Stepping outside the box. That's exactly what I feel like I have been doing since I went back to bartending back in June. Maybe not stepping outside of the box in the traditional sense, but just me getting out of my own comfort zone. Trust me, being in my comfort zone is where I usually like to be. Don't most people? There is no room for growth inside a comfort zone. In the past, I have been used to the type of bartending that doesn't require much thought or creative capacity. Basically, being a bartender at these places means being a beer and cocktail factory and cashier. I have worked at bars where you serve the same drinks over and over again. There are no specialty cocktail menus and rarely are there any fresh ingredients, except for the standard lemon and lime wedges, cherries and olives. One place I worked at even stocked mint which surprised me when I first started working there. Nothing wrong with that.
Now, I work in a full restaurant/lounge type of place that has a specialty cocktail menu, uses a number of fresh fruit ingredients, has an extensive wine list and where I am encouraged to come up with new cocktail recipes and discover all the different spirits we carry. It's a great learning environment. After being behind the bar here for almost two months now, I am really starting to appreciate the fact that I work at a place that forces me out of my comfort zone and encourages me to learn new things. I feel like I have had a whole new aspect of bartending added to my repertoire. Hello fine dining!
I can honestly say, I am no longer a lazy bartender. My barback doesn't set up and tear down my bar for me. I run and fetch the items I need in a pinch. I stock my own bar. I can even sell you food off the menu and pair it with a really nice glass of wine or refreshing cocktail.
And here I didn't think I could quite possibly expand my horizons as a bartender. Boy I was wrong. No wonder why people are bartenders for a living.