Category Archives: Raising the Bar

BartenderOne helps Pilots Friend achieve a $100K investment from Dragons Den

Not just an energy drink, an all natural bittersweet beverage with NO CRASH!

Not just an energy drink, an all natural bittersweet beverage with NO CRASH!


BartenderOne Performance Bartenders were asked to help in a Dragons Den Pitch for Pilots Friend Beverages, and in unprecedented fashion, 3 of the Dragons aligned to work out a deal for 7% equity each, to help build this brand.  A big part of the pitch was the beverage presentation, use of fire, and flair technique to make an impact on the Dragons and to reinforce the quality of the Pilots Friend brand.  BartenderOne was proud to be a part of this successful pitch!


Click on the image above to see the Pilots Friend pitch on Dragons Den.  BartenderOne and its staff congratulate Pilots Friend and wish them the best of success in their future partnership!

Also posted in Bartender News, Featured Events, Flair Bartending, Whats Hot | Comments closed

Maybe you should just head straight to the bar for your next team-building event?


Click here to watch a team-building workshop in action:

Is your workday in need of more open communication, creativity and positive motivation?
Are you looking for new ways to spark innovation and strengthen team dynamics?
Would you like to know how to spread the happiness of happy hour throughout your whole organization?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re probably ready to introduce a little happy hour into your 9 to 5! 

Bar Chefs know that different spirits, liqueurs, sweeteners, and citrus combine to make a mouth-watering cocktail, just like different personalities, skill sets and expertise combine to make up a successful team.  Understanding these synergies, and how the ingredients in a cocktail (and a team) work harmoniously together have tremendous parallels when you consider why a well-made cocktail tastes so delicious, and how the strengths of each team member combine to achieve a common objective.

When you motivate people to pool their talents in a team environment, they will perform at their best individually and as team players.  So whether you’re launching a new product, tackling a difficult company transition or building a perfect martini waterfall, you’ll want to make sure the team is as strong as possible!  Here are some of the reasons that building and strengthening internal teams is so important to the success of an organization:


  1. Relationships are strengthened,
  2. Lines of communication are opened,
  3. Creativity is stimulated,
  4. New ways of strategizing and solving challenges are discovered,
  5. Whiners, complainers and hidden agendas are eliminated.


Working on the premise that happy staff are productive staff (and most everyone is happy when they’re enjoying a cocktail or even a mocktail), make sure that your team-building workshops are fun-filled as this is a common language the entire team will understand!


The BartenderOne team (founded by award-winning flair bartender and master mixologist Gavin MacMillan) are experts in bringing people together in a fun, engaging way, to build team dynamics and increase productivity – offering everything from general “Get Into the Spirit” and “Rockin’ Mocktails” workshops to events focused on specific beverage types (e.g. “Let’s Get Hopped Up” Beer workshops and “Buena Barista” Coffee Workshops).



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The quest to find the best bartender in the world is on TV


The Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year has earned a reputation as the most prestigious bartending competition in the world with the finest bartenders from every nation displaying their top creations to earn the glory.

This year 43 finalists were followed by camera crews as they competed on board a luxury cruise liner sailing from Monaco to St Tropez, Ibiza to Barcelona, in July this year.

“World Class showcases why fine drinking and cocktail culture sets trends from New York to Shanghai,” said Dominic Redfearn, global media and content director for Diageo.

“We’re excited that the skill and craft of the world’s best bartenders is being showcased through these programmes.”

The programme, produced by Shine North, is scheduled to air in 110 countries across the world on channels including Primetime, RTL 5, MTV, the Travel Channel, and the Food Network.

Alex Connock, managing director of Shine North, said: “The global appreciation of mixology coupled with the truly international line-up of talented, inventive bartenders makes for a compelling show with universal appeal.

“At Shine we are believers in the creative possibilities of working with brands – and the World Class event is a superb example.”

Throughout the competition, bartenders were tested on their spirits knowledge, food pairing abilities, speed, and signature serves.

This July, the Spanish bartender  David Rios, of Jigger Cocktail & Disco Bar  was crowned Diageo World Class Bartender of The Year.


Original Source:


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Last call before Halloween: A Zombie Tini that will bring you back from death

Keeping on top of the ever-changing market is a challenge for the best of bartenders. Many establishments have come up with a list of tantalizing cocktails, fashionably served up in a stylish martini glasses with beautiful fresh fruit garnishes. For the bartender who can serve up these creations with efficiency and style, the sky’s the limit.

After the summer cocktail frenzy is over, cocktail savvy party goers will find that everything old is new again. This implies a resurgence of classic cocktails, like the Manhattan that can be found everywhere, from your local Irish pubs to ultra swanky lounges.  This gives you unlimited options to experiment with some of the classics, add your personal touch and cement your place in history with your creations.

This being said, today we are gonna put together a basic cocktail to welcome the Halloween. This marks the beginning of a whole new season for cocktail makers, summer is gone and long cold months lay ahead. So, unless you are among the 1% of Canadians who can escape from this coming snowy panorama in a ocean view villa in Florida or Mexico we suggest you grab your bartender kit, stop by the liqueur store and provide yourself with the ingredients to prepare our renowed Zombie-tini and start the cold season on the right foot (after drinking this if you can start this season in your feet at all you are on the right path )

Try it, enjoy it and more importantly yet: share it with the world

See you behind the bar!



– 3/4 oz. Dark Rum

– 3/4 oz. Vanilla Rum

– 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier

– 2 oz.     Orange Juice

– 1 oz.     Pineapple Juice

– 1 oz.     Lime Juice


– Combine Dark Rum, Light Rum, Grand Marnier, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice, Lime Juice with ice to your cocktail shaker.

– Shake vigorously for five seconds.

– Serve in a martini glass.

– Garnish with a skewered cherry and an orange slice



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The Zombie Cocktail, powerful and deadly!


Certain cocktails are not meant but for those with a strong heart and purpose to experience the effects of alcohol. This one in particular is rumoured to have  the power to bring people back from the dead.

The reason?

3 types of rum, 2 types of brandy combined with delicious fresh juice. Ladies and gentlemen, this will make a memorable Halloween experience for you: The Cocktail Zombie.

Created by the ultra famous bartender Ernest Raymond a.k.a Don Beach in the 30’s , this cocktail gained a reputation for being devastating to the point where its consumption was limited to a maximum of two glasses per person.

The original recipe died with Don Beach but here we humbly present you with our Zombie Cocktail recipe, try it and let us know how you liked it (if you survive)


–          Ice

–          1 ounce white rum

–          1 ounce dark rum

–          1 ounce aged rum

–          ½ ounce apricot brandy

–          ½ ounce cherry brandy

–          2 ounces orange juice

–          ½ ounce lime juice


–          Add in the following order: – Lime juice, liqueurs and juice.

–          Shake

–          Pour in a Highball glass

–          Garnish with a slice of fresh fruit


–          Highball



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Halloween cocktails: The Zombie Punch



As you know, bartending offers you multiple options to get tipsy throughout the year and Halloween couldn’t be an exception.  There is nothing to celebrate Halloween like sipping a cocktail with enough alcohol to get you in a Zombie state.  
Get your hands on your bartending kit and your credit card ready to hit the liquor store and enjoy the Halloween Punch, a creation courtesy of our friends at the BBC (brits know how to pour alcohol btw)

PS: Remember to consume responsibly or at least keep the emergency services phone handy. Enjoy!!!


  • 10 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 10½ oz lemon juice
  • 10½ oz white rum
  • 10½oz gold rum
  • 10½ oz demerara rum (preferably 151 proof)
  • 10½ oz pineapple juice
  • 10½ oz lime juice
  • 10½ oz passion fruit syrup
  • 8-10 dashes bitters
  • 1 pineapple

Serve with

  • 1 large pumpkin, top removed and flesh and seeds carved out and discarded, optional
  • 1 lemon, cut into eight pieces
  • 1 lime, cut into eight pieces

Preparing it:


  • Brown sugar and lemon juice into a jug. Stir
  • Add the white rum, the gold rum, the demerara rum, the pineapple juice, the lime juice and the passion fruit syrup to the lemon mixture and stir well
  • Pour into the hollowed-out pumpkin.  Add the lemon and lime pieces.
  • Serve


Original Source

Zombie punch. BBC Food Recipes. Available at:

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The best bartender in the world destroys five myths about bartending

After being chosen as the best among  10 of the finest Canadian bartenders for his bartending knowledge, skills and showmanship behind the bar, BartenderOne graduate and DIAGEO World Class Canada Bartender of the Year, Jenner Cormier gave an interview to the Toronto Star where he shared his perspective on some of the myths that surround the bartending profession.

Check the five myths around bartending Jenner wants to destroy here:

1- Bartenders do it for money

“Depending on your job and the location of your bar, there is certainly money to be made in the service industry. However, most cocktail bartenders do it for the love and passion of the craft, not the paycheque. Most cocktail bartenders will work multiple jobs on the side to supplement their passion for bartending.”

2- Bartenders have short, glamorous shifts.

