Category Archives: Proper Service

2010 Year in Review

The noted and extremely simple Sazerac.

The noted and extremely simple Sazerac.

It is a very exciting time to be in the bar business. There have been few times since the repeal of Prohibition that cocktails have been at the forefront of the media and the public conscience, backed by bartenders who are now considering themselves Mixologists and Bar Chefs.

Classic cocktails are back in a big way across the country. Led by great cocktail bars from the St. John Alehouse in the east to Clives Classic Lounge in Victoria on the left coast, passionate mixologists are taking a fresh approach to cocktails. It’s not just in the privately owned cocktail bars either. Major chains across the country are adopting new (and old) cocktails, techniques like muddling fresh fruits and herbs, and looking at their beverage programs differently than we did when big juicy martinis were all the rage.

Read More »

Also posted in Mixology, Raising the Bar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Forgotten Classic Cocktails: The Gimlet!

The Gimlet aka Gene Snyder on the rocks.

The Gimlet aka Gene Snyder on the rocks.

Once as popular as the Martini or Manhattan the mighty Gimlet is often overlooked by modern cocktailians. On several occasions I have even received a Martini with cocktail onions(Gibson) upon ordering a Gimlet. Two simple ingredients combine to make something much more. A juniper-citrus aroma, through the sweet and sour mid palate, and a long lingering finish. Hard to beat for a serious slake. If you have the means please make your own lime cordial, it really makes a difference. Recipes follow. Gimlet 1 / Scurvy 0

Read More »

Also posted in Mixology, Raising the Bar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

TFL 4…Flair in the City

photo.jpgThe Toronto Flair League’s biggest competition to date was clearly TFL#3 as competitors from across the world got together to take part in the event.

Following TFL#3, the promoters got together and decided that there needed to be some changes to the direction that the league was headed in.

There have been many different up-start flair bartending groups or organizations over the years, and they all had one thing in common. The FBA, or Flair Bartending Association, which is the governing body in the world of flair bartending. This meant that each organization could host competitions, and could ask the FBA to judge, as they are currently the standard for how all of the major flair bartending competitions are judged.

Read More »

Also posted in Flair Bartending, Raising the Bar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

My, Oh My, Oh Margarita!

Strap on your mixologist shoes, because the Margarita possibilities are endless!

Strap on your mixologist shoes, because the Margarita possibilities are endless!

For some reason, the world’s most popular cocktail has never quite captured Canadian hearts. Instead, the margarita has always had a bit of a seedy reputation, the chief protagonist in stories that start “remember that time in Mexico.” But rather than take up time and space determining our national opposition to the cocktail (bar mix instead of fresh lime, maybe?), let’s play with some variations sure to temp any palate.

The original margarita is as simple as its little brother, the tequila shot (salt, tequila and a slice of lime). Classic recipes call for three parts tequila, one part Cointreau and three parts fresh lime juice, shaken hard over ice. Made like this, the cocktail is deliciously balanced, the strength of the tequila working with the sweetness of orange and sourness of the lime. But while it will no doubt go down in history as one of the classics, we are lucky to be in the middle of a cocktail revolution, allowing us to use everything and anything in our power to concoct new creations.

Read More »

Also posted in Raising the Bar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

The Tipping Point.

Great service is so hard to come by; If only we could all have giant forks.

Great service is so hard to come by; If only we could all have giant forks.

I’m ticked off. You might even say I’m at the tipping point. I’m fed up with receiving mediocre drinks and dealing with snotty bartenders who think they deserve to get tipped for service that is average at best.

Each year, I’m lucky to be able to go some place warm for the first week of January to unwind, recharge and set goals for the year. I usually look for a destination that has a namesake cocktail; last year I got to work with some amazing bartenders in Fiji. While I taught them a little bit about mixology, they schooled me how to make the perfect blue lagoon while standing in the Blue Lagoon in the Yasawa Islands.

Shortly thereafter I travelled to Miami in search of the best made mojito outside of Havana, Cuba. The offering up and down the Miami Beach strip was, quite frankly, pathetic. Most bartenders used mint syrup instead of fresh mint, lime and sugar. They also treated our party like an interruption rather than the reason for their employment. In Miami, I was told to “wait a moment” because the bartender was watching television. Then he not only charged me an 18 per cent automatic gratuity on the single mojito I purchased but had the gall to ask for an additional tip.

Read More »

Also posted in Mixology, Raising the Bar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

The Classics Reborn – Have you noticed a trend forming in the ever-changing world of cocktails?

Yes, being innovative in the cocktail world is great, but you must know how to make a quality classic!

Yes, being innovative in the cocktail world is great, but you must know how to make a quality classic!

The last couple of years have seen countless changes behind the bar. In fact, if you can dream it, you’ll probably see it at a bar near you, where bar chefs continually redefine “thinking outside the box.” Flavoured spirits, infusions, dry ice, flamed garnishes, muddled drinks and the inclusion of herbs and fresh fruit are all testament to this. With the world now at our fingertips, it isn’t hard for your establishment be on the forefront of the next big thing, the next beverage revolution.

Here’s the kicker. Refined versions (or re-defined versions) of old school cocktails are in. Signature drinks such as Cosmopolitans and Sidecars are back with a vengeance, revamped for a taste that is familiar, yet new. Ingredients like pomegranate and green tea, for example, are adding a whole new level of flavour and sophistication to the traditional martini.

Read More »

Also posted in Mixology, Raising the Bar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Reintroducing Quality Cocktails – A Fresh Look at Profits Behind the Bar

Get creative! - Humans have come thus far through evolution, cocktails should be right up there with us!

Get creative! - Humans have come thus far through evolution, cocktails should be right up there with us!

Seventy-five years ago, during the Great Depression, Americans cheered and raised a glass to the repeal of prohibition. Largely viewed as a huge flop — considering that as soon as Congress banned the sale and service of alcohol, consumption rose to record levels (though just how much it increased is tough to judge as “gangsters” didn’t find it prudent to report their sales to the government) — there are lessons to be learned from the “noble experiment,” which can be applied to the recession we face today.

Read More »

Also posted in Mixology, Raising the Bar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

The Bitter Truth – Elevating Customers’ Taste Experiences.

Bitters; the salt and pepper of the drink world!

Bitters; the salt and pepper of the drink world!

I’ve been bartending for longer than I can remember and, to be honest, it was years before I ever opened a bottle of bitters.

While working in Australia I was introduced to bitters as one of the ingredients in the hangover cure trifecta — lemon, lime and bitters. Made with lemonade (or 7Up to those of us who live in North America), lime cordial and the magic “bitters,” this elixir is used to settle the stomach.

Read More »

Also posted in Mixology, Raising the Bar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Raising the Bar at The Four Seasons!

The Cucumber Collins was a hit among the experienced bartenders.

The Cucumber Collins was a hit among the experienced bartenders.


Have you ever been to a bar where you feel like your bartender is just simply slamming a drink on a counter for you, rather than being able to give you an entertaining experience and a hand crafted cocktail?

There are many bartenders who noticeably carry around an attitude in which they really don’t care about the quality of the experience or drink they are serving their client; this needs to change.

The Four Seasons Hotel, located at 21 Avenue Road in the heart of downtown Toronto, has made and been able to maintain a name for themselves based on their admirable customer service and notable cocktail menu.

On Wednesday, August 25, 2010, BartenderOne was asked to create an interactive bartender training program and team building workshop for the bartenders at The Four Seasons Hotel to help, provide in depth bartender training, open the minds of the staff of all the amazing possibilities within their menu, and of course to start to change the way cocktails are being formulated. Kick out the powdered barmix!

Read More »

Also posted in Mixology, Raising the Bar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Can you afford to train… Can you afford not to?

It's like sending someone to race a car who doesn't know how to drive.... Lacking bartender training is absolutely detrimental to a business !

It's like sending someone to race a car who doesn't know how to drive.... Lacking bartender training is absolutely detrimental to a business !

Do you have unexplained losses in liquor or wine, in draught beer… in all three? If your restaurant is like most hospitality concepts, chances are your current bartender training is based on generations of bartenders who may not have been fully trained themselves. Most restaurants open with meticulous operational guidelines for how drinks are prepared, with detailed recipe lists that must be strictly adhered to along with opening and closing procedures, weekly checklists for cleanliness and follow up procedures. Does this sound familiar? Maybe it’s a distant memory…

What usually follows can be likened to a game of broken telephone, where each generation of bartenders passes on an adapted interpretation of your original training message. In the hospitality industry where employee turnover rates are commonly 50%-66% per year, it doesn’t take long before your original training standards are barely recognizable.

Read More »

Also posted in Mixology, Raising the Bar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed