Author Archives: BartenderOne

From Dolphins to Bartenders… How did I get here?!?

After a career as a Director of Training for marine mammals and over 4,000 live shows under my belt, I now find myself as the Director of Training at Canada’s Premier Bartender Training School!  But now instead of a team of dolphins, sea lions, and seals, I work with a team of some of the most incredible instructors I’ve ever met! They spend their time helping others learn to bartend. I spend my time supporting them and the students who are in their classes. Who could have predicted that I would wind up doing this? Certainly not me! The bartender training we provide is the best anyone has to offer and I constantly find myself smiling just because I get to be part of this!

Melanie with Sandi and TeriMel, Bean and T.C.

In 1998, which seems like a lifetime ago, I had the pleasure of working with Gavin MacMillan for the first time.¬† We both worked at Canada‚Äôs Wonderland and we were both ball-busting managers in our respective areas. Little did we know that several years later, Gavin would create a bartending school in Toronto called BartenderOne. ¬†After my career training animals, I went on to be an operations and general manager and then to fundraising and special events management. When the time came and there was an opportunity for me to join this incredible company as the Director of Corporate Events and Training… there was no thought in my mind other than YES! ¬†I didn‚Äôt know exactly what I was in for but I knew it was gonna be nothing less than fabulous!

For me, working at BartenderOne is exhausting, in all the right ways.  There is so much going on behind the scenes at any given time and I don’t think anyone would know it if they weren’t told. From planning upcoming classes and workshops, to answering calls with questions and taking registrations, to marking and posting test results, to posting classes online and preparing for class… it never stops. Registrations come in 24 hours a day, the phones ring at all hours and the emails never stop. The instructors are in and out of the office, running errands and commuting between our various training locations. And beyond the time they spend as instructors providing bartender training, they also find time to do special events and to work shifts at their respective bars! At the end of my day I don’t get to work in a bar but instead I go home to my job as a mom and my little bartenders-in-training who are 3 & 6 years old. They practice their flair bartending in the bathtub and as soon as they’re old enough, they’ll be in class and getting ready for flair bartending competitions!

There is never a dull moment here since we also do workshops, private events, corporate events and teambuilding events on top of the bartender training that goes on.  We have instructors traveling around the country doing flair training right now. We have instructors shuttling back and forth from Ottawa to open our newest location there.  Never mind all of the events we are doing!  So even though it may seem like we are just doing this bartending school Toronto type stuff… there is so much more to BartenderOne! I love what I get to be a part of here and the amazing team of people I work with.  Over the next few weeks I am going to share some more of what goes on behind the scenes at BartenderOne including what it’s like to work with this crew of instructors and the entire B1 team.  Andrew, David, Ryan, Krissy, Jeremy, Jay, Jair … even the infamous Gavin! They truly are the best and I’m thrilled to be a part of this team!

Until next time…

Mel

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Are you hiring???

IMG_0837

One of the most important decisions a Bartenderone student faces after graduation is what type of venue to apply to.¬† One of the first questions we ask all of our students at the beginning of the Masterclass is ‚Äúwhat type of venue do you want to work at?‚ÄĚ.¬† On average our students are in their mid 20‚Äôs and their instinctive answer is they want to work at a nightclub.¬† The¬†glaring appeal¬†of working at a nightclub is that it will be little hours, little work, and lots of tips!¬† In some cases this may be but it is unlikely that you will immediately fall ‚Äúass backwards‚ÄĚ into a lucrative club bartending job!¬† That being said, there are many profitable and sought after clubbartending positions in the industry, you just got to find them!¬† I have worked in clubs for over 5 years and very much enjoy my time working at them, but it is important to expand your mind and your options when choosing¬† a type of venue to work at.¬†