“The part of cocktail bartending that no one sees is the preparation that happens before the doors open. Most times, tasks like pressing fresh juices, and making syrups, shrubs and bitters are shared among staff, but it can vary. Big cocktail bars will go through dozens of liters of fresh citrus in a week and that juice has to come from somewhere. …Once all the smoke settles and last call has happened, it is time to clean up and break down the bar. We’re still cleaning up long after our customers have gone to sleep.”

3- Bartenders are dropouts

“Unfortunately, there is an assumption that most service industry staff are high school or university dropouts. Over the past few years however, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many brilliant people, most of whom completed post-secondary education.”

4- Bartenders are lazy

“Sleeping until noon does not make bartenders lazy — especially when they were working at full tilt until four in the morning! We simply work on a shifted schedule than those working nine to five. But we work just as hard. Also, think about shaking a shake weight for eight hours a night. Depending on the volume that your bar is pumping out, bar shifts can be mentally and physically exhausting. Especially in a cocktail setting when each drink has three to six ingredients and you are putting out 200-plus cocktails in a night. It is critical to stay mentally sharp for very long periods of time.”

5- All bartenders do”flair”

“Tom Cruise has put an image in the public’s mind about what bartenders do at work. I personally do not know how to flip a bottle and I don’t think many of my colleagues do either. Now don’t get me wrong, there is a small amount of ‘working flair’ that is involved in keeping your guests interested in what is going on behind the bar, but it is nowhere close to what is depicted in the media”


Original Source:

Toronto Star Online. Life, Food & Wine Section. Five bartending myths from the best in the business. Available at:

Also posted in Flair Bartending, Mixology | Comments closed

Getting ready for the cold nights with a Winter Warmer….


With autumn finally appearing and mother nature reminding us that we live in the great white north, that chill in the air can often be remedied by the comfort of a warm beverage, to warm both the hands and the insides of your guests and welcome them to your establishment.

It’s a great way to make a positive first impression in the frigid months of the year and there is nothing quite like the decadent aroma and taste of a warmer to warm the spirit.


Cocktail warmers are often an afterthought, something that your guests might indulge in if they have room in their belly and their wallet at the end of the meal, but in a climate like ours, there is no reason why warmers can’t step in for cocktails as a starter beverage or a drink with dinner. With freshness and exotic flavors in mind, warmers are as exciting as flavored martinis and bartenders across the country are coming up with tasty new ways to mix and serve warmers which offer guests that elusive “something different”


Consumers are more interested in quality and complexity of flavor than ever. With a coffee shop on every corner, even the most common coffee shop now offers gourmet hot beverages. Considering the popularity of coffee in our society and the fact that those same coffee shops are making millions on iced coffees in the summertime, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be making coffee warmers a cornerstone of your winter cocktail program, regardless of whether or not you already have one.


It’s important to note the most common difference between warmers and cocktails when you’re considering designing your menu. Most cocktails are built on a base spirit, and then modified with liqueur mixers and garnish. In the case of warmers, you’re most often going to start to a base mixer, and modify spirits and liqueurs accordingly.


When mixing coffees, you might try Tia Maria, Baileys, Kahlua, Grand Marnier, Amaretto and Frangelico. All are traditional mixers for coffee warmers and if you add to that repertoire Chambord and crème de menthe and Navan, a delicious vanilla liqueur made from Madagascar vanilla beans, there are literally dozens of flavor combinations.


Coffee is now so popular that it represents almost one out of every three beverages sold in Canada. Hot tea is also a growing market in North America, with increased public awareness to tea’s healthy antioxidant qualities, North Americans are discovering the wonders that make tea the planet’s most widely consumed beverage.


Tea warmers should not be ignored, nor should hot chocolate warmers and ciders. There are more than a few other options that you could include on your menu, and there is no reason that these drinks need to be warmed over versions of old favorites. Don’t be afraid to experiment, you are only limited by your imagination. If you find yourself staring at your back bar wondering what you can make with all those ingredients try entering your current inventory into the online cabinet at and watch the recipe wizard suggest new recipes based on the ingredients you have on hand.


Here, two delicious winter cocktails for you: try them, enjoy them and remember to spread the word!



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Build an army of regulars through proper service

How many of you loved that show Cheers? If you do, you’ll remember that every time Norm walked into the bar on Cheers, the entire bar would call out in unison “NORM!” It didn’t matter who was behind the bar, they knew what he drank, and it was ready and waiting for him as he assumed his position at the end of the bar.

