Tag Archives: Bartender Training

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 »

Posted in Flair Bartending, Proper Service, Raising the Bar | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Flair and the City… of Toronto!

Toronto Flair League #2 August 31st 2010

Toronto Flair League #2 August 31st 2010

On the heels of a very successful first competition, the Toronto Flair League was thinking bigger and better for TFL#2 which was to take place on August 31st 2010.

The roster for the second flair bartending competition had grown from 22, to 29 bartenders.  Much like TFL#1, there were two divisions; amateur, and advanced.  Amateur competitors would receive three minutes of show time, and the advanced competitors would perform for four. Both amateur and advanced competitors were required to create two cocktails; one with working flair, and one with exhibition flair.

Read More »

Posted in Flair Bartending, Raising the Bar | Also 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 »

Posted in Proper Service, Raising the Bar | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Mango-Mania: Creating sub-tropic masterpieces!

Stay away from the Winter Blues with summer cocktails!

Stay away from the Winter Blues with summer cocktails!

So I’m pretty sure that by now that we’ve all had the chance to try either a pomegranate martini one of the many other power fruit cocktails taking the country by storm. They’re good, aren’t they? Can I interest you in something even a little more luscious? If so, come with me down mango lane. For good reason, the mango is the second most popular fruit on the planet. With its versatility and availability, it has quickly climbed to the top of every mixologists daily shopping list.

Mangos are a sub-tropical fruit, requiring a long, hot period to properly ripen. More mangos are eaten fresh than any other fruit in the world. And there are over a thousand varieties of mango. The enzymes in mangos are tenderizing, similar to those found in papayas. Mangos help to lower cholesterol, aid digestion, and are rich in both vitamins A and C.

Read More »

Posted in Mixology, Raising the Bar | Also 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 »

Posted in Mixology, Proper Service, Raising the Bar | Also 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 »

Posted in Mixology, Proper Service, Raising the Bar | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Molecular Mixology

There are so many possibilities within Mixology; Incorporating one or more than one element of molecular can blow your guests' minds!

There are so many possibilities within Mixology; Incorporating one or more than one element of molecular can blow your guests' minds!

There has been tremendous buzz in the bartending world for the past few years regarding the term “molecular mixology.” While the name itself can be a little intimidating, molecular mixology can be distilled down into one fundamental distinction. It is simply the process of changing the state of a liquid into a solid or gas.

While the bar and kitchen working together is certainly nothing new, the bar has begun taking cues from culinary predecessors; bartending is making a shift towards incorporating science into cocktails. The latest trend is something being referred to as ‘molecular mixology,’ the bar equivalent of a molecular approach to gastronomy, which has made leaps and bounds in the kitchen in the past few years.

Read More »

Posted in Mixology, Raising the Bar, Uncategorized | Also 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 »

Posted in Mixology, Proper Service, Raising the Bar | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Does Passion Equal Profit?

Mojito

A little bit of love can go a long way. Care about your drinks! Customers WILL notice, and so will the bank.

A little bit of love can go a long way. Care about your drinks! Customers WILL notice, and so will the bank.

Most managers in the hospitality industry have experienced a diamond in the rough. By this I mean a staff member who just seems to get service, and has that “X factor” we can never seem to put our finger on. Having thought about it a fair amount, I have come to the conclusion that the aforementioned “X factor” is passion. And while many of our staff members are admittedly on a career stopover, I believe that you can ignite this passion. How? By simply articulating the “What’s In It for Me?”

Read More »

Posted in Mixology, Raising the Bar | Also 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 »

Posted in Mixology, Proper Service, Raising the Bar | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed