Ice to a bartender is like fire to a chef. It is vital for making good cocktails. A bartender must know about why ice is used in drinks and what the different properties of different kinds of ice are. It’s not a simple as just going to a machine and plunking some cubes in!
What Ice Does
Ice has three main functions in cocktails. The first is to make the drink colder. The second is to add water to a strong drink. The third is to provide an aesthetic element to the experience. The art of cocktails didn’t really take off until bartenders could get their hands on large amounts of ice. However, cold needs to be balanced with dilution and that’s where it gets tricky.
As ice cools down, it melts. This adds water to your drink, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. Some alcohols do benefit from a little water. It can volatize flavor compounds that enrich the experience. It’s why some scotch drinkers splash their drink with water before drinking it straight. Too much water, however, will make a drink taste too weak. The basic rules are these:
In general, the more ice you have by mass in a container, the faster it will chill.
A piece of ice with less surface area will melt faster than one with a larger surface area. However, if the piece of ice is heavier and more pure, this will slow melting compared to a piece of ice of equal size.
Manipulating the ice by shaking or stirring the drink will make it melt and chill faster.
For drinks that are meant to be enjoyed over time, use heavier and larger pieces, and vice versa for drink for immediate consumption.
Where is the balance point? It all depends on the drink, and that’s where skill and experience come into play along with the right kind of ice. There are four main kinds of ice used in bars: block ice, cube ice, cracked ice, and crushed ice.
The old fashioned way of making smaller ice is by using a big block and a pick. Ice machines do most of the heavy lifting these days but some bartenders stick to the old ways to make dense large pieces of ice. Block ice is also necessary to make ice spheres, which are getting quite popular in some areas. This type of ice is the heaviest and the slowest-melting, which makes it great for top-shelf liquor that a patron might savor for a long time or for a large punch bowl.
The next step down, and the classic shape for cocktails, is cube ice. Any drink “on the rocks” is going to use cube ice or some form of block ice. Cube ice melts slowly and keeps drinks mildly cold compared to other ice types. Most bars will use standard cubes rather than fancy shapes like doughnut ice, nugget ice or chewblet (“Sonic style”) ice. These ice types were made for the soft drink industry for very rapid cooling of sodas and for people who like to chew ice. People usually don’t drink their sodas slow, so they melt very fast. That’s why your soda tastes terrible by the time you get your drink home from the drive-thru.
The next step down is cracked ice. This is used in stirred and shaken drinks. The primary purpose of it is for rapid cooling. However, it melts fast. Thus, the trick for the bartender is to shake or stir the drink long enough to reach the right temperature without adding too much water into the mix. This takes practice and a lot of taste-testing.
At the smallest level is crushed ice, which is similar to the ice you get from a snow cone. It melts very fast but makes drinks very cold. Juleps, pina coladas, and many other beach drinks use crushed ice. Try cracking some cubes in a tea towel and home and shake those compared to standard ice cubes. You’ll start to see just how much ice can change the effect of a drink. Enjoy your experiments and drink responsibly!
AuthorMark is from IceMachinesPlus.com with over 10 years of experience in the restaurant and bar industry. With an extensive background and entertaining writing style Mark is focused on providing quality information and advice to managers and contractors about the best practices on choosing the right type of ice machine.
Summer is coming! It’s time to start getting a little smarter about the cocktails you are enjoying if you want to keep your beach bod (or if you simply want to keep from passing out from heat exhaustion while drinking under the sun.) Even if you aren’t necessarily concerned about a beach body, there are some simple fixes to your cocktails that will at least keep the hangovers to a minimum – which is always a plus.
Please keep in mind that these are not medically-proven tips recommended by a doctor to help you lose weight while drinking. If you really want to stay healthy, you probably shouldn’t be drinking at all.
Here are our 20 tips to keep your cocktails ‘healthy’. Enjoy!
1. Use seltzer instead of club soda.
There is a difference here folks! Seltzer is simply water that has been carbonated. Its origin is an actual town called Selters in Germany which is famous for its natural springs. Club soda, on the other hand, contains some ingredients that supposedly enhance the flavor (although if you don’t know, you probably can’t taste the difference). These ingredients are things that you would have seen on the bottle like potassium bicarbonate and potassium sulfate which are salty minerals. Some also contain preservatives.
2. Cut the sodas and colas
Say goodbye to Rum & Coke or Gin & Tonics. Cola contains unnecessary artificial sugars that you don’t need, like high fructose corn syrup. Tonic Water contains the bitter quinine, which adds calories. Fun fact: Quinine used to be used to treat malaria! If you absolutely have to drink cola, at least stick to diet. While the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas aren’t much better, you can at least cut away the hangovers!
3. Light Rum over Dark Rum
If you wish to decrease the severity of your hangover, choose light rum over dark rum. Dark liquors contain congeners, which according to the Oxford University Press, actually increase a hangover. Congeners are what make up the color and flavor of liquors.
4. Make your own juice
Fruit juice itself contains a lot of sugar. Fruit cocktail contains even more because it is artificially sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. For example, Cranberry juice is very tart, so they sweeten it with other fruits juices like apple juice. A cranberry juice cocktail however, is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Any type of juice that you buy from the store is even worse because it is packed with preservatives. So, if you wish to go all natural, the healthier option is juicing your own juice. This way you avoid the artificial sweeteners.
5. Speaking of fruit juice – choose antioxidant rich ones
Focus on drinks with antioxidant-rich fruit juices like cranberry, lemon, or pomegranate. Each is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Dr. Oz tells us that these help fight off free oyxgen radicals in your body which can lead to various illnesses, stress and aging.
6. Make it a spritzer!
Recently the long-standing belief that red wine is good for you was called into question. Health benefits of antioxidants in the red wine was somewhat proven to not be all it was hyped up to be. However, if you have to have wine, watering it down means you are drinking less, which is better for you overall. White wine with seltzer is a great summer drink that goes down easy in the hot summer sun.
7. Say goodbye to Pre-Made Drink Mixers
At American Bartenders School, we talk about the easy ways to make your own Bloody Marys, Margaritas or even how to make your own Sour Mix. Pre-made mixers are packed with sugar and artificial sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup. The sweeteners make you think your drink tastes ‘better’ when really it is just going to lead you to a stomach ache or hang over! If you really have no way around it, and you have to use a pre-mixed drink – go with something like Skinny Girl – which is at least low in calories.
8. Try Detoxing with booze
Wait, what? You aren’t exactly detoxing here, you are simply drinking a lot of healthy ingredients with a little bit of alcohol. The Hotel Americano right here in Chelsea, NYC serves something called the Detox Bellini. This is a combination of wheatgrass, celery juice, green chartreuse, apple juice, orange juice and a few drops of chlorophyll. Then it is topped off with champagne. This is packed with vitamins and minerals, and gives a boost to the immune and circulatory systems.
9. Make your own bitters
Concocting your own bitters to go into a cocktail like a Manhattan or Sazerac is all the rage. You can learn more about making your own bitters at Food and Wine. By creating your own, you not only have control of the taste, intensity of flavors, but you also will not have to worry about artificial flavors or sweeteners that some companies add to their bitters to make them more appealing.
This one is pretty easy to follow and pretty self explanatory. But, if the drink calls for 2oz of Rum, just add 1oz and double up on ice or juice. This is the same principal as the wine spritzer – you will be drinking less alcohol while still enjoying a ‘drink’. Less alcohol=healthier.
12. Stay away from Cocktails with Multiple types of Alcohol
Taking this one step further, you should avoid the drinks with multiple types of alcohol. This will only get you drunker! So, no more Long Island Iced Tea!
13. Stay away from Caffeine in drinks
Caffeine hasn’t been proved to dehydrate you as once thought, but it can cause insomnia and nasty headaches – combine that with a hangover and that’s a nasty soup. Redbull and other energy drinks have all sorts of interesting effects on the body, none of which are really that great, so we recommend staying away from those as well if you want to stay healthier!
14. Use natural sweetener like agave.
Agave is considered healthier because it has a lower glycemic index than sugar. Use this as a sweetener instead of processed white sugars. They are great in margaritas!
15. OR Make your own simple syrup
If you are totally averse to agave nectar for whatever reason, and you really want to use simple syrup, don’t both buying it – just make your own. Use honey- which is rich in antioxidants. Greatist tells us to use ½ tablespoon honey mixed with ¾ tablespoon warm water.
This is kind of a no-brainer, and it’s crazy how quickly we forget after one or two beers in the sun. Do not drink excessively under the hot sun. This is a one way ticket to an ugly night, let alone extreme dehydration. You also increase the risk of getting sunburn. 18. Don’t drink right before bed – no more nightcaps
Men’s Health tells us that there are a great deal of negatives to going to bed drunk. You miss out on the much needed REM sleep, so you wake up restless and overtired, which will NOT help keeping healthy.
19. Don’t drink before a workout
Being healthy means working out. Alcohol can negate the effects of a workout even before you hit the weight bench. One study showed that alcohol stops the repair of muscles after they break down, so even if you are at the room getting your lift on, you won’t gain anything from it. Come on bro!
Alcohol from the night before has also been shown to linger in the bloodstream, so lay off even if you are going to get a good night’s sleep.
20. OR After!
Although there was a rumor going around that beer is a great workout recovery drink, Greatist has also somewhat debunked this one as well. There are way more negative effects than positive here for your health in post workout recovery boozing.
According to them, “Alcohol causes oxygen to leave the bloodstream more quickly,which inhibits the transport of digestive enzymes and essential nutrients through the body. This slows muscle growth and repair and impairs the metabolism of carbs for energy.”
After winning the semi-finals in New York City, he is heading to London to compete in the Belvedere Vodka Martini Challenge. Belvedere is now the official vodka of the 24th James Bond movie ‘Spectre’ Starring Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Monica Bellucci and Ralph Fiennes. The winner of the contest gets a vacation at the Goldeneye Resort in Jamaica (home of Bond creator Ian Fleming), plus their signature cocktail will be featured at the movie opening as it premieres around the world. Rumor has it they will also serve Bond his martini in the actual film!
He isn’t worried. He knows that he can stick to his roots of traditional mixology. Others might try to wow the judges with fancy new flavors combinations. But let’s a face it, a drink is nothing without proper care and precision technique that is at the heart of traditional mixology.
So no, Matteo isn’t worried about the Belvedere challenge. Nor is he worried about working in New York City. He was just offered a job bartending at the famous Del Posto, one of NYC’s finest restaurants.
So what worries Matteo? What worries him most is the cost of living in New York City. Welcome to the club Matteo.
We got the chance to sit down with Matteo at American Bartenders School and ask him some questions.
Where in Italy are you originally from?
I am originally from Rome.
Since your recent move to the US, what do you miss most about Italy?
Obviously I miss my mother, like any Italian in the world. I also miss the friendly and joyful character of Italians. But I am a lucky guy because I have an amazing girlfriend and a fantastic group of friends here to New York.
Where do you currently bartend?
I currently work at ‘Del Posto’ in New York.
How did you become interested in mixology?
I’ve been doing this for a long time. I have experienced many transformations of mixology in the last 20 years. About eight years ago I really started to focus on using spices, herbs and roots in my cocktails. This wasn’t very popular in Europe, so I looked strange compared to other European bartenders.
Over time I have refined my technique. I first worked for free in some kitchens at Michelin-Starred restaurants with some of the best chefs in the world. This is where I really learned how to extract the best flavors. I have also traveled extensively, working as a guest or employee in many places in the world. All of this has allowed me to improve and canalize all the energy and knowledge into a precise technique. But it also allows me each time to give a experience to my guest.
What is your favorite cocktail?
I like to drink a shaken Americano (without seltzer) or also a classic Margarita.
American Bartenders School Tip: To make an Americano, fill a highball glass with ice. Add 1.5 oz Campari and 1.5 oz sweet vermouth. Then top with club soda. Garnish with an orange slice or twist.
We know that as a mixologist, bitters are very important.What bitters are your favorite to use?
The Italian tradition is full of various types of bitters that I love to use in my cocktails. The best known, like the Fernet Branca, is fantastic if you add a few drops in the preparation of a Manhattan. Or try the herbal liqueur Strega Alberti to support gin in a dill bramble. You can try Rabarbaro Zucca, a famous rhubarb bitter, to complete a Negroni. Lastly, try using bitters with gentian in an aperitif cocktail with Cynar, fresh lime juice and tonic water.
Since you are from Italy, we obviously have to ask a question about wine, so what is your favorite wine?
I love the white wine served cold. I love white italian wines such as Vermentino from Sardinia, aromatic Traminer from Trentino Alto Adige or from Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Passerina From Marche.
How did it feel to have won the semi-finals of Belvedere’s ‘The Challenge’ competition?
It felt great. I treated it like it was a final. Winning such an important competition after only two months in America – with moments of my life being very hard – was very satisfying. It was truly the result of very long and hard work. But I have also learned that with each victory, it is important to always be humble and keep my feet planted firmly on the ground.
Congratulations, I wish we could have tasted your cocktail! Now onto the question about vodka…How does Belvedere differ from other vodkas you’ve tasted?
Belvedere Vodka is different. It is full of passion and personality. The production process is very meticulous and hard, and they only use pure and rare ingredients. It has an unmistakable aroma with hints of vanilla and notes of cream that differs from other types of vodka. Its taste is round and velvety.
What could bartending schools do better to prepare students who wish to make a living bartending?
To improve the preparation of students, bartendering schools must go beyond the normal education They must offer students new and advanced courses, so that they can be ready to face the modern bar industry. I believe all schools should teach a course on modern mixology where students could learn all of the new and modern techniques with the support of expert bartenders and chefs.
What’s the craziest thing that has ever happened to you while bartending?
I have been fortunate to work in Japan alongside Mr. Hidetsugu Ueno and very crazy things often happen in Japan. For example in Bar High Five, sometimes people drank so much that they fall asleep on the counter. Mr. Ueno always had a pillow and a small blanket ready for them.
Since Belvedere is the official vodka of the James Bond franchise, we have to ask you this – What is your favorite James Bond movie?
This is difficult to answer! But, I’m very fascinated by the first series with Sean Connery as the James Bond. Maybe the best in my opinion is ‘From Russia with Love (1963)’, where there is a great combination of beautiful scenes, beautiful women, and beautiful landscapes which combine to create a great action movie.
Which actor is the best James Bond in your opinion? (Craig, Brosnan, Daulton, Moore, Connery, Lazenby)?
Brosnan embodies the perfect James Bond – elegant, witty, agile and charming. He compiles the characteristics of all the others into a single character.
Do you know New York City has a total of 22 physical breweries! The breakdown goes like this: 11 in Brooklyn, 8 in Queens, 5 in Manhattan, 2 in the Bronx, and one in Staten Island. With this handy list, you can visit all of them (or you can at least try their beer!). It is important to note how we are distinguishing this breweries on this list: While you may find some other ‘breweries’ located in NYC, the cold hard fact is that real estate is hard to come by. A lot of folks are located in NYC, but actually forced to brew at other breweries upstate or in CT.
One of the important things about being a bartender is knowing the details about the beer you are serving. As craft beer continues to gain more interest and notoriety, you will find a lot more customers of your asking about it. Bartending school in New York is an easy way to learn about the basics of beer. American Bartending School teaches important lessons in beer, like the basics of brewing beer and some of the history of beer. If you want to know more about what we teach related to beer – drop us a line here.
This shop/restaurant sells a variety of beers including their own beers that they brew. They also have very old-school growlers so that you can bring their beer home. According to their website, their “modern growlers are made of glass and can withstand being counter-pressure filled (a procedure done by the growler machine designed by our very own Benjamin Granger). This technique allows the beer to remain fresh in an unopened growler for up to three months. The only catch is the growler must be sealed with a pressurized screw-on cap that can be purchased in the store.”
These guys founded their brewery in 2010 and brew/sell kombucha as well as a very special type of beer. Through a brew process they’ve created, a portion of their kombuchas become probiotic beers. Each is brewed with a very unique blend of spices, or teas. Their brewery is also solar powered!
This is one of the smaller breweries in the city, also known as a nano-brewery. This means each batch is very small, about 1/3 of a barrel. According to Big Alice, this size gives them the flexibility to be creative and experiment with different styles and within each style. They do indeed have experimental beer flavors, like the Galia Melon Sour Wheat and the Vanilla Prune Dark Caramel.
This nano-brewery opened in 2012 and is located out in Maspeth, which is in Queens. Their beers can be found at a variety of bars throughout the city. They have a wide range of brewed beers like their Ol Gilmartin Milk and Oatmeal Stout, and their Red Bird Express Belgian Red IPA.
This brewhouse opened in September 2014 and their first beer was a Rye Pale Ale. They have now expanded to four beers sold in very iconic tall, thin cans. Their four beers include the Bronx Rye Pale Ale, Bronx Belgian Pale Ale, Bronx Pale Ale, and the Bronx Session IPA.
Their logo was designed by legendary Milton Glaser (who also did the I *heart* NY logo) and they were selling their Brooklyn Lager as early as the 1980s. But the brewhouse officially opened in 1994. They brew a variety of classic beers like a IPA, Brown Ale, Lager, and American Ale.
This brewery is located out in the ‘forgotten borough’ of Staten Island. Open Thursday through Sunday for tours and tastings, they offer a handful of beers as well as a few seasonal beers to compliment the weather and your tastebuds.
This microbrewery in Brooklyn has three beers currently, a German Ale, a Dark Rye Ale, and a Pilsner. They ‘make the best of new technology’ to brew beer ‘the old fashioned way’. Their beers are available at various locations throughout the city.
This Greenpoint brewery is located at a bar/restaurant called Dirck The Norseman, which is also home to a few European outposts of beers: Cologne Germany’s Gaffel Kolsch, Friesland’s Jever Pilsner, and Augsburg’s Brauhaus Reigele.
This is the smallest of the breweries-and technically not a permanent member of the NYC brewery community. They travel around to different breweries to brew their beer – so they are more of a nano-brewery or ‘nomadic’ brewery. Founders Joe and Lauren Grimm create single batch beers that may only come around once. Visit their website to learn more about actually purchasing them, but they are located in a variety of bars throughout the city.
Founded by two local ballplayers, Dave Lopez and Kieran Farrell started crafting beers at their brewery in the Bronx in early February of 2014. Bonus – check out their website – it is a really cool design. You can visit their brewery for tastings and tours, but they are also available in bars.
Keg & Lantern Brewing Company
97 Nassau Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
This is part restaurant/part brewery. They serve 9 beers that are brewed right on the premises, everything from Scottish Ale to a Sour Brown Ale. Open everyday from 11am to 4am.
Kelso brews out of the same brewhouse that Heartland Brewery uses in Greenpoint and is known as ‘Greenpoint Beer Works’. Kelso launched in 2006 and is actually named after the Brewmaster, KELly Taylor, and his wife, SOnya Giacobbe. (Not after the That 70’s Show character!)
This German brewery/restaurant is located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Home to the FC Bayern Munich Soccer Fan Club, it’s known for its delicious craft beer and German food. They also have brewing classes.
This brewery got its starts by selling kegs to local bars at Rockaway Beaches. They currently have a brewhouse in Long Island City, so you don’t have to go all the way out to the beach to taste. They currently have five beers, including their signature english-style ale that started it all, the Rockaway ESB.
Located in Queens, you can visit Singlecut’s Taproom to try out their beer selection. They currently have 10 beers on their roster, but 6 year round beers including 3 different IPAs, a Pilsner, and their Mahogany Ale.
