Thursday, December 31, 2009

NYE is for Amateurs

For some, New Years Eve is the biggest and most celebrated party night of the year. For the rest of us, its just another night at work. When I tell customers that I have to work on NYE, they feel sorry for me that I can't be out celebrating. Don't cry for me Argentina. I'd rather work NYE than be out with all of the amateurs. Here's why:

Everything is Expensive and Overpriced

Think about it. You can go out to any club or bar any night of the week. When NYE comes around, suddenly everyone else wants to go out too. Bars, clubs and restaurants capitalize on this notion by increasing the price on everything. Drinks are more expensive. Prix fixe menus are everywhere. Cover charges are outrageous. All of a sudden, it costs three times the normal amount to eat out and booze it up just because it's the last night of the year.

Long Waits

Going out on NYE means waiting. You have to wait in line to get into the party/bar/club/restaurant. You have to wait at the bar for your drinks. You have to wait for your cocktails server to bring you your bottle service. You have to wait for a cab in order to go to the next party or to go home. The extreme wait times are due to the fact that there are a whole lot more people out on the town than on any normal night. Most of the people whom are out probably don't normally go out all year long. Most people have New Years Day off (unless you work in the service or retail industry) so they go out all night long on NYE and then spend the day after NYE at home, in bed, with a hangover. Which leads me to my next point...

With the dramatic increase in people out on the town, you're bound to run into a lot of amateurs. I'm not referring to the newly turned 21-year-old-types either. I'm referring to the people who only go out and drink once a year (NYE). Amateurs don't understand the concept of moderation. They get excited. Hey, it's their big night out of the year. Amateurs arrive early to their parties, take advantage of and often abuse the open/hosted bars and are usually found passed out in a corner somewhere well before the countdown. The amateurs are the best and worse part of NYE for bartenders. Amateurs are great for people watching and provide many entertaining stories to share with the rest of the staff at the end of the shift. Amateurs can also be a headache, not being aware of proper bar etiquette and therefore almost always slow down service at the bar.

Make Money Instead of Spending Money

Let's face it. With the increase of drinkers out on the town, it just makes more financial sense for me as a bartender to work behind the bar on NYE. Sure, I might miss the countdown and a New Years kiss at midnight because I'm in the middle of making drinks for a thirsty customer or pouring countless glasses of champagne just so my customers can have something in their hands for the midnight toast. On the flip side, I'm making money off the amateurs and not spending my money on inflated cover charges and overpriced cocktails.

Besides, the real players know that the really fun parties aren't until New Years Day anyways, long after all the amateurs have gone home and tucked themselves into bed or passed out in a gutter somewhere.

Happy New Year everybody. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Frontier

I am about to start a new chapter in my bartending career. I officially started training to bartend at a gentleman's club this week. I am really excited for the opportunity. I have bartended in all sorts of bar: live music venues, restaurants, nightclubs, lounges, dive bars and even a few private parties, but never a gentleman's club.

I can't imagine working in a bar like this would be much more different than working behind any other bar. Customers and servers order drinks, you make the drinks. You accept payment, ring payment into the register and thank the customers. Show up on time, do your J-O-B and its easy-breezy.

Each bar has its own special lure to get customers through the door like specialty cocktails, live music, amazing food or topless ladies. In the big scheme of things, it doesn't matter what type of bar I work in because wherever I go, I always bring my hardworking, bubbly personality, tasty cocktail making and superb customer skills with me. For this particular experience, it doesn't look like the focus will be so much on my award winning cocktails as it will be on my charming personality and also perhaps the low cut shirt I am wearing during my shift. Hey, its a gentleman's club. You have to play the part.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hot Toddy Weather

It's been really cold over the last couple of weeks here in San Francisco. So it's no surprise that there has been a surge in the amount of Hot Toddy's ordered at the bar lately. Due to the drink's recent rise in popularity at my bar, I give you my own Hot Toddy recipe and a small variation for those feeling a little under the weather:

My Traditional Hot Toddy Recipe:

2 oz bourbon
1 sugar cube
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
hot water

In a heat-resistant glass, add bourbon, sugar cube, lemon juice and fill the remainder of the glass with hot water. Stir until the sugar cube is fully dissolved. Serve with a lemon wedge.

Feeling-Under-The-Weather Hot Toddy Recipe:

2 oz bourbon
1 sugar cube
1/2 fresh lemon juice
a pinch of fresh ginger
hot water

In a heat-resistant glass, add ginger and muddle. Add bourbon, sugar cube, lemon juice and fill the remainder of the glass with hot water. Stir until the sugar cube is fully dissolved. Let the drink sit for a minute or two so that the ginger can infuse itself into the drink. Before serving, be sure to strain out the ginger. Serve with a lemon wedge.

Stay warm!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

You're cutting me off?

It's never easy cutting off a drunk person. No matter how calm or rational you are, the rationality is always wasted on the drunk person you are cutting off.

A woman walked into the bar the other night and made it really obvious that she was loaded. It's one thing to get drunk at an establishment. It's another thing to come into a establishment already tanked and act like a fool. Looking back on the incident, we should have just asked her to leave from the beginning. But in fear of making a poor, customer service call, we gave her the benefit of doubt.

This chick was all over the place. Everywhere she went, she stumbled and slurred. She was loud and obnoxious. She even shattered a martini glass at her table just because it was in front of her. Her friends were so embarrassed by her public drunken stupor. They individually came up to the bar and asked the entire staff to not serve her because she was so drunk. Fortunately, all of us at the bar already had our eyes on her and had established amongst one another that none of us were going to serve her any alcohol.

At one point, the boyfriend of the drunk girl had ordered a beer for himself. Ten minutes later, drunk girl realized that her boyfriend had a drink and she didn't. She then stumbled up to the bar and demanded to know why she didn't have a drink. I watched the commotion unfold. As the bartender calmly explained to drunk girl that she wouldn't be served any alcoholic drinks, the drunk girl's voice got noticeably louder. People sitting at the bar were starting to look over to see what all of the commotion was about.

After the third time of hearing drunk girl asking the calm bartender why she wasn't getting served alcohol, I walked over to where the loud conversation had been taking place. As I stood there next to the bartender, drunk girl demanded to know who was responsible for cutting her off. I quickly piped in, "Me. I'm the one who cut you off. I'm the bar manager and I made the call." Of course she demanded to know why. I told her that she had been stumbling all over the club as soon as she had got there, reminded her of the glass she shattered at her table and told her that even her friends had told us to cut her off. Sounded like a no brainer to me, but then again I was the sober one in the situation.

Of course the answer I gave her was not the answer she wanted to hear. She started screaming a variety of curse words as she backed up from the bar, as if to prepare to lunge at me and my fellow bartender. Just as I was in the process of telling her that now was the time for her to go, security came up from behind and kindly escorted drunk girl to the door.

I think its safe to say that this chick has been permanently 86ed from our bar.

Word to wise:

Bartenders: Always keep your cool. Always remember that drunk people aren't rational. You can't take it personal when someone is blaming you for their drunken actions.

Drinking Public: If a bartender cuts you off, it's probably for the best. Accept the fact, quietly leave the bar, get in a cab and go home. Running your drunk ass mouth and making a fool of yourself in public won't get you served and is the quickest way to the front door.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

December 5th: Celebrate Repeal Day!

December 5, 2009 marks the 76th anniversary of the Eighteenth Amendment being repealed, giving back to Americans their constitutional right to drink. The Eighteenth Amendment is the only amendment to the Constitution that has been repealed thanks to the Twenty-first Amendment, marking the end of Prohibition in 1933.

Learn all about what Repeal Day is exactly and why it should be celebrated

Repeal Day events in San Francisco tonight

So today, be sure to drink and be merry. Celebrate the day in American history when the ban on manufacturing, importing, exporting, buying and selling of alcohol was lifted and that all fellow Americans (whom are at the legal age to drink or older) got back their constitutional right to drink publicly.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fun Holiday Cocktail Recipes

Everyone is gearing up for Thanksgiving this week with making several trips to the grocery store and preparing to spend more time than usual in the kitchen. If you are looking to entertain adult guests this year or are an adult and are looking to entertain/relax your adult host(ess) with some holiday cheer, be sure to check out the following fun holiday cocktail recipes. They are fun, tasty and most importantly, easy to make:

Batida de Pumpkin

Spiced Place Market

Smashing Pumpkin

Cypear Buck

Your adult host(ess) and guests will thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Funny Things I Overheard

You can hear a lot of funny things working behind a bar. If you aren't part of the original conversation, the things you do hear may seem random and not make any sense. I recently overheard a few things that were said where I was part of the conversation and they still sounded funny to me:

"Oh yeah. There's another $400 here!"

"Half the club smells like weed."

"No more shots for you!"

"How do I make a Hot Toddy?"

It seems like the later it gets, the more random and entertaining things people say. I chalk it up to public drunkenness. There's never a dull moment with bartending as long as there is alcohol involved.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Looking for Other Bartending Blogs?

I've become the latest bar blog hero on It's the largest directory of bar related blogs on the world wide web.

Playing the "I'm a bartender" card

It's so incredibly lame when someone comes into my bar, acts like a jackass and then when they complain to me about how I gave them attitude, pull the "I'm a bartender" card. If these people really were bartenders they would:

1-Not act like a jackass in the first place.
2-Order fast and easy drinks to make if the bar looks busy. In other words, not be high maintenance.
3-Be patient.
4-Not approach the bar until they knew exactly what they wanted to order and were ready to order it.
5-Not start off the transaction with "I'm sorry to be a pain in the ass but..."

When people pull this "I'm a bartender..." crap on me, I not only question if they truly are a bartender, but I can't help but wonder, what in the hell kind of bar do they actually work at?

I have worked in a variety of bars during my bartending career and I know better than to pull this kind of crap on anyone else. To me, announcing that you're a bartender in a situation where you are clearly the one who is throwing attitude and acting like a jackass just screams "douche".

Sunday, October 25, 2009

When did bartending get so serious?

San Francisco has a unique cocktail culture. We have a rich history with our bars and cocktails. We are also currently considered to be one of the forefront cities when it comes to cocktail trends (right up there with New York). This is a blessing for some San Francisco bartenders. For others, this can also be a big pain in the ass.

Unfortunately being considered a forefront city for cocktail culture takes a lot of fun out of bartending for some of us bartenders. I admit, when I first started bartending, I didn't know the 25 classic cocktails according to BarSmarts. I didn't know whether to stir or shake my Martinis and Manhattans. There wasn't a bottle of bitters to be found at my bar. The freshest ingredients I used were the lemon and lime wedges cut fresh that night. That was also six years ago and when I lived/worked in San Jose.

Nowadays, I reside and work in San Francisco. I have been formally introduced to the mixology side of bartending and I love it. I am a fact nerd when it comes to things I am interested in. So it makes sense that I am always reading about the history of cocktails and bar culture, learning classic and new techniques for crafting cocktails and experimenting with all things alcohol. The quest for knowledge is fun and IF my customers are interested, I love sharing my knowledge with them as well.

This sort of thing stops being fun when customers feel like bartenders are too big-for-their-britches and shove their knowledge down their throat. People get it. San Francisco is really cool and cutting edge. Sometimes though, people just want what they want because they want it, not because an old cocktail recipe book or celebrity bartender told them so. There is nothing wrong with that. I respect bartenders/mixologists quest for knowledge and their desire to educate the masses, but in the end it really all comes down to the customer and making the customer happy. Some customers don't care about the science behind why there might be a taste difference between a stirred Manhattan and a shaken Manhattan. If that customer wants their Manhattan shaken, then the bartender should shake that Manhattan and serve it to the customer with a smile.

After all it is the customer who is leaving the tip and its the tips that constitute a bartender's living.

Smooth Sailing Saturday

Every now and then you are blessed with a night that is extremely busy, and yet it runs smoothly. People come in at a constant pace instead of all at once. People are nice. People tip well. The drinks for the server tickets are being made as fast as the orders come in. Customers are happy. Tonight, I was blessed with one of these nights.

I only had one guy who threatened to disrupt the smoothness of the night. He ordered his drink and while watching me make the drink he ordered, decided that he wanted to change his order to a whole other drink completely. I laid down the law with him and told him that he had already ordered the one drink and that he couldn't change his mind AFTER I made the drink he ordered, unless he wanted to buy both drinks (which he didn't). I thought he was going to give me a hard time. Maybe it was the smile I flashed him when I told him that I wouldn't take his nonsense that won him over? Whatever it was, he agreed with me, accepted his drink and paid for it.

At the end of the night, the same guy came up to me and asked me if he could have a free shot. My policy on when people ask me for free stuff? If you have to ask, you don't deserve it in the first place. The answer will always be a firm NO. The guy told me that I was strict. I told him that I was the bar manager and that it was my job to be strict. I gave him this whole schpeal about having to lead by example, yadda yadda yadda. I was just happy to tell him no and when he whined about it, I was more than happy to play my manager card. He felt like a schmuck asking the manager for a free drink. Whoopsie!

You play, you pay buddy.

Other than that, tonight was smooth sailing. I wish every busy Saturday night could run as smoothly as tonight did.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My little black book

I was cleaning out my closet today and found my old, little black book from when I first started bartending. It's just a little black address book where I would hand write in drink recipes that I learned to make in my early days of bartending. I would make these drinks on a regular basis at the bars I was working at the time. My little, old book contains recipes for drinks like the AMF, Apple Martini, Cosmo, Fuzzy Navel, Kamikaze, Key Lime shot, Lemon Drop, Melon Ball, Oatmeal Cookie shot, Purple Hooter, Red Headed Slut, Scoobie Snack and the Woo Woo.

Nowadays, my little black book is a bit more evolved. I have graduated to a fancier moleskin. My drink recipes are a bit more extensive and sophisticated, requiring fresh ingredients and muddling.

Going through my book instantly brought me back to when I started working behind a bar. I was so nervous and yet so excited to learn everything I could about bartending. From day one, I always wanted to be a really good bartender. Who knew that the part-time job I had while getting my undergraduate degree from college would actually turn into a full-fledged career?

I still have the same passion for bartending as the very first day I started.

Attitude is a direct reflection of where you work

I strongly believe that the type of bar a person works in greatly effects their attitude at work. When I worked in a nightclub, I had to deal with stupid, ignorant, drunk, young bastards all night long looking for freebies and fights and complaining about the prices of the drinks, the actual alcohol content within the drinks (usually whining about how they couldn't taste the alcohol and wanted more without paying for it) and having to wait to place their drink order.

Since I made the switch to restaurants, my customers don't seem to be as aggressive and cheap as the nightclub crowd was. I typically serve older, more mature crowds now. These people are somewhat knowledgeable about their booze and overall are better tippers. Don't get me wrong. Occasionally, I'll get a customer in a restaurant who makes me fight to keep "bitter bartender" buried deep, down inside. But in the big picture sense, the crowds are like night and day. So is my attitude. I am so much happier working behind the bar in a restaurant.

I work at a bar that features specialty cocktails. We use a lot of fresh ingredients to make those cocktails. The drinks are labors of love and take a bit longer to make than a vodka cran or a rum & coke. I have a lot of pride in the cocktails I make these days because they are creations and actually take some sort of skill to create them. Working as a nightclub bartender, I didn't have much pride in the drinks I made. At the end of the night, it was all about how much I had rang in my register.

I even enjoy talking to my customers nowadays. I enjoy making their labor intensive cocktails. My positive attitude is directly reflected onto my customers. I don't have as many colorful stories to write about on a nightly basis because for the most part, my customers get it.

Every now and then, I will get a customer that either makes me scratch my head or really pisses me off. It's these situations that really inspire me to keep a blog like this in the first place. Since I can't tell those customers how I really feel, I need some place to vent.

When I was an instructor at the bartending school, I would always tell my students that there was a different bar for every type of personality. The challenge was to find the right bar for them. Finding their perfect bar would result in being a happy bartender. Working in a bar that really makes me happy and knocks my socks off may not be the same bar for the next person. That's ok. Everyone is different.

I am just so happy that I have finally found the type of bar that makes me really happy. Even on my shittiest nights behind the bar, I am still happy to be a bartender and satisfied that I am in the right career for me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Don't be afraid to show your appreciation

It's really satisfying and rewarding whenever customers tell me how much they love my drinks. Not that I make shitty drinks on a regular basis, but hearing someone tell me how happy they are with something I've created is an ultimate compliment as a bartender. These sort of things really put a huge smile on my face.

So when you're out drinking and stumble upon a really tasty, beautifully crafted and balanced cocktail that you enjoy and find amazing, don't be afraid to tell your bartender. We love stuff like that.

Friday, October 16, 2009

BarSmarts Wired

In most states, there currently aren't any prerequisites for becoming a bartender. There aren’t any classes required for someone to take that teach about all of the spirits and cocktails that are served behind a bar. There isn’t a license or certification that one must receive before they can work behind a bar. Bartending school is always an option as long as there is a good, reputable school located close by, but it’s not required. Many people who work behind a bar have never had any sort of formal training. Traditionally, bartending has always been a profession where a person learns the hard way, by good old trial and error, in front of their customers.

What is BarSmarts Wired?

A good bouncer is a bartenders best friend

A really good bouncer can either be a bartender’s best friend or their worse nightmare. The bouncer is the “face” of the bar or club because this is the first person a customer sees when they come inside the business. The first interaction between the bouncer and the customer is important. This interaction sets the mood of the night for the customer. A really good bouncer will set a positive vibe for the customer, providing a pleasant introduction to the bar or club. Bartenders benefit from this by having happy customers to serve.

So what makes a really good bouncer?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pay Your Dues

Another option to consider when trying to become a bartender is by paying your dues. Paying your dues simply means that you are hired on with a restaurant, (corporate or not) usually as a server and work your way up within the company to become a bartender. By paying your dues you will learn important skills like what it means to provide good customer service, the ability to multitask and think ahead and have the opportunity to work under pressure. All of these skills are a required necessity as a bartender.

In any restaurant, the bartending position is usually the most sought out position. Just like in any other bar or restaurant (corporate or not), the bar is the social epicenter of the house. A few customers may choose to dine at the bar, but a majority of the bar business comes from making drinks for the customers waiting for their tables and making the drinks servers order for their tables. Bartenders generally make more money out of all of the other restaurant positions because they are able to sell more volume and don’t have to travel far in order to take care of their customers like servers do.

Corporate restaurants primarily promote their bartenders from within.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Know Someone on the Inside

Part 2 in the "How to Become A Bartender" series: Know Someone on the Inside

Once a person truly understands all of the different responsibilities of being a bartender and decides that they have what it takes for the profession, then its time to consider the different options of becoming a bartender. One way is to know someone on the inside who will give you a chance.

Sometimes, it’s not about what you know, but whom you know. Networking is an important element in any career, no matter what the profession might be. Read More...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

How to Become a Bartender

Part 1 in the "How to Become A Bartender" series: The Responsibilities

One question customers and friends of friends seem to ask me over and over again is “If I wanted to be a bartender, how would I even start?” There are many different ways one can become a bartender, but the first question people should ask himself or herself before making the decision to become a bartender is, “Am I the type of person that is cut out to be a bartender?” From the customer’s side of the bar, bartending might look like it’s nothing but making tasty cocktails and flirting with the clientele. What many people don’t realize is that with bartending comes a lot of responsibility. Read More...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Complaining about a free drink is poor bar etiquette

Receiving a comp drink, free drink or a drink on the house is a luxury, not a right. It’s annoying to bartenders everywhere when someone complains about their free drink. It’s understandable if the quality of the drink is not up to par or maybe the glass of wine that was ordered didn’t taste right, but complaining about the amount of alcohol in (or not in) the drink is poor bar etiquette.

For example...Read More

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Featured on SF Gate today, i live here: SF

Remember back in May of this year when I was featured on the i live here: SF blog? Well, my friend Julie who runs the project got a really nice feature on SF Gate today talking about her project. It's nice to see friends getting some healthy media coverage. I really love her project and its obvious that other people do too.

Check out the SF Gate feature: Julie Michelle develops photo hobby into career.

So Stevie Wonder Walks Into The Bar...

This past Saturday night was easily the most amazing night of my bartending career.

Saturday night was a crazy night at the bar I was working at. First of all, the musical guests, Jazz Mafia were off the hook. The place was packed. People were drinking. It seemed like all of us behind the bar had been going full speed ahead as soon as we opened up for business that night. Around 1 in the morning, Stevie Wonder walked into our bar. Stevie Wonder!! Mr Wonderful himself!!! No one knows why or how he found out about our place. It was completely unplanned. No one knew he was coming. I'm just going to chalk it up as being magical.

Stevie sat down at one of our tables. The owner had me bring him a bottle of champagne. I was so nervous, I was shaking. I mean, how many times do you get the chance to open a bottle a champagne for Stevie Wonder and serve him personally? Maybe once in a lifetime? So I wanted to make sure I didn't make an ass of myself. I played it cool and kept calm.

Apparently Stevie was feeling the Jazz Mafia kids to the point of having him make his way towards the stage. Once he started heading for the stage, the whole place went into an uproar. How was it that our little club was being graced with having musical royalty such as Stevie Wonder perform on our stage? Again, chalking it up to being magical.

Once Stevie got up onstage, he gave the band props. I can't imagine what THEY must have been feeling. I think they pulled it off really well. They were playing amazing and made jamming with Stevie Wonder look like it was no sweat. Stevie sang two songs: "All Day Sucker" and "I Can't Help It". Everyone in the house was on their feet, cheering and besides themselves.

I couldn't help but have tears in my eyes. To hear that man sing live is really earth moving. I have always told myself that Stevie Wonder is one of those artists who I had to hear perform live before I die. On Saturday night, my quest was filled.

Check out the video footage here of the magical, unplanned, unannounced and impromptu performance on Saturday night by the one and only Stevie Wonder.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Guy From Belgium

I had a guy come into the bar recently. Each round of drinks that he ordered, he paid the exact amount for the drinks, stiffing me on the tip each time. On the second round, he even paid me using real change, I'm talking about quarters here folks. After I noticed the constant absence of a tip on each of the rounds of drinks this fella ordered and remembering that he had a slight accent in his tone, I asked him which country he was from. He said Belgium. Hmmmm....

So I did a little research of my own on the tipping practices in Belgium. Turns out:

Tipping in Belgium is not obligatory as service charge is always included. However, people often give tips as a sign of appreciation. Usually, this is done by paying in bank notes with a total value slightly higher than the price of the meal and telling the waiter/waitress that they can keep the change.

So either he thought that my tip was included in the price of his drink or he knew better and just was being a douche. I would like to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, but he did it all night long, paid with change and was only ordering our drink special, minus the ice. Trust me, he got more mixer than alcohol.

Red flags all around.

WhiskyFest Coming to SF in October

Attention all whisky lovers: America’s largest whisky celebration is coming to San Francisco. The 3rd annual WhiskyFest will be in San Francisco on October 16th at the San Francisco Marriott, from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. This event will be featuring over 70 pouring booths, allowing attendees to sample over 200 whiskies (single malt and blended scotch, Irish, bourbon, Tennessee, Japanese, Welsh and Canadian), while being able to personally chat with master distillers and distillery representatives. In addition to all the various whiskies, there will be a few vodkas and rums available for tasting as well.

The focus of WhiskyFest is education.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The BaCu Sour @ Coda

The BaCu Sour is a modified version of a drink I concocted sometime last year for a bartender competition. The BaCu Sour is a vodka-based drink that consists of vodka (I prefer to use Stoli), St. Germain, a touch of simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, basil and cucumber with a splash of Hendrick’s gin, served up in a chilled martini glass. The garnish is simply a fresh basil leaf floating on top.

The name of the cocktail gives the drinker clues as to what the cocktail entails. “Ba” stands for basil. “Cu” stands for cucumber. “Sour” is referencing the type of mixed drink family the cocktail belongs to. Read More...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Timing is Everything

When it comes to finding a bartender job, timing is everything. There are many different factors as to why bars might not call back a bartender applicant for an interview. It’s important to not to take these things personal and to not let it negatively affect your bartender job search.

Let’s say that you hear about a new bar, restaurant or club opening in your neighborhood and decide to stop by to drop off your resume. You speak with the hiring manager briefly and you get a really good feeling from the conversation. You’re sure they’re going to call you and offer you a position behind the bar, but they never call. Or what about after doing some specific bar research, you stumble upon a bar that you know you’d be a perfect fit for? You have all the right experience and the bartender you’ve been chatting with tells you that they think there might be some shifts opening up. You come back to the bar to speak to the hiring manager and give them your resume only for them to tell you that they aren’t hiring, but they’ll keep your resume on file. Read More...

Friday, September 18, 2009

What is St~Germain?

What does St~Germain, Domaine De Canton and Chambord all have in common? Besides the fact that they are all considered liqueurs in the cocktail world, all three of these products original founders are all related to each other. St~Germain is a product of Cooper Spirits International, which is run by Robert Cooper. Domaine De Canton (a ginger flavored liqueur) is a product of Robert Cooper’s brother, John Cooper. A few years back, Robert and John Cooper’s father bought Chambord (a black raspberry liqueur), brought it to the United States from France, made it popular here in the states and then sold the company.

All three of these liqueurs are equally delicious and a great addition to any cocktail. My favorite of the three liqueurs is St~Germain. Read More...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yelp: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Ever since I first began my career as a bartender, I have always had one major goal in mind: to always make the customer happy. Working in the service industry, I am in the business of customer service, of pleasing the customer. Sometimes, customers are really easy to please. Other times, customers can be high maintenance and demanding. If a customer is well taken care of, then there is a greater chance that the customer will come back in the future and tell their friends about their experience.

Before 2004, most people would hear of new restaurants and bars based on word of mouth. If a customer had a great or terrible experience at a restaurant or bar, that customer would tell their friends. Yelp has since brought this “word of mouth” service online in the form of Read More...

Monday, September 14, 2009

How to Keep Your Cool Working Behind the Bar

Every bartender has had one of those nights. You’re four-deep at the bar. The bottles in your well are running low and you have no idea where your barback is. The server tickets keep spitting out from the printer. Your clean glassware supply is quickly running out. You’re almost out of change in your cash drawer. Your bladder feels like it’s going to explode and of course the next customer you approach to take their order says, “Um, I don’t know what I want. What’s good?” Aaaahhhhh!!

These are nights all bartenders have nightmares about.

I can always spot an amateur bartender because on nights like these, they either freeze or have a terrible attitude towards their customers and fellow bar staff. These are stressed and it shows. So how do great bartenders keep their cool behind the bar on the really busy nights? Read More...

The Corn Refiners Association Responds?

I received an interesting response via email today from the president of the Corn Refiners Association in regards to the bar review I wrote on Rickhouse a couple of days ago. Here is the email I received:

Dear Ms. Neves:

We read the September 12 article “Bar review: Rickhouse,” with interest. There has been a lot of confusion about high fructose corn syrup. We would like to provide you with science-based information on this safe sweetener and be a reference for you for future articles.

High fructose corn syrup contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients or color additives and meets the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) requirements for use of the term “natural.” The FDA stated, referring to a process commonly used by the high fructose corn syrup industry, that it “would not object to the use of the term ‘natural’ on a product containing HFCS produced by [that] manufacturing process....” (June, GA. (Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition) Letter to: Erickson, A. (Corn Refiners Association) July 3, 2008.) Please see the attached letter from the FDA dated July 3, 2008.

According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), “high fructose corn syrup…is nutritionally equivalent to sucrose. Once absorbed into the blood stream, the two sweeteners are indistinguishable.” The ADA also noted that “Both sweeteners contain the same number of calories (4 per gram) and consist of about equal parts of fructose and glucose.” (Hot Topics, “High Fructose Corn Syrup.” December 2008.)

To read the latest research and learn more about high fructose corn syrup, please visit Please feel free to contact me if you would like additional information about the products made from corn.

Thank you for your consideration

I'm not quite sure what to think of this. Why are the corn people contacting me, defending high fructose corn syrup? Especially when the only mention I made in my review was quoted directly from Rickhouse's menu, which states:

In preparation of cocktails we use fresh juices, natural sugars and local produce. We do not use high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. A city with such a wonderful cocktail history and imbibing culture as San Francisco is entitled to great libations. That is what we are prepared to offer.

At the very least, I am very flattered that there are higher ups from organizations such as the Corn Refiners Association reading my articles.

Original Small Batch Bourbon Collection

I have a customer who every time he comes in, always requests the same drink: Knob Creek, neat. On one of the nights he came in, we had a chance to talk “shop” about whiskey and bourbon and the different types within the category. Surprisingly, I armed my regular customer with so much newfound information on his drink of choice. Now each time he comes into the bar and I have time, we pick a certain bourbon or whiskey off the shelf and talk about it. This is part of how I get inspired to write many of the articles I post here on A majority of my inspiration comes from my customers, which is why I dedicate this article to my friend and regular, Mike, the Knob Creek drinker.

According to Fred Noe, 7th Generation Beam Distiller, “Tasting one of these small batch bourbons is like tasting the past. This is the way bourbon used to be. The way it was meant to be.” In 1988, Booker Noe, the grandson of Jim Beam decided to bring back the tradition of small batch bourbon making that had been popular before Prohibition. Before Prohibition, this type of bourbon was only made in small quantities, was more potent, more aged and more varied. The result has been the Small Batch Bourbon Collection from Beam Global. Beam Global features four different bourbons in their Small Batch Bourbon Collection: Bookers, Basil Hayden, Bakers and Knob Creek. Read More...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bar Review: Rickhouse

When it comes to San Francisco’s bar and cocktail culture, there is a little something for everyone. You have the dive bars where ordering a shot and a beer is the standard. You have your fancy nightclubs selling bottles of spirits and bringing it directly to the table with ice, glass and mixers in the form of bottle service. You have live music venues that serve everything in a plastic cup. You have restaurants featuring specialty cocktails that pair nicely with the food entrees on the menu. And then there are places like one of San Francisco’s newest members to the bar scene, Rickhouse, located at 246 Kearny Street (at Sutter). If any of you in San Francisco remember the old Ginger’s Trois bar, this is the space.

From the company who brought to San Francisco, Bourbon & Branch now brings to the city, Rickhouse, minus the required password for entrance and the house rules. Rickhouse features an impeccable selection of spirits, local beers and California wines. There are three pages consisting of 96 different brands of American whiskey and rye whiskey alone! Read More...


I remember when I first started bartending. I thought that this would only be a job to support me while I went to school to get my college degree. Little did I know, six years later,. that bartendng would actually be my chosen profession. So I guess that make me a "lifer"

The thing about "lifers" in any given profession is that we give a shit. This is our career. It isn't just a job to get us by. We take pride in what we do because we love doing it. The cool thing about bartending is if you stop loving the bar you are working at, there are many more bars to chose from. When it comes to bars, there are so many to chose from. So many different types. There is a little something for everyone.

I'm pretty happy that bartending found me by accident. I would have never guessed that I would grow up to be a bartender. I never thought in a million years that I would ever love bartending as much as I do. I take pride in making sure that all my customers are happy. I care about making sure that every one of the cocktails I make is made to the customer's satisfaction. I give a shit.

I'm a lifer and that's nothing to be ashamed of.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Beer Goggles Theory Has Been Debunked

The idea of having beer goggles just might not fly anymore. According to a recent study done by the University of Leicester, located in England, the infamous “beer goggles” theory has been proven to be only a myth. In the study, 240 men and woman in bars and cafes were asked to look at pictures of females and asked to comment on their age and attractiveness. The study included 120 sober men and women. The other 120 men and women had consumed alcoholic beverages. The pictures used were of ten different women, all of the age of 17. Some of the pictures had been digitally altered to show the same woman, aged at 13 years old and also at 20 years old and showed the women wearing makeup and without makeup.

The overall results of the study found that

Thursday, September 10, 2009

George Dickel, the Other Tennessee Whiskey

In keeping with celebrating Bourbon Month for the entire month of September, here's to dropping more bourbon knowledge:

Currently, there are only two Tennessee whiskeys on the market: Jack Daniels and George Dickel. Most people have heard of the famous Old Number 7, but not too many people are familiar with George Dickel. This is the story of the other Tennessee whiskey.

In 1870, George A. Dickel set up shop in Cascade Hollow, Tennessee, which is located half way between Nashville and Chattanooga. George declared his whiskey to be the smoothest tasting whiskey available for public consumption. He believed that his whiskey was as smooth as the finest scotch so he dropped the “e” from whiskey in order to keep with the scotch whisky tradition. Read More...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Times Are Tough, But

I know that times are tough, but it is never okay or acceptable for a person to bring their own bottle of booze inside a club, bar or restaurant (unless you bring in an unopened bottle of wine, then you pay a corkage fee). Bringing in a flask filled with "name your favorite spirit here" is a major faux pas. Its trashy and its illegal. ABC could swipe a business's liquor license away if they caught outside booze being brought in and consumed on the premises. No liquor license means no liquor sales which ultimately result in loss of business and loss of jobs for the business's staff.

Tonight while cleaning up, I stumbled upon an empty bottle of tequila that was brought in and drunk by one of the night's customers then discarded underneath a table. I mean if you truly can't afford to go out and have to stoop to the ultimate low of bringing your own booze to a bar, you should really reconsider going out in the first place.

Now it just makes me wonder about all of those people who only ask for non-alcoholic mixes like soda and juice. Are they really not drinking or are they smuggling in their own liquor?

Classic Cocktail: Mint Julep

Bartenders in San Francisco gripe every time there is a warm day here in the city (there are only a handful a year) because they know customers are more than likely to ask for a Mojito. Mojitos are a classic, labor intensive cocktail that requires basic ingredients such as rum, mint, lime juice and soda water and a little elbow grease in the form of muddling the mint within in the drink. In the whole grand scheme of things, the drink isn’t that big of a chore to make. Sure they take a bit longer to make than a mixed drink that only calls for a base spirit and a mixer, but Mojitos are tasty and refreshing, even more so on warm summer days.

The Mint Julep belongs to the same mixed drink family as a Mojito, which is considered the “Smash” mixed drink family. Being a Smash drink just means that fresh mint and other ingredients are muddled together in preparation for the drink.

The Mint Julep is the Mojito’s cousin from the South. Read More...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Wine On Tap

Customers come in every single night, see the taps behind the bar and naturally ask, “What kind of beers do you have on tap?” I show them my list of bottled beers and tell them that we don’t have beer on tap. It’s wine. I always love the look of shock and confusion my customers give me in response to my answer. My answer always sparks a conversation on our Wine On Tap program.

Wine On Tap is a new and innovative way of serving wine by the glass here in the Bay Area. There are currently only a handful of bars/restaurants with a Wine On Tap program in the area. The bar/restaurant I bartend at and am the bar manager of, Coda (1710 Mission Street, San Francisco) is one of them. Read More...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

How Much Is...?

It's always a red flag to me when a customer approaches the bar and says something along the lines of, "How much is....?" or "What can I get for...?" even after I put a drink menu down in front of them that lists the prices of all of our drinks. Whenever I hear a customer ask me something like this, I know I am not getting tipped. Especially when I watch them dig in their pocket, pull out a few crumpled bills and then mouth to me "sorry" when there isn't enough for a tip. It's obvious that people like this have never worked in the service industry and therefore don't realize that those of us who do, survive off of our tips.

The type of bar you are in will give you an indication on how much your drinks will cost. Look around your drinking environment. A dive bar is obviously going to have cheaper prices than say a a shee-shee nightclub or a bar in a fine dining restaurant. Also, take a look at the bar's specialty cocktail menu. Expect to pay higher prices for a cocktail that is labor intensive and calls for a lot of fresh ingredients.

People who go out drinking in San Francisco generally have a good idea knowing how much a cocktail or beer will cost them and therefore don't require their bartender to run through the bar's entire inventory and price list. Drinks and spirits are divided into categories: well, call, premium and super premium. If you are a babe on a budget, go for the wells because the wells will be your cheapest bet in any bar. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with wanting to know how much something is, especially if it's something off the back bar (back bar=higher prices) or if it's something you don't normally order. Ask to see a drink menu or ask what the price is on the specific drink you are ordering. Just don't expect your bartender to rattle off all of the prices for everything behind the bar.

For the people who start off the transaction with their bartender, "quizzing" them on prices, stiff their bartender on the tip and then have the nerve to bitch about their drink not having enough alcohol, your best bet is to take your few crumpled bills to the corner store and buy yourself a six-pack.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Not Every Brand of Tequila Has its Own Distillery

There are over 900 tequila brands currently out on the market, yet there are only 100+ tequila distilleries. This means that many brands of tequila actually end up coming from the same distillery.

Did you know that every one hundred percent agave tequila must have a NOM number on the bottle? What is a NOM and how do you know the product in the bottle is indeed tequila? How do you know where the tequila inside the bottle comes from? Read More...

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Virtual Spirit Brand Experience

So what if you are a new bartender who has a charming personality, but doesn’t know a whole lot about the different brands and the products that are carried behind the bar? What if you are an experienced bartender who is just looking for a little history on the different brands stocked behind the bar? Or what if you aren’t a bartender, but are looking for information about the many different liquor products out there? The Virtual Spirit Brand Experience is just for you.

The Virtual Spirit is a free online source, sponsored by Beam Global and is open to anyone over the age of 21 who seeks the knowledge. The Virtual Spirit website is organized into five parts: Spirits Certification Program, On-Site Kiosk Program, Download Library, MIXXIT and the Virtual Mixology Guide. Read More...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pimm's No. 1 Cup

Do you know what Pimm's No. 1 Cup is? Has your boss or a customer ever asked you, and you didn't know? My boss asked me the other day about this product and I had no clue. This interaction was the inspiration behind this particular article. Hey, you learn something new everyday. After reading my article, you wont ever have to say "I don't know" when someone asks you what Pimm's No. 1 Cup is.

Click here to find out what Pimm's No. 1 is

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Buena Vista @ Coda

Three weeks ago, Coda opened up its doors to San Francisco. Coda is a brand new jazz supper club and lounge that serves dinner and live jazz music, six nights a week, here in the Mission district, in San Francisco.

I am not only a bartender at Coda, but also the bar manager. I designed a very special cocktail menu for Coda featuring seven different drinks ranging from classic cocktails to creative specialties. In my new “Specialty Cocktail Feature”, I am going to feature each one of the specialty cocktails that can be found on the menu at Coda. I will also be featuring specialty cocktails from other various bars/restaurants here in San Francisco as well, in the near future.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Tequila Regulatory Council

According to Mexican laws and regulations, tequila is a distilled spirit that may only be produced in Mexico.

The Tequila Regulatory Council (AKA: Consejo Regulador del Tequila) was created in 1993. It is a nonprofit organization that consists of the Mexican government, bottling plants, distributors, tequila producers and blue agave growers. The purpose of the CRT is to ensure the integrity and authenticity of tequila to customers.

The CRT works closely with the Mexican government to make sure that when a customer purchases tequila, that they are indeed receiving the real thing.


Why Some Bottles of Tequila Have Worms Inside

I remember when my parents took a trip to Mexico together, while I was in high school. One of the souvenirs they brought back for me was a small bottle of tequila with a worm inside of it. I was intrigued. There was a worm inside a small bottle of tequila, but why? My mom believed that if you ate the worm, it would make you hallucinate. Sadly, I never did get a chance to see if the worm caused hallucinations. I was only in high school when I received the gift. By the time I was of a legal age to drink, my small souvenir bottle of tequila with a worm in it had long been lost. So what is the deal with tequila that has a worm inside the bottle? Read More...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Aperol? Yes, I Have It.

Last night, a group of three customers came up to the bar and each one of them had a question:

Guy #1: "May I have a glass of water?"
Bartender: "Yes, of course."

Guy #2: "May I see your beer list?"
Bartender: "Yes, of course."

Girl: "This is going to sound like a weird question, but do you have Aperol?"
Bartender: "Actually, yes I do."

I hadn't seen a smile that big, all night long. I told her that I had one bottle, but that I would have to retrieve it from my liquor room. One of the guys in the group was shocked that I had a liquor room. I asked him why he was so shocked. He thought that the storage behind the bar was enough room to keep everything. Hahaha. I told him that the liquor room is where I kept all my back-up soldiers.

The only reason why I knew about the existence of the one bottle of Aperol in the liquor room is because 1-I'm the bar manager of the place. I know my liquor room inside and out. I even know where all of the obscure, one-off random bottles of liqueurs are. And 2-I actually know what Aperol is and instantly pictured the bottle in my head.

Needless to say, once I pulled the bottle of Aperol out, the girl in the group was beyond excited. She had a special cocktail concoction that she had me create for her: Aperol, soda water, topped with persecco, garnished with a lemon twist. Even one of the guys ordered the same drink so I got to use up the rest of the bottle.

I really love making my customers happy. It's an awesome feeling. I informed them that they used the last of my bottle. They seemed okay with that. I hope they come back and try some of our specialty cocktails.

And for those of who you who have no clue as to what Aperol is exactly, I am going to let Wikipedia save the day for you:

"Aperol is an Italian aperitif originally produced by the Barbieri company, based in Padua. Aperol is now produced by the Campari company. While Aperol was originally created in 1919, it did not become successful until after World War II. Its ingredients are, among others, bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona.

Although it looks, tastes, and smells much like Campari, Aperol has an alcohol content of 11% - a little less than half of Campari. Campari is also slightly darker in color.

Aperol is the main ingredient in Spritz."


Designated Drivers

Scandinavia is responsible for introducing IKEA to the United States and the idea of having designated drivers.

So what is a designated driver?

A designated driver is a person who decides to remain sober, abstaining from alcohol in order to drive their friends home safely after a night of alcoholic consumption. Designated drivers are a safe alternative to driving under the influence. Besides the obvious safety reasons, being a designated driver also helps the environment by reducing the total amount of miles driven. The less miles driven means a savings on gas the emissions released into the air. Read More...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Virgin Drinks

“Hey Bartender, what if I don’t drink alcohol?“

Occasionally, I get a customer who throws me a curveball behind the bar. They don’t drink alcohol. These customers include minors (yes, I work in a restaurant), designated drivers, pregnant ladies, people on an important business meeting, non-drinkers or whatever the case may be. A really good bartender will be quick on their feet and be able to build a delicious and creative non-alcoholic drink for their non-drinking customer, something other than boring old soda or plain juice.

Sure there are the popular staples: the Virgin Marys (a Bloody Mary minus the vodka), the Shirley Temples (grenadine and either ginger ale or Sprite) and the Rob Roys (grenadine and Coke), but it’s nice to step out of the ordinary box and make up something really special for customers who don’t and/or can’t consume alcohol. Remember, these customers tip too. Read More...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Complaint? Criticism?

I know that not all of the customers that come in and saddle up at the bar are always going to be 100% satisfied with their drinks all the time. When a customer has a valid complaint and really isn't happy with their drink, I am always more than willing to make them something else, in hopes of having them satisfied. Working in the customer service industry like I do, I know that there will always be a few people, that no matter what you do, nothing is ever right in their eyes. You can make them a new drink until the cows come home and they will never be happy.

Case in point. I had a customer not too long ago who flagged me down and wanted to discuss his drink. Once he started chatting with me, I realized that it wasn't his own drink that he wanted to discuss, but his girlfriends. Already I was confused. If she didn't like her drink, why wasn't I having the discussion with her and not her boyfriend?

I asked him what the problem with the drink was. He said it was too sweet. I asked him if she would like me to make her another drink. He said no, granted the whole time I was talking about this chick's drink with her boyfriend, she wasn't making any eye contact with me whatsoever, making it very difficult for me to find out what the problem was in the first place.

After I extended the offer to make a new drink and was rejected, the guy continued to talk in circles asking if the drink was supposed to be sweet and what it was suppose to taste like. Also, while the guy was having this conversation with me, his whole upper half of his body was leaning over the bar and he was trying to grab my hand and hold it, while trying to emphasize what he was/wasn't saying. On a side note: I find customers that try to grab or touch me, creepy.

This is when I realized that they didn't want another drink, they just wanted to bitch and criticize the drink. I started to get a little frustrated because all I wanted to do was make her happy and get this guy out of my face. Anytime I offered to make another drink, a different type of drink at that, he kept telling me how much she didn't like the drink, leaving me really no option in how I could possibly make the whole situation better for them.

The dude sensed my frustration and took it as if I was taking the criticism of the drink personal. I wanted to tell him that I was actually getting fed up because it was obvious that there was nothing I could do for them that would make them happy and now they were taking me away from customers who were coming up to the bar, wanting to buy drinks.

I let the guy go in a couple more circles with his criticism before I walked away and poured them both a glass of ice water and set the glasses in front of them as a peace offering. Then I never went up to them again for the rest of the night.

Oh yeah and did I mention that when the girl originally paid for her and her boyfriend's drink, she stiffed me?

Patrón Part 4: Product Portfolio

When customers think of Patrón, they seem to be the most familiar with Patrón Silver and don’t realize that other types of tequila exist within the product line. Silver tequila isn’t aged. It is generally bottled right after the distillation process. This type of tequila is clear and for the most part, doesn’t have pronounced taste. This is why using blanco tequila is idea for mixed drinks such as Margaritas and Tequila Sunrises. It’s also why Patron Silver is so popular in the company’s product line.

In Patrón’s product portfolio, there are seven different tequila products, including Patrón Silver. Each of these products has their own unique color, aroma, taste and finish. Read More...

*This article includes a slideshow with pictures provided courtesy of The Patrón Spirits Company

Thursday, August 20, 2009

100th Article Anniversary!

Tomorrow I will post my 100th article on Where does the time go? I only started back in April...

National Bartender Examiner

Patrón Part 3: Bottles and Logo

The Bottle

Every Patrón bottle is unique and handmade. There are no two bottles alike. The bottles themselves are created from recycled glass. It is reported that about twenty percent of the bottles that are made are pulled off the production line due to imperfections. Patrón’s famous “Simply Perfect” tagline doesn’t just represent the quality of their tequila product and the ingredients they use to create the product, but also the container in which their product is shipped and sold in....

The Logo

Recently, I had the privileged of seeing and listening to, in person, Patrón's master distiller, Francisco Alcaraz discuss the Patrón product portfolio, the company's history and the process for how Patrón is made. This four-part series reflects the abundance of information I learned at that event.

One of the questions that were asked of Alcaraz was about the significance of Patrón’s bumblebee logo and how it came to be...Read More

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Patrón Part 2: Making Patrón

How does the number one ultra premium tequila brand in the world make its popular product? In six steps:



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Patrón Part 1: History

I am starting a four part series on my page called "Sixty Hands Equal One Bottle of Patrón." The first part is all about Patrón's history.

I understand that there are many other premium tequila brands out there besides Patrón. So why am I writing a four-part series on the brand? The reason is because Patrón is the number one selling premium tequila brand in the world. When most of my customers call for a tequila, they call for Patrón. Part of my job as a bartender is to inform my customers about all the brands I stock behind my bar. I can do my best to point my customers into the direction of a premium tequila (besides Patrón) that tastes good and might be in a lower price range, but in the end, I just have to give the customer exactly what they want.

Recently, I had the privileged of seeing and listening to, in person, Patrón's master distiller, Francisco Alcaraz discuss the Patrón product portfolio, the company's history and the process for how Patrón is made. This series will reflect the abundance of information I learned at that event.

Did you know that in order to make one bottle of Patrón, it takes 60 hands to do so?

Sixty hands equal one bottle of Patron Pt. I: History

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tequila How Tos and Fun Facts

In the spirit of celebrating Tequila Month all August, on, I present to you my most recent "Best Of" article featuring Tequila How Tos and Fun Facts:

When most people think of tequila, they remember that fun and crazy night, followed by praying to the Porcelain God the next morning. From that point on, these people vowed to never give tequila a second chance. For the entire month of August, is celebrating the spirit from Mexico by featuring many different articles about tequila. These articles include topics such as favorite drink recipes (like the uber popular margarita and all of it’s glorious variations), favorite food and marinate recipes (perfect for that BBQ to celebrate the remaining days of summer), where to find amazing tequila drinks and information on various tequila brands.

I have contributed a few tequila articles of my own this month, but wanted to pay homage to some of my favorite tequila articles that have been written by other Examiners on Some of us have a favorite tequila recipe or a favorite place to get tequila drinks in our hometown, but what if you aren’t very familiar with tequila itself? What if you are one of those people who have suffered a bad experience with tequila and have decided to never try the spirit again? This collection of “best of” articles featuring tequila how tos and fun facts is just for you. Who knows, maybe after reading these informational articles, you might be tempted to give tequila another chance. READ MORE...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Clearly Confused

As a bartender, I understand that there are people out there who drink and have no clue as to what it is that they are really drinking. Some people drink what their friends drink. Some people choose their beverages by what's being rapped or sung about on MTV. Some people will just have "whatever they're having."

I had a customer come in one time and didn't know what she wanted to drink. That's cool because that's what I, as a bartender, am behind the bar for. I am here to help my customers decide on something good to drink, for them. In order to get to that point, I have to ask a couple of questions. So this lady made it known that she wanted a scotch and asked me what kind of scotches I had. We had a few in-stock, some from three different geographic regions in Scotland. I asked her which region from Scotland she wanted her scotch to come from. She looked at me baffled. I don't think she knew anything about scotch. That was okay. We moved forward, or so I thought.

She asked me what kind of whiskey I had. I asked her if she wanted a Kentucky bourbon or a Tennessee whiskey because we have a number of different types of whiskeys in stock. Before I started rattling off my entire inventory of Bourbon, I needed to know which kind she preferred. Again, I got the deer caught in headlights look. Oh man.

Then she asked me what kind of Irish Whiskey I had. I told her two: Jamesons and Tullamore Dew. She ended up ordering a water and sipping off of her friend's Jameson on the rocks.

Sometimes, customers are clearly confused and there is nothing the bartender can do about it. I tried.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Southern Comfort is NOT Whiskey-Based

Southern Comfort. A product of the South. Created by a bartender in New Orleans in 1874. This product is used in popular recipes such as an Alabama Slammer, Slow Comfortable Screw, Scarlett O’Hara, and popular amongst the college-aged crowd, SoCo Lime shots.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that Southern Comfort is considered a liqueur. Southern Comfort doesn’t have a whiskey base, like most people believe there to be. Southern Comfort is a fruit, spiced, whiskey flavored liqueur. It’s a secret blend of flavors that include peach, orange, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon. Read more HERE about SoCo's history and fun facts.