Delicious Cocktails and Tricks of the Trade Tips

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Do you know the bar lingo?

Talk the Talk, Pour the Drink

Communication is important in just about any setting and behind a bar is no different. You need to be able to communicate with your customers effectively. In order to do that you must know the lingo.

When a customer asks for scotch neat you have to know what that means. On the rocks? No problem. Straight up is our specialty. You have to know that a twist with their Manhattan does not mean you dance to entertain them while pouring the drink.

Check out cocktail videos online where they run through the lingo, things you need to know and do, etc. Asking questions to make sure a customer gets what they want is one thing. But asking what is in something or how to make a drink can often sour the customer's experience and deflate your tip prospects.

Bartending classes can be a good resource, but if you cannot scrape the cash together for that the Internet is another great one, and it is free.

What do you need to know to make a martini?

Dealing with the 007

James Bond can ask for a martini "shaken, not stirred" and get what he wants. As for the rest of us, we would just get a scolding look from a bartender. In the movie world you can do this and get away with it, but in the real world it is the details that matter.

Do you want a gin or vodka martini? Which brand? Dry? Dirty? Do you want olives? Maybe onions or a twist?

These are all things that you should know if you ever plan on ordering or serving a martini. You do not want to be embarrassed when trying to order a drink that you obviously have never had or know what it really is.

If you are a bartender or plan to be one, these are important things to know not just for the customer who knows, but for the one who does not. You will get plenty of crazy questions and requests in any service industry and bartending is no different.

When that customer who just watched 007 drink the drink, beat the bad guy and get the girl orders a martini, now you can find out exactly what they want. It is better to ask a few questions and get it right the first time than give a customer something they may not like and cause a headache for yourself.

Martini videos as well as other cocktail videos can show you the myriad of possibilities a customer might go for and how to handle each.

Do you know what is in your bar at all times?

Know the Bar Like the Back of Your Hand

With real estate it is all about location, location, location. If you want to make the most money as a bartender, then the same principle applies. Know what kind of place you work in. Know the surrounding areas and what types of patrons you will be dealing with on a daily basis.

This will give you an idea as to what types of drinks will be the most popular, which liquors and beers, wines, etc. This gives you the chance to be prepared before your bar even fills up.

When it comes to bartending, preparation is essential. Have your bar stocked and ready to go with the things you will need the most can stop you from finding yourself in the weeds as customers wait for their orders while you restock.

Bartending classes and bar video clips can run through the gauntlet of what you might need at your bar. Then do some homework about the area, clientele, etc. Now you are ready to handle whatever is thrown at you. Your bar becomes like the back of your hand. You know where everything is, what you have and do not have, who wants what and how long it will take you to make.

Does it matter what glass I use?

Choosing the Right Glass

When working as a bartender it is important to know all about various liquors, beers, wines and mixers. With a wine there are things like the type of grape and the type of barrels used in making the wine. The region it is made in is also important.

How a beer is made and what type of flavor and body you will get is important to know. But there is more to bartending than the alcohol. Glassware is key. What types of glasses? Well, to name a few …

  • Rocks glass
  • Collins glass
  • Highball glass
  • Pilsner glass
  • Martini glass
  • Brandy snifter
  • Red and white wine glasses
Each of these glasses are used for different types of drinks and it is important to know when to use them. Red wine glasses, for example, typically have a wider mouth than white wine glasses because they benefit from more contact with air to “open up” the wine.

Pilsner glasses are used for beers and come in different sizes. They are typically kept in refrigerators so they, along with the beer, are nice and cold for the customer.

Check out bartender videos on the Internet that give you a rundown of the different glassware types and when to use them.

How do you make a Mojito?

Making a Mojito

Mojitos have become a very popular drink in bars and restaurants over the past several years. They are a popular summer drink, often enjoyed at patio restaurants and outdoor bars.

There are slight variations on this drink between different establishments, but the basics remain the same. Here is what you will need.

  • Fresh lime
  • Fresh mint leaves/sprigs
  • Sugar (usually 2 teaspoons)
  • Light Rum (usually about 2 oz)
  • Dash of soda
You take all of the ingredients except the rum and soda and place them in the base of the glass. Use what is called a “muddler,” which looks like a 6-inch wooden baseball bat, to muddle (crush and mix) the contents. Then squeeze some more lime juice over the contents and fill the glass with ice. Now pour the rum over the ice and use a shaker to shake everything up thoroughly. Now top off the glass with a dash of soda and garnish with a lime.

The actual proportions of each ingredient you use is up to your discretion, depending on how you want the drink to taste. Different bartending schools or cocktail videos might offer different perspectives. Try a couple variations until you get it just the way you want it.

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Byron White