Sixpoint Craft Ales started in 2004 and have since grown. A few years back they sold their beers in 4-pack 16 oz cans, but now they have moved to 6-packs that resemble a Redbull. Their four core beers are the Resin, Sweet Action, Bengali, and The Crisp (our favorite). But they also have various seasonal beers.
This 15 barrel brewhouse in Gowanus is also an event space and restaurant with rotating kitchen residency. Funded in part by Kickstarter, they are opening an outdoor space as well. Their beer roster is currently at 18 different beers.
Located right on the border of Queens/Brooklyn, this brewery focuses on Traditional and Farmhouse Ales. So, you won’t necessarily be seeing any wild chocolate stouts or fruit-infused beers here. They also have a Community Supported Brewery program. That means for a monthly sum of $175, you get 2 bottles of their beer per month as well as some other swag like glasses and tshirts.
These are gypsy or nomadic brewers who have offices in NYC, but don’t yet have their own brewery. I say ‘yet’ because some are working on it!
Radiant Pig Beer
Alphabet City Brewing Company
Grimm Artisanal Ales
If you think we missed a brewery – please reach out to us! socialmedia (at) barschool (dot) com
In honor of the new Avengers movie coming out this weekend, Avengers: Age of Ultron, we decided to come up with a great list of cocktails based on the stars of the upcoming flick. We wanted to include recipes that you won’t necessarily find in our 500 drink recipes guide. However, if and when you take bartending classes at our bartending school in NY, you will learn how to whip these up with ease. You’ll quickly become a HERO behind the bar!
Now, we wouldn’t drinking all of these shots in one night or even taking down more than two in an evening. This may lead to some Hulk-esk mornings for you.
With each post we’ve included our comic book version (and then a text version).
So without further ado, here is the list of the Avengers Cocktails!
Shake Vodka, Sweet and Sour Mix, Cranberry Juice and Amaretto over ice. Take a rocks glass and fill it halfway with ice. Pour your grenadine over the ice in the glass and let it settle at the bottom. Strain into the glass. Fill the remainder of the glass with Red Bull.
In a shaker, muddle the blackberries and basil. Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into a stemless Martini glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a blackberry and basil leaf on a toothpick.
If you are interested in getting a job bartending in NYC, I’m sure you’ve read your fair share of articles about bartending schools in NYC, or how to painstakingly work your way into the industry as a busboy. You might have also wasted hours applying online for bartending positions from job board postings that were dead ends. Well, today you are in for a new approach to becoming a bartender in NYC.
Let me start with a quick story. One of our students moved to New York and wanted to become an actor. After a few months of going to non-stop auditions, he quickly realized that NYC is more expensive than he had planned. He had to make some cash in a job that would keep his days free for auditioning, so his first choice was bartending. After reading a ton of articles online and talking to a few bar managers, it was clear to him what he needed to do to get a job bartending in NYC.
Here are the steps that he took to get a job bartending in NYC. It took him about 3 weeks, and if you follow these steps very closely, you should be able to do the same. With these steps, you will instantly maximize your amount of bartending job opportunities in New York City. These are the tried and true steps after working in the industry.
1) Create a business card for yourself to show that you are serious
This is super simple. Go over to Vistaprint.com and create a business card. You can get 100 for $16 plus shipping. Choose one of their designs that you like and be sure to include your name, cell phone number, and email address. It is also very important to give yourself a title.
I went with “Bartender/Mixologist”. This covers both bases and will keep your options open.
Now, to be fair, just having a business card isn’t going to do it for you. You need to have a personality behind your card or it won’t make a lasting impression. It will just end up in the pile. Spend some time talking into a mirror if you have to. Learn some jokes. Bar owners are in the market for personality as much as they are a qualified bartender. But – a business card is an important piece nonetheless.
2) Create your EYE-CATCHING Resume – Include these words in your resume will instantly boost your credibility
Rarely will your resume be the only reason a bar manager hires you. But, there a few tricks to improving your resume that will instantly grab am employer’s eye. These are the same words you will mention in your interview.
(Remember them easily with this C.U.P.)
– Control the bar – Your ability to control the bar and expedite in an orderly fashion will keep customers (and bar managers) happy.
– Upselling –Upselling according to Wikipedia is “a sales technique whereby a seller induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale.”
So in bartending, this is the art of getting customers to buy something more than they ordered. For instance, if a customer wants a well-drink (the cheaper, lower-quality liquor), you would try to upsell them a premium or super-premium liquor product (also known as ‘top shelf’). Or when a customer orders a drink, you would mention the fact that your bar has a kitchen and maybe they would like a hamburger or fries. Or – if it’s late in the night, let them know that the kitchen is ‘closing soon’, which will instill a sense of urgency.
This is something that you will learn in any bartending school, especially the bartending schools in New York. It is a nuanced approach that, like any sales approach, will come off as forced if you don’t do it right. PAY ATTENTION IN CLASS TO THIS ONE!
– Pour Cost – Being aware of the pour cost shows your employer that you will NOT over pour drinks. That means less money going down the drain (literally.)
Example: Go to Google Maps and type ‘bars’…all of those red dots are bars!!
4) Favorite Venues List
Time to breakdown your list. First are going to be all your favorite venues. This is where you are going to list all of your dream jobs. These are your favorite venues that you would absolutely kill to work at. This is going to be doing your first interviewing and where you will be on your ‘A’ game. List at least 25-30 to get started.
5) ‘Just Fine’ Venues
These are your venues that you are just so-so about. Remember, if you are serious about that, you have to be persistent and make some sacrifices at first. This means you might have to get a job at a bar that isn’t your favorite right away. But – it’s still a job, and trust me, it will lead to other jobs.
6) Never in a Million Years Venues
This is your list of venues that you think you will never, ever have a chance at getting a bartending job at. My process only works because you are going to leave no stone unturned. You might have left these off because you thought that they were too out of your reach. But – these might just be the bar that is looking to hire you. For example, these are some of the hottest bars in NYC.
The Grand Havana Room
LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED!
7) Under the Radar – These are other venues that have bars that you might not have thought of
After visiting your bars, you will want to diversify your portfolio and head out to some different venues that desperately need bartenders, but they just might not be as sexy as working in the Meat Packing District. Some are touristy spots, others aren’t.
Here is a quick list:
NYC Water Taxi
Grand Central Station
Circle Line Cruise
Catering Companies: Restaurant Associates, Great Performances
JFK / LGA
Hint: a Google Search for ‘Catering Companies in NYC’ yielded 660,000 results. There are tons of bartending job opportunities in those results!.
8) Learn how to bartend from a Professional Bartender at a Bartending School
Learn from a professional. I can’t stress this enough. Once again: To become a bartender in NYC, you will need to go to a bartender school in NYC! Sure you will learn things on the job, but an employer wants to hire someone who is prepared and can hit the ground running, the less time they have to spend training you, the more attractive you appear as a bartending job candidate, even if you have no experience. And the quickest way to get some bartending experience is by going to a bartending school. There are plenty of bartender schools in NYC, but I went to American Bartenders School.
This is obviously where you will learn how to create all the drinks you will need on the job. I don’t want to waste a step explaining the importance of learning cocktail recipes, because any school you go to will stress this. However, aside from learning drinks, there are nuances to controlling your bar and the crowd that you would never learn without having a professional explain it to you.
Plus, it’s extremely easy and quick – The class is only two weeks and can set you up for a lifetime’s work in bartending in NYC (and if you make it here, you can make it anywhere…). Compare that to other trade schools and it doesn’t even come close to the amount of time you’d spend learning a craft.
Remember, there is a lot more that goes into being a bartender than just making drinks.
9) Be a chameleon when you hit the bars
Like it or not, fashion is very important in NYC! Wherever you decide to apply, you must do a little bit of quick reconnaissance before dropping off your resume and/or going in for an interview. If you see the bartender wearing a shirt and tie, you must mimic them. Get to know the styles of the people who work at the bar. This has backing in science and is known as mirroring. As Forbes says it, mirroring correctly could increase your chances of getting a job. This takes some practice or it could come off as arrogant – so brush up on your mirroring!
For a slightly toned down version of mirroring use these steps:
Step 1. Head to the bar and size up the bartender’s fashion
Step 2. Order a drink and compliment them on their shirt/pants/tie, whatever and ask where they got it.
Step 3. Go buy a similar shirt, tie, etc
Step 4. Wear this when you return to the bar to drop off your resume and/or interview
10) Buy a Note Pad- Look prepared!
This is more of an interview technique but I think it is important to mention. If you are like me, you have millions of things flying through your mind at all times. It is hard to keep track when theres so much going on. You need to be prepared for an interview for the next stage, so it is important to look the part and come with the proper tools. It is great to take notes during an interview because it
1) allows you to keep track of all of the details &
2) shows that you pay attention to detail.
This will also come in handy for the follow up email/phone call. HINT: Grab a moleskin notepad – they look very professional.
Set up each page and gather the following at each of bars you visit…
You might not get all of this contact info but you’ll need at least a number or an email. You need to be able to contact them later.
11) The 10 bar Rule – Be persistent and go introduce yourself to at least 10 bars per evening
This is important. You must be persistent. This job isn’t going to be handed to you. But you’ve come far already. The most important part now is getting your face, business card, and resume out there. This will play out differently at each bar, but for starters, I gave myself a step-by-step process to follow at each bar. This is where we tie all the previous steps together.
Get to the bars at a slow time- say 2pm-4pm
Talk to the bartender about the bar- learn what you can about the history, the type of clientele, etc. This is where you will learn some specific details that you can then use later when talking to the manager. (This isn’t 100% necessary but it will help connect with the manager.)
Example: If they tell you, “we mainly get an older crowd who orders traditional cocktails“, then you will be telling the manager that you are best at making traditional cocktails and you are really looking to work in a bar where they appreciate the classics. Jot this down in your notebook later.
Ask to speak to the manager (If they are available, then it is time for your impromtu interview. If not, get their contact info)
Talk about your skills – mention the C.U.P. Remember this from earlier – Controlling the bar, Upselling, Pour Cost. Talk about the details that you learned from the bartender.
Get names, emails, and numbers of whoever you can at the bar
You will gain more confidence with each bar you visit and it will become easier and easier. By the third bar I felt like I was truly selling myself and my strengths to the bartender.
This is why you got names and numbers in step 5. Now it’s time to follow up and keep top of mind for these people. Use a variation of the following email: Hello [Name of person you met],
Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me yesterday. I would love the chance to come work for you at [bar name]. Furthermore, please feel free to contact me if [BARTENDER NAME] is ever out sick or if you need a last minute sub. I’d be happy to come help out.
I look forward to hearing from you. Please give me a call at [your number] at your convenience.
13) Follow Through!
Here is where you must shine. First impressions are the most important. If you’ve made it this far, you will know that you have to be on time and be dressed for success.
– Iron your shirt/clothes
– Arrive 30 mins early
– DON’T DRINK ON THE JOB! This may sound like a fun part of it, and I’m sure you’ve run into your fair share of bartenders who do this, but for the first few months, don’t touch it.
You’ve worked this hard- you don’t want to blow it!
Be prepared to start working up the chain. If this job isn’t your dream job, then put in the hours and get the experience that another bar might need to see on your resume. Not all bars are initially going to give you the best job with the best hours. You need to be willing to work a little, but it will pay off!
14) B.Y.O. Wine Key: Tools for Success
The real tools that you need for success are dependent on the type of bar. If it is a high-end restaurant where you will be doing a lot of complex mixology, you will need more tools than if you work at a beer bar, you won’t necessarily need tools like a muddler. A few quick recommendations after working on the job for any situation. These tools will make you seem like you know what you’re doing and also help you keep the job after you get it:
1. Wine Key: sometimes called a waiter’s tool, this is a two in one bottle opener and wine opener (with blade). Stay away from the bulky or wooden handle ones because they are usually way too expensive. You want a simple, double-hinged wine key. $2-5
At this point you will have learned everything you need to about drinks. But did you remember the important stuff? A two-week intensive class at a bartender school in NYC is just what it sounds like…intense. Which means there is a chance that some stuff will fall through the cracks.
So, make sure you keep these 25 cocktails top of mind. The rest will fill out as time goes on, but these are the most important.
Here are the TOP 25 that you will have to know going into any bartending gig:
At this point, you should be on your way to getting some interviews. Like I said earlier, it took me 3 weeks. The hardest part is definitely being persistent and forcing yourself to get out to 10 bars in a night. This can be fun if you are drinking, but you will end up looking unprofessional if you are wasted while talking to a bar manager.
So – drink responsibly! The author of this post wishes to remain anonymous. For any questions or concerns, please contact us at [email protected]
Have any thoughts or suggestions? Did this work for you? Please let us know! Email at [email protected]
What do Jennifer Lawrence and Hulk Hogan have in common? They apparently both love Pina Coladas!
We’ve scoured the internet on this one to find 80 LIVING celebrities and their favorite cocktails!Our Bartending School in NYC has taught people how to make all of these drinks, but you will need a little more than a Bartending License to actually become a celebrity! Sign up for classes today! (But if you want to make the big bucks, you should memorize this list, in case Eva Mendes walks into your bar!)
Some, like George Clooney’s affinity for Raspberry Cheesecake, definitely surprised us. Dan Aykroyd is partial to his own brand vodka, Crystal Skull Vodka, which is a little more obvious. President Obama chooses an ‘All-American’, neutral beer in Bud Light while the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II apparently prefers the classic, more aristocratic-sounding Gin & Dubbonet.Bartending School teachers have said that there is nothing harder than keeping calm when a celebrity walks into your bar, so we hope this list eases some of those nerves for all of you.
A new study from Oregon State University found that drinking red wine or grape juice can help overweight people burn fat easier.
The study found that a chemical found in grapes, called ellagic acid, helped to dramatically slow the growth of existing fat cells and the formation of new ones. It also boosted the metabolism of fatty acids in the liver.
In the study, mice were fed fatty foods for a period of time. This led to the same types of dietary problems that obese men and women face today such as high blood sugar. The now chubby mice were then given extracts of grapes to help counter these problems. The extracts worked like magic to lower blood sugar and lowered the accumulation of fat in the livers.
Important to note that this is not a miracle weight-loss drug. “These plant chemicals are not a weight-loss miracle”, cautions scientist Neil Shay. “We didn’t find, and we didn’t expect to, that these compounds would improve body weight.” However, having a healthy liver will help your overall health.
Don’t Overdo it!
Also important to note is this doesn’t mean that you can go drinking a bottle of wine a day. In fact, let’s take a closer look at how this study actually converts to human consumption of grapes/wine…
The mice were given the equivalent of 1.5 cups of grapes per day.
There are 6 cups of grapes in a glass of wine.
This is equal to a quarter of a glass of wine per day.
“Here at the Bartending School, we stress the importance of drinking and serving in moderation,” says one of our instructors at the American Bartenders School in New York. “Hearing about this study backs up our message.”
Valentine’s Day is approaching and we know what is on everyone’s mind. We’ve decided to do some digging and figure out if cocktail ingredient will actually help you ignite the flame. Since the beginning of civilization men and women have linked food and spices to sex. Some links were made to sex because of the shapes of certain foods, while others were thought to have special chemical qualities that increased sexual desire. Avocados were known to the Aztecs as ahuacuatl, which means testicle tree.
A famous 18th century “lover” named Giacomo Girolamo Casanova claimed to eat 50 oysters for breakfast every day to increase his sexual drive. You may have also heard of other aphrodisiacs like chocolate, strawberries, or asparagus. So, in honor of Valentine’s Day this week, before you go running out to buy chocolate-covered oyster shots, you may want to double check our list to see if these are actually aphrodisiacs at all.
There are plenty of skills that you will learn at bartender school that will transfer over to other jobs and other areas of your life. Some are more direct and obvious, and others you might not think of right away. Inspired by this post from Shiftgig, we decided to elaborate a bit – especially for New York City. At American Bartenders School, we stress traits like leadership, however there are many other skills you will learn that will help you in any number of jobs. Most, if not all of these will show up in some way on a job description, and it is imperative that you list some of these on your resume or at least mention them in your interview.
As a bartender you will realize very quickly that if you want to make any money at all, you will have to learn how to do more than one thing at a time. This is essential in any job you will ever have.
2. Anger Management
There will always be that person who thinks he’s better than you and everyone around him. Resist the urge to lash out, because this will not only hurts your chances of getting a nice tip, but it makes you the better person. Plus, some people just need a friend.
The word is mainly associated with start-up businesses, but can apply to much more. You need to be hard working, have the ability to talk to anyone, and be your own boss. You may have a manager at the spot where you work, but when you are behind the bar, you call the shots (pun intended).
The way in which you present yourself direct relates to the amount of sales, and more importantly, tips that you receive. This is marketing – presenting something in such a way that other people want it. There are scientific ways to get other people to increase their tips, all based on how you present yourself.
Every time that you pour a Bud in a Bud glass, you are advertising for Bud. Every time you create an amazing tasting cocktail for someone, you are advertising for yourself and your bar. Plenty of newspapers and bloggers write about
If you know that you have to pay your rent, phone bill, and cable bill, how much will you have to make each night from bartending? On top of this, try adding up 4 different priced cocktails and 3 beers in your head, but then your customers want to split the bill evenly between 3 people. Sure there are computers that do it for you, but you will save much more time if you can do the math in your head.
Knowing how to dress for success is key. There are certain tricks to fashion that you will learn over time. Depending on the type of bar you work in, you may have to match their aesthetic. This will help you maximize your profits. Being seen as a handsome or sexy bartender will do you wonders when it comes time to getting tips. Bottom line: Iron your shirt, comb your hair, match your clothes. Dress to impress!
8. Problem Solving
Here’s a problem: Six people order a Manhattan, but you only have enough sweet vermouth left for three of them. What do you do? Offer to make one of these 25 Manhattans… Learning how to think on your toes is something you will be able to learn fast.
A Master sommelier needs to know everything he/she can about not only wine, but beer, whiskey, spirits, even cigars! This is not to say that you will learn everything there is about these subjects, but a good bartender will definitely be able to clear up the myth which touts that bourbon must be made in Kentucky. (HINT: It does not.)
A clean bar is an efficient bar – it is also more pleasing to the customer, not to mention the health inspector. Vermin and insects thrive in unsanitary conditions found in restaurants and bars. If you can keep your bar clean, then you can keep your kitchen clean – that is a fact! In addition to this, cleanliness comes into play when you think about fashion skills. Although you will undoubtedly get dirty working behind a bar, you will learn to show up for work looking your best.
11. Stress Management
There will be some nights where you are understaffed and overworked. With a never-ending line at the bar and your manager yelling, you may feel like you want to pull your hair out. Resist the urge! This will help you work through similar situations later in life…like going the DMV!
12. Social Skills
Talking with customers is a good way to connect with them. We’ve already talked about how remembering their name is scientifically proven to increase your tips. Making small talk with a regular is a great way to keep them coming back. If you are an introvert, bartending will force you out of your shell. In the business world, networking is king, and you can’t network if you aren’t able to make small talk with strangers.
When applying for a job, you will probably find this word on most job descriptions. That is because it is an extremely important quality to possess. It shows that you are mature, cool under pressure, and can make good decisions. As a bartender, you dictate the whole evening. If you are serving drinks at a fast pace to someone who is obviously drinking quickly, this person will get drunker quicker. On the other hand, you have the ability to make people happy if you know they have been waiting a long time for a drink by buying them a round on the house.
Furthermore, if you work at a restaurant, you will not only be in charge of drinks for customers at the bar, but you will also need to fulfill drink orders for tables. At larger bars you will have a few bartenders working with you as well as a busboy and/or bar back. These are all team members that need leading.
If you have any other skills or questions, feel free to comment or write to socialmedia (at) barschool (dot) com