Norm embodied the “regular,” the men and women who frequent your establishment regularly. They are the ones who more often than not, tip well, and don’t ask for any special kind of service. In many cases they are the types who spend thousands a year in your establishment. They are the cornerstones of your business, you certainly can’t afford to lose them, so the question clearly is how do you keep them and how do you get more of them?

I’ve seen lower volume establishments where regulars are praised and glorified, and high volume bars also where they are overlooked with the attitude that “it doesn’t really matter what kind of service they receive, they’ll come back anyway.” In an industry where service is paramount to the success of your business and your frontline service, staff are often on a career stopover on the way to something better, operators need to actively empower their staff to make sure that they you are cultivating long-term relationships with as many clients as possible, and creating experiences that they’ll remember, and come back for.

A good rule of thumb is that management should always be where the money is. If the restaurant is operating, management needs to be making regular rounds checking on guest experiences, not just server problems. Quite often guests will deal with sub-standard service by leaving little or no tip, and leave feeling dissatisfied. Management can circumvent this experience with a quick chat with each table.

Guests are quite often more apt to give negative feedback to someone who is empowered to change the situation. “Mistakes and mishaps are inevitable in any restaurant; if they are handled correctly the guest will take notice. Fixing mistakes promptly and properly can impact guests greatly. Some of our longest running guests started off on the wrong foot, problems were solved and the guests were impressed enough to return again and again,”

Everyone wants to feel special, yet most servers overlook the simple things like a smile and a genuine interest in a guest’s well being. Anticipating the needs of your clientele is the surest way to make people feel special. People respond to that kind of service, and with this philosophy every guest is a potential regular.

It is important that the servers are focused on providing service tailored to the guest’s needs. Obviously a birthday party and a solo businessperson require different styles of service.

Also, it may not always be possible to chat and check with every table in your establishment, so creating an atmosphere where your service staff feels comfortable approaching management to resolve guest issues in a timely manner is crucial to your ability to turn any negative experiences into positive ones. The bottom line is that when the service and food are good, guests will probably come back for seconds, maybe even become your regulars. If things go wrong and the problem isn’t addressed, you’ll never see them again. If there’s a problem and you address it, you guarantee that they will come back with their friends. Maybe they can be your regulars too.

Adopt this philosophy and you will reach the level of success that only a few will experience in their lives.

See you behind the bar!

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Cool as Cucumber

cucumber collins

Walk into almost any hip Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal restaurant and the cocktail menu you’re handed will likely describe mouth-watering concoctions that use fresh herbs, organic fruit and other top-notch ingredients.

Using cucumber in a cocktail may sound ridiculous at first. Until recently, only a few bartenders would even consider using cucumber as a garnish on a Bloody Caesar or Mary, but all of that is about to change. Cucumbers have somehow made the transition from a low-cost garnish to a top-shelf ingredient – bar chefs have embraced cucumbers as a hot, or cool, new addition to menus, along with a host of other ingredients that are making the migration from the kitchen to the bar.

Although signature cocktails are being whipped up in other big cities like New York and Los Angeles, Toronto’s gastronomic culture has inspired bartenders to raise the bar and take their cues from the kitchen. Bartenders are becoming known as “bar chefs” as they search for fresh ingredients, visit farmers’ markets, source artisanal spirits, and size up the competition in other cities

Most restaurants today aim to provide no less than the best when it comes to the food produced in the kitchen. Fresh vegetables make the best salads, and with a push towards healthy eating, many of our guests are opting for the healthier side salad versus fries or a baked potato. When we prepare drinks on the bar or food in the kitchen there should be more than a few similarities in our method. It seems more than a little ironic that we will accept nothing less than the best on the culinary front, and accept just about anything when it comes to the bar.

New York’s “King of Cocktails,” Dale DeGroff, head bartender of The Rainbow Room, is credited with reviving upscale specialty cocktails, having invented some 400 cocktails with fresh juice and no mixes. He emphasizes the importance of approaching a bar the way a chef approaches his/her kitchen. He believes that cocktails, like food, are about ingredients.

Increasingly, chefs are working with mixologists to create new and interesting drinks that contain ingredients not previously found in cocktails. Cucumbers have been a great addition to the cocktail list – they are not sweet, but lend a very refreshing taste.

Many restaurant patrons will have a cocktail to start the meal, and then move on to wine with the meal. The challenge is to create a cocktail that is good enough to prompt the order of a second round before the bottle of wine hits the table. Quite often it’s a little more than the smell of freshly muddled mint that prompts a run on mojitos. Working in an industry where the up sell is fundamentally important to profitability, fresh seasonal cocktails that sell themselves are worth their weight in gold.

See you behind the bar!

cucumber cocktail

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