot of patience…you don’t just walk into these positions. Currently, I am enjoying a great job, and I fought like hell to get it. I arose from over five years in the lonely trenches of the fruit cutting day bar to arrive at the mid-shift…where I remained stuck in limbo for another couple of years…before finally being promoted to where I am today. So tonight…I was informed my time at the top is in grave jeopardy…the company is downsizing and allowing bartenders from recently closed locations the opportunity to move in…based on seniority. There is a slight chance I will dodge a bullet, and remain where I am, and a very real possibility I will be bumped down to either day bar again or a service bar back in the kitchen. I will know in a couple of days. There is no use getting tied up in twist about what is happening. This is life…and in life…circumstances outside our control knock us down from time to time. The important thing is what you do when you find yourself facedown on the bar mats. If I get bumped…I will give my new position a hundred percent…I will look for any and all ways to make the best of it…figure out how to monetarily milk it dry…enjoy the advantages, and solve the problems of the disadvantages. Change is good. Challenges are good. Lessons in humility are even better. Fuck it. Night bar…day bar…service bar…at least I will have a bar. Everything happens for a reason.
Posted in Inspiration
Tagged bartending jobs, bumper bartenders, day bar, everything happens for a reason, getting bumped, job seniority, lessons in humility, life, night bar, service bar, true bar stories, twist
The last several preceding nights at the bar have remained eerily smooth. However, when you interact with as many intoxicated people as I do a shift…five to six nights a week…you are bound to hit a few speed bumps on your road to making a living. I had one guy call me dick and accuse me of trying to get rid of him, simply because I politely asked if he needed his tab. Another…a hotel manager from Las Vegas…whoopdeefuckingdo…told me I lacked enthusiasm and an entertaining personality. I think he was upset that I wasn’t visibly impressed with his stature in the service industry. And finally…a man in his late forties…threw a childish temper tantrum while his idiotic wife giggled in support…because I didn’t hook him up like the bartender did the night before. He informed me that customer service was more important than pouring the correct amount of an expensive port. I thought about cutting him off just on the basis of being such an asshole. Instead, I told him to come back when the other bartender was working because my job was more important than his ludicrous idea of customer service. So tonight…the road was freshly paved as if for an upcoming Nascar race…no potholes…no speed bumps. Free of the socially abrasive insecure drunk, the scrutinizing egotistical manager, and the ridiculous couple who were so fucking stagnant in life that they dramatized the lack of a quarter ounce into a wonderfully agonizing scene…I savored my profession as a bartender. The guests were great…they were happily enjoying themselves and the tips were rolling in at an alarmingly fast rate. It was the kind of shift where at the end of the evening you find yourself asking the bar gods why every night can’t be that easy. The customers had a positive experience…and symbiotically…so did I. Everybody was in good spirits. This was the essence of bartending. A perfect night. 86 assholes.
Posted in Inspiration
Tagged 86 assholes, customer service, expensive port, good spirits, intoxicated people, las vegas, nascar, perfect night, profession as a bartender, quarter ounce, service industry, whoopdefuckingdoo
The last few weeks at the bar have been great. We have been extremely busy and blessed with nice customers. If only tending bar were always this smooth and drama free. I have actually been looking forward to going to work lately. As corny as this sounds, bartending is similar to being a live entertainer…such as a stand up comedian or a rock star. We feed off the energy of our guests in the same way they do an audience. So tonight…as Steve and I were easily rolling through another slammed and enjoyable shift…I had a young newlywed couple sit with me. They were easy-going and we had a pleasant conversation when time allowed. Several slightly dirty Stoli martinis and a shared dessert later…they called it quits and requested their tab. I cleared their dessert plate and something heavy dropped into my free hand. I looked down to see his gold wedding band sitting in my palm. What the fuck? What are the chances of that? Somehow this ring had slipped off his finger into the dessert unnoticed and then managed to fall off the plate and land in my hand instead of the bar floor…where its fate would lie with the night cleaners. I handed them the bill and asked if they were missing anything. They looked puzzled. I prompted them, “Are you missing anything on your hands…perhaps?”, as I produced the ring. They were astonished. I immediately told them I was a practicing magician working on my sleight of hand skills and had liberated the ring during our time together. They were just drunk enough to believe me and I enjoyed a good laugh on the inside as they tried to figure out how I had done it. We said our farewells and I grabbed the checkbook off the bar to discover two crisp hundred-dollar bills left inside for a tip. Not a bad way to end the evening. I just hope they don’t return and ask to see some more magic tricks.
Posted in Inspiration
Tagged bar, bartending, comedian, dessert, feeding of the energy of the audience, losing your wedding ring, magic tricks, magician, one ring to fool them all, rock star, stoli martini, true bar stories, wedding band