IMG_0174

One of the most humbling and beneficial experiences I have had as a bartenderwas my time working at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel.¬† At the time I had been actively bartending for three years, and heading out to Alberta, was very confident¬†with my skill set behind the bar.¬† I quickly learned that my “nightclub only” experience had only prepared me for a small fraction of what the hospitality industry had to offer.¬† I was hired as a bartender at a lounge with a 500 person capacity, not intimidating at first glance, but very deceiving as I soon found out!¬† As the junior bartender on staff I was put on service bar to learn the ins and outs of the menu and the Fairmont style service.¬† The menu consisted of 35 cocktails and martinis unique to the hotel so it was like starting from scratch with regards to recipe knowledge.¬† That coupled with the fact that the lounge did not stagger reservations meant that at any given time I could have 500 people walk into the lounge at the same time‚Ķ‚Ķtranslation 500 drinks at once! And not just drinks, labour intensive cocktails and martinis!¬† Being thrust into this type of bartending setting forced me to really hone¬†the speed, recipe¬†execution, and techniques that I had been introduced to¬†during my time in the Bartenderone Masterclass and Finishing School.¬† Stepping out of my nightclub ‚Äúcomfort zone‚ÄĚ and into a challenging hotel venue setting allowed me to become a much more well rounded bartender.¬† As a result new doors in the industry were opened for me and I have never looked back.¬† I currently work as a bartender at a nightclub, instructor/mixologist with Bartenderone, bartender at the Air Canada Centre, and Performance Mixologist (flair bartender) with the Movers n Shakers special event team!¬† Expand your horizons, try a little bit of everything, and challenge yourself and then and only then will you truly evolve as a bartender!

JB

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

3..2..1…GOOOOO!

IMG_0810‚ÄúHey, you’re like Tom Cruise in that movie‚ÄĚ a line often heard by flair bartenders around the world time and time again!¬† To answer the question, no I am not like Tom Cruise in that movie Cocktail because, like everything else in life, things tend to change and evolve over a quarter century!!¬† You wont find me on Wall Street stopping bankers and saying ‚ÄúHey you’re like Michael Douglas in that movie‚ÄĚ because it would be unfair and ignorant for me to generalize someones profession like that!¬† I will recognize though that flair bartending exists in very small circles and the evolution of flair is quite foreign to anyone who isn‚Äôt active in that small community.

  A year ago I entered and competed in my first ever flair competition as a representative of Bartenderone.  The competition put on by the Toronto Flair League was truly the most exciting and terrifying experience I have had in my bartending career!  After blacking out and somehow managing to struggle my way through my 3 minute routine I made way to the bar for some celebratory shots!  As the dust settled over the next few days I was able to see a video of myself and really assess what level I was at and where I went right and wrong!  It was then that I truly started to understand the high level of preparation that was required to be a successful flair bartender in a competition setting. 

Montreal 2011

My roommate, fellow Bartenderone instructor and flair practice partner Jay Patience and I decided to adopt a new approach to training for competitions.¬† Drawing from our experiences working with former top ranked Canadian flair bartender Gavin MacMillan, Jay and I put into action a plan to become premier competing flair bartenders!¬†¬† The first step was to develop a routine with the perfect balance of technical and innovative moves, smoothness and showmanship!¬† Once the foundation of our routine was in place, we started executing the routines every day for an hour each.¬† Once we had built up our stamina and strength we extended it to 3 hours a day each.¬† The results were immediate and very rewarding!¬† One of the things that helped us immensely was taping our practice routines.¬† Being able to watch the videos and see ourselves during practice allowed us to adjust our routines but more importantly become aware of exactly what we looked like while performing.¬† Once aware of that we were really able to take the showmanship aspect to a new level! The other thing that helped us progress so fast was the use of glass bottles with liquid in them.¬† Its one thing to practice with empty flair practice bottles but it wasn’t until we incorporated the real thing that we truly started to see the results we desired.¬† Consistent practice of a well-balanced routine coupled with the usage of real full bottles thrust Jay and I into the category of up and coming flair bartenders in Toronto.¬† Just like everything in life, consistent practice and a clear goal/vision will more often than not help you succeed.¬† Tom Cruise who?

Posted in Flair Bartending | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

GRADUATE DEBT FREE!!!

Bartenderone @ Brock University

Recently Bartenderone launched its University Tour initiative up at Brock University’s 2011 Vendor Fair.  About 5 years ago we tested the water at Guelph University with a two day condensed version of the Bartenderone Masterclass and it was a great success.  Since then the Bartenderone Masterclass has quickly evolved into the most sought after bartending certificate in Canada.  What makes Bartenderone different?  What makes them better than the competition? 

IMG_0846

 

¬† Unlike other bartending schools, Bartenderone‚Äôs focus is not on trying spirits and drinks and leaving class ‚Äúhalf in the bag‚ÄĚ and unable to retain any information that you learned.¬†¬†The focus is on understanding spirit profiles and executing cocktails with the concepts of synergy, accuracy, and speed being the main emphasis.¬†Sprinkle in some valuable wine knowledge and high impact, low risk flair techniques and our graduates are better prepared than any others entering into the hospitality industry.

 

Being a University graduate myself I can understand and relate to the day to day financial struggles of a student with a full course load.¬† Entering my second year at Guelph University my steady diet of Chunky soup and Mr. Noodles became very tiresome and I was becoming very weary of my increasing student debt.¬† Like most other students my only solution was to find a part time job to assist me with my problem.¬†While home for¬†Christmas break I attended bartending school in Toronto at Bartenderone and became one of the first graduates of the program.¬† This certification allowed me to go back to Guelph and immediately find a job barbacking.¬† Although I wasn‚Äôt making ‚Äúrockstar‚ÄĚ bartender money at first, barbacking was a great stepping stone for me and put a steady flow of money in my pocket to help me survive.¬† By third year, after a lot of hardwork and patience, I was bartending 3 nights a week and paying my rent in one week worth of tips!¬† All of a sudden I had a large amount of disposable income at my fingertips and the prospect of eliminating my student debt while still a student became a very real possibility!¬† Being very conscious of the poor spending habits of my past I put in place a very simple plan to save money that I learned while attending bartending school.¬† The result was one year of barbacking, two years of high volume bartending experience, and zero student debt when I graduated!¬† There are many part-time jobs available to post secondary students but none of them compare to the potential money you can make once you work in a tip friendly environment!¬† Bartending proved so lucrative for me that I became a full-time instructor and mixologist with Bartenderone.¬† Work smarter not harder!

Posted in Whats Hot | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Misconceptions about locations and libations…

Misconceptions…
As a bartender, I frequently deal with guests who have misconceptions about the cocktails I make.  People tend to drink beverages with little or no flavour other than the lime that is squeezed into their lowball.  It is a little beyond me why someone might want to drink something that tastes like nothing, but my own pre-conceptions aside, everyone is entitled to drink what they want.  Far be it for me to tell you what you like!  Give me a chance and I will certainly show you my version of a well balanced creative cocktail, and if you dont like it, I will buy it for you and you can go back to your vodka soda.
I have recently purchased a house with my fianc√©, in one of my most unfavoured places, Oshawa, Ontario. ¬†Commonly known as ¬†”the SHWA”, “the SHWIGGEDY”, I had my own misconceptions that had always had a sour taste in my mouth about this place, that was until I recently met my new neighbor Missy. She welcomed us to the neighborhood with a bottle of gin from her late husband. “I can’t stand the stuff”, she said with a scrunched up face. ¬†That was my cue to show her what a wonderful backbone a good Gin could be in a cocktail that was lovingly mixed. ¬†I had never tried this particular bottle, but I played with it a little and when I was happy with a new gin cocktail that worked with this particular spirit, I decided to invite Missy over for a to taste it. I proceeded to mix her up a cocktail that was adapted from a bartender I met years earlier, but worked particularly well with this spirit.
No.209 gin, Pimms No. 1, Rubicon guava juice, cloudy apple juice, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup & some bruised mint. Finished off with some caramelized Angostura Bitter figs. Needless to say, she had never tasted anything like it and I think I am her new best friend! Just as I had a misconception of the place I now call home & she had a similar misconception of gin. I was reminded of the dangers of passing ¬†judgement on something, because sometimes all it takes is the right individual to show you how it really is. ¬†They say that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. As it turns out, I love to teach people about mixology and bartending and while there is a quiet cocktail culture out here in Durham, I think I shall be the pioneer & unleash some phenomenal cocktails on the taste buds of the SHWIGGEDEZE!. The cocktail was called Gone Native, think I’ll change it to what I am now proud to be….Oshawa Native. From out east, may your vessel never be empty, keep mixing :)
Jeremy!

As a bartender, I frequently deal with guests who have misconceptions about the cocktails I make.  People tend to drink beverages with little or no flavour other than the lime that is squeezed into their lowball.  It is a little beyond me why someone might want to drink something that tastes like nothing, but my own pre-conceptions aside, everyone is entitled to drink what they want.  Far be it for me to tell you what you like!  Give me a chance and I will certainly show you my version of a well balanced creative cocktail, and if you dont like it, I will buy it for you and you can go back to your vodka soda.

oshawa

I have recently purchased a house with my fianc√©, in one of my most unfavoured places, Oshawa, Ontario. ¬†Commonly known as ¬†”the SHWA”, “the SHWIGGEDY”, I had my own misconceptions that had always had a sour taste in my mouth about this place, that was until I recently met my new neighbor Missy. She welcomed us to the neighborhood with a bottle of gin from her late husband. “I can’t stand the stuff”, she said with a scrunched up face. ¬†That was my cue to show her what a wonderful backbone a good Gin could be in a cocktail that was lovingly mixed. ¬†I had never tried this particular bottle, but I played with it a little and when I was happy with a new gin cocktail that worked with this particular spirit, I decided to invite Missy over for a to taste it. I proceeded to mix her up a cocktail that was adapted from a bartender I met years earlier, but worked particularly well with this Gin.

No.209 gin, Pimms No. 1, Rubicon guava juice, cloudy apple juice, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup & some bruised mint. Finished off with some caramelized Angostura Bitter figs. Needless to say, she had never tasted anything like it and I think I am her new best friend! Just as I had a misconception of the place I now call home & she had a similar misconception of gin. I was reminded of the dangers of passing ¬†judgement on something before you have really given it a chance, because sometimes all it takes is the right individual to show you how it really is, or how great it can be! ¬†They say that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. As it turns out, I love to teach people about mixology and bartending and while there is a quiet cocktail culture out here in Durham, I think I shall be the pioneer & unleash some phenomenal cocktails on the taste buds of the SHWIGGEDEZE!. The cocktail was called Gone Native, think I’ll change it to what I am now proud to be….Oshawa Native. From out east, may your vessel never be empty, keep mixing :)

Jeremy!

Posted in iPour, Mixology, Proper Service, Raising the Bar | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Nightclubs: A different demon…

I have had the pleasure of working in all walks of the service industry, from roadhouses to fine dining establishments as a bartender, but never in the fast-paced environment of a nightclub until recently…

Jay Patience

My nightclub cherry has been popped in Toronto as a flair bartender¬†and it has been a great experience.¬† Going from having no customers one minute to being¬†completely slammed the next; with no time to breathe or think; and then… bartender instinct suddenly kicks in.

Read More »

Posted in Flair Bartending, Mixology, Proper Service | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

The F word

In the world of bartending, nothing is more exciting than flair bartending. Yet in the same breath, nothing has more of a negative image attached to it as well.

The first record of flair bartending is accredited to ‚ÄúThe Professor‚ÄĚ Jerry Thomas from San Francisco, who in the mid 1800‚Äôs included some flair in his Blue Blazer cocktail by rolling flaming Scotch from one mug to another.Jerry-Thomas-

The late 1980’s saw a big boost in the number of flair bartenders after Tom Cruise’s character Brian Flanagan wowed his guests from behind the bar in the movie Cocktail.

So with all the excitement, why all the negativity?

Read More »

Posted in Flair Bartending | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

BartenderOne in the Community

Time Speeding By

As the wheels of time go by, my role with BartenderOne presents me with amazing opportunities at every turn, this is one very special example…

Seven months ago I was enjoying a casual pint at the Loose Moose after an exciting flair event for BartenderOne, when my good friend and resident bartender Jenna Inglis approached me and asked if I was interested in being a part of her charity event. I immediately responded with a YES before even knowing any of the details, head first, right into the deep end! One pint naturally led to another and another. The next morning amidst a giant headache I was reminded of what I had commited to the night before. After hearing all the details I was very excited and happy to be part of such an amazing experience, and wanted to work further with Jenna to make the charity event one to remember.

Read More »

Posted in Flair Bartending | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Ladies Who Lunch with the Ladies of LUPEC

BartenderOne Boys New Orleans

As I sit here in the prestigious Lowes Hotel in New Orleans waiting for the Ladies of LUPEC lunch, I patiently wait to see if I am one of the only males in this seminar. I wouldn’t mind because I am surrounded by some of the most beautiful and inspirational ladies ever! As I sip the New Orleans classic, the Sazerac, I find myself wondering if this seminar will change the views I have regarding women behind the bar. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a girl that can make a great cocktail but, in my home town of Toronto, Canada, we are used to the stereotypical gorgeous girl who is well-endowed but can only come up with a rum and Coke when asked for a cocktail.

Read More »

Posted in Featured Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Dave’s Tales of the Cocktail

World Biggest Negroni

In July of 2011, the boys from BartenderOne were treated to a team retreat in New Orleans for the annual Tales of the Cocktail extravaganza! The trip began at 3am on Thursday morning as the team gathered for the 6 am flight. Total hours of sleep: 2.

Once we arrived, we were met by a black stretch limo to take us to the Intercontinental hotel, which was only a five-minute stumble to Bourbon St. Each one of the guys selected different seminars to attend. My first was at 1pm. 3 hours after getting settled. As I sat in on the women behind bars seminar, I noticed that I was one of only four guys in the entire room. Great choice!

Read More »

Posted in Featured Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed