Tag Archives: Bartender

The Allure of The Classic Cocktail

If your drink isn't up to your standards, send it back!


When I first started working in a bar, my first job was in a place that had a Speakeasy theme (back in the late 80s.) ¬†I was in my late teens and it seemed very new and exciting and glamorous to be surrounded by all these fancy cocktails with names like: ‚ÄúGolden Cadillac,‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúIron Butterfly‚ÄĚ and ¬†‚ÄúMexican Ferrari.‚ÄĚ ¬†Thankfully you never really hear about those cocktails anymore. There were, however, certain drinks that seemed to have an almost hallowed status: the Rusty Nail, Manhattan or Old Fashioned.¬† Almost thirty years on, ¬†just like the thirty years before, these cocktails still hold their place on cocktail menus around the globe.¬† Honestly, I think it was being exposed to this world of ‚Äúfine drinking‚ÄĚ that gave me the hospitality bug; the handsome Bartenders loved making these drinks because they appreciated the opportunity to employ their skill at making a perfect cocktail.¬†

With the reemergence of ¬†Cocktail Culture, there are still lots of people who look down on “mixology”. ¬†However, when you have worked alongside bartenders who can barely open a bottle of beer as I have, you really grow to appreciate the bartender who has an informed repertoire, who can modify an ingredient, or ingredients , ultimately creating something ¬†special and memorable .


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Build! Shake! Stir!




What can I get you?



Whether you’re at a bar to meet friends or to meet new ones, the drinks that are being served are either Built, Shaken or Stirred….. but what’s the difference and why does it make a difference?

Lets break it down….

Built drinks are things like a Rum and Coke or a Vodka with Club Soda – Glass-Ice-Alcohol-Mix-Garnish and Straw, EASY!!!

Stirred drinks are things like a Negroni or a Manhattan – Mixing Glass-Spirit-Ice-Stir-Strain into appropriate glass

Shaken drinks are things like a Cosmopolitan or a Whiskey Sour – Shaking glass-Mix-Spirit-Ice-Shake-Strain into appropriate glass

Built drinks are the easiest of the three and 60% of drinks in a busy nightclub are made like this. What about the other 40% of drinks?

20% of drinks would be BEER!!! After that everything else is either shaken or stirred.


Bartenders all over the world have their own method of shaking and stirring with their own style and panache. With proper training you learn that although¬†Ice is your friend in a lot of cocktails one doesn’t want to OVER dilute drinks with improper use of our frozen friend H2O. Whether stirring or shaking a cocktail ice should always be added to the mixing glass AFTER the ingredients have been added, this will minimize the dilution and result in a better cocktail. Stirring is a technique, usually reserved for ‘Spirit-forward’ cocktails (cocktails without any non-alcoholic ingredients) and is all about preparing a drink with ice to both chill and dilute the drink without bruising the spirit. Shaking is the most fun way of making a cocktail and has been taken to unbelievable levels of style by bartenders who want to impress their guests. A good shake can be the difference between a great drink and a happy guest or a bad one and a disappointed guest. Shaking not only chills a cocktail, dilutes it and mixes the ingredients together but it can also introduce air, texture or ‘mouth-feel’ to a libation. With the addition of egg whites to a cocktail like an Amaretto sour, when shaken can dramatically change the dynamic of the feeling that is experienced when sipping on it.


Question: Whats the best method to use?

Answer: It all depends on what drink you’re making.


So, grab your shaking tins and bar spoons and figure out how you are going to build, shake and stir with passion, style and your own little twist.


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What is the Importance of Ice



Enticing yes...


Ice is‚Ķ. An Integral Component of Every cocktail, under the general definition of a cocktail being ‚Äúan alcoholic beverage which includes: Sugar, Bitters and Water (Ice)‚ÄĚ. Whether it is being used to chill a cocktail, mix ingredients together, for dilution and water content or simply just to take up space in a glass ‚Äď Ice is just as important as the drink itself.

¬†Bartending classes teach, about how much Ice a bartender should use in each cocktail being made, both in cocktails with a mixer for example a Whiskey Sour or even something as simple as a Rum and Coke and in ‚Äėspirit- forward‚Äô cocktails such as a Negroni or a Manhattan. These applications are concerned with ice in the final product, but what about drinks that are served with no ice?

Question: What does ‚ÄėNeat‚Äô mean?

Answer: NO ICE!!! A drink served neat, would be a shot of liquor that has had no contact with Ice. It’s gone straight from the bottle to the glass.

So what does ‚ÄėStraight-Up‚Äô mean? Ever had a Cosmopolitan or a Vodka Martini with Ice in it? I doubt it. Now think about this‚Ķ..Have you ever seen a bartender shake or stir a drink, then strain the drink into a glass with no ice? This cocktail would be called a ‚ÄėStraight-Up‚Äô cocktail.

So to simplify, both ‚ÄėStraight-Up‚Äô and ‚ÄėNeat‚Äô drinks are served without Ice. The difference is that ‚ÄėStraight-Up‚Äô cocktails have had contact with ice at some point leading up to being served.

As mentioned earlier, Ice can be used to take up space in a glass. “Why wouldn’t I just use a smaller glass?” I can hear you all asking. Have you ever had a Mojito served straight-up or in a short glass with no Ice? Crushed Ice is used in the classic Mojito recipe, because not only does it keep the drink ‘Ice” cold, it takes up space in the glass allowing the drink to contain less liquid, but still appear to be a tall, grande, gesture from your favourite bartender.

Egg whites are becoming a commonly used ingredient in a whole range of different libations. Just like pineapple juice, the egg whites will emulsify under heavy shaking or whisking creating a foam. The Ice used in the shaker tin almost acts as a whisk and helps the process of emulsification during shaking, in such cocktails as the Whiskey Sour or the Gin Fizz.

Question: How important is ‘Dilution’?

Answer: In many cases, it is very important.

Many cocktail recipes include a shake or a stir, these are for both mixing the drink, making it cold and dilution.

Look out soon for the up-and-coming ‘Build, Shake, Stir’ blog.

Also, take a look at our molecular mixology program which will give you the lowdown on both liquid Nitrogen and Dry-Ice



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This is what happens when you mess with the wrong bartender…

In one of those headlines that you only find in Texas, a bartender in San Antonio dealt with a rowdy patron in his bar in a gun to gun challenge that ended up with tragic consequences.

The incident which took place the morning after Christmas and involved a heavily intoxicated patron which reacted violently when the bartender decided to take away his car keys which made him become aggressive and started arguing with the bartender. During the verbal exchange, the client pulled a .45-caliber Glock and pointed it at the bar employee.

The bartender ¬†-in a perfect Texans style- ¬†ready with his firearm, pulled out a 9 mm gun and demanded the violent patron to place his weapon on the ground. When the suspect refused, the bartender fired — what he has declared — three shots at the man at point blank range. Then he proceeded to place both guns on the bar counter and call the police.

The emergency services tried to save the wounded man’s live but it was too late. Police are still investigating the incident.

What is your opinion on the subject on dealing with aggressive patrons? Is it legitimate for a bartender to use force to repel an aggression? Is the bartender to blame for this patron’s dead?

Let us know your opinion!


S.A bartender shoots, kills “very intoxicated” patron during argument SAPD says.


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Toronto VS Montreal… The Challenge is ON



Toronto and Montreal have a historic tivalry… from Politics to Hockey the two largest cities in Canada are sworn adversaries, Toronto considers itself the Canadian New York while Montreal proudly boasts as the most european city in North America. Now, a new chapter for this rivalry has started. Welcome to the B1 Beat The Move Challenge the quest to find the best flair bartenders in Canada.

BartenderOne Toronto Flair Gurus, which are in good part responsible for the growing awareness about flair bartender in this Country want to push flair culture further. Every two weeks a new B1 Flair instructor will be posting a new Flair Move, flair bartenders – like our friends as our friends at BartenderOne Montreal- ¬†have those two weeks to come up with a reply, the challenge: replying with an even better move. When one of the sides can’t come up with a decent reply and increase the difficulty it will automatically lose and the other side will get the glory of being crowned as B1BeatTheMove Champion

This Challenge is open to any Flair Bartender in the World willing to demonstrate that they can beat our Flair Instructors. It’s time for the world to know that flair bartending is back and that the best flair bartenders this planet has seen come from Canada. ¬†Follow our Instagram account @BARTENDERONETO and get into the challenge using the hashtag #B1BeatTheMove

Now you know it, grab those bottles and tins and start flipping

… the glory belongs to those who grab life by the horns and a bottle by the neck.

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Bartender Christmas: Generous mysterious man wanders around leaving massive tips

It seems Christmas came early for a number of fortunate bartenders who have received the visit of a mysterious patron leaving generous gratuities across the United States signing each receipt with the cryptic Instagram account name @TipsForJesus.

A bartender in Phoenix, Micah Olson found out about this mysterious man when after serving a couple rounds of drinks he discovered they had left a $2,500 tip on his $530 bill.

The mysterious man’s Instagram account doesn’t reveal too much either, with one lone message “Doing the Lord’s work, one tip a time” ¬†it’s hard to know what are the intentions behind this modern Samaritan.

Reports indicate he has been spotted in bars and restaurants along the West Coast, the Pacific Northwest and several MidwesternStates leaving tips that range from $500 to $10,000

Another lucky bartender who got a $3,000 on a $87 bill declares that when he asked the mysterious patron why he was doing this he simply said it was a way to say thank you for the good beer recommendations.

Aside from the fact that all bills are paid with the famous Black Card from American Express, reserved for its elite customers and that he is polite and well mannered few other clues appear that can indicate who this generous gentleman is. But we are sure of one thing, we hope this guy decides to cross the border and spread his generosity in the maple leaf land.

Original Source:

TODAY News Online “Tips for Jesus” spreads the wealth in massive restaurant tips.



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The new bartender’s best friend? An app to catch fake ID’s

Fake ID’s are a precious investment for many youngsters desperate to get their hands on a cold pint of beer and a big headache for the industry. Bar owners, bartenders and security team¬†learn¬†that failing to identify a fake ID may result in severe penalizations, fines and the potential loss of their license

This makes the constant challenge between bar staff and clients something close to a delicious game of chess where each opponent tries different moves to outsmart the other: every day, enthusiast college students show up at the bar flashing their newest $150 fake ID to permanently skeptical bartenders.

Well… bad news smart kids. A new jewel is here to help catch every underage drinker wannabe and send them back home until they are old enough to deserve that pint.

An American Company, Intellicheck Mobilisa created an app, BarZapp which scans a driver’s license’s barcode¬†and verifies encoded information¬†displaying the card owner’s name, date of birth, ID expiration and ID number. ¬†Identities are confirmed‚ÄĒor not, in the case of a fake ID. Photos of sample IDs from the appropriate state are able to be shown to aid further visual inspection, which is far quicker than reviewing a book of sample ID‚Äôs –

The best part? It costs only $1.99 on iTunes. Although the company announced that bar and restaurant owners will need to purchase annual or monthly licenses, this is still a pretty good deal for bartenders to cover their butts.

Not only this but the BarZapp keeps track of bargoers, so it can identify who has been given the lifetime boot from a particular establishment. Could you ask more?

Evidently, this app will trigger a response from the vast industry of falsification which surely will come with a way around BarZapp, but in this moment we can say… sorry kids, probably next year.

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A very unique dress code: Bartender threatens to cut off guest’s necktie

Dress codes are one of the most controversial subjects in the nightlife world. While for bar management, staff and security are a useful tool to keep a certain standard to their venue and prevent potential trouble – makers to get inside for many people is just another way that bars and clubs actively discriminate against their clientele.

This being said, it comes as a big surprise hat one Houston bar has what is apparently a reverse-dress code as this unsuspecting client found out when he was kicked out of the Valhalla bar for wearing a necktie

This ¬†poor guy “Irving” declared he liked ¬†to wear ties to work now, because men get only so many socially acceptable fashion accessories ¬†But apparently Valhalla, has a long-standing “tradition” against ties, so Irving was kicked out. Not just kicked out. Banned.

After getting this third beer,¬†a bartender told him she wouldn’t serve him until he took off his tie.¬†Irving thought that was stupid, so he refused to remove it. According to Irving, the first bartender called another bartender over to discuss. Irving’s friend tried to buy him a beer instead in an attempt to calm the situation. Then a third bartender joined the fray, armed with a pair of scissors, and threatened to cut Irving’s tie right off of his neck.

The craziest part of this story is that Irving is still keen on coming back to the Valhalla ¬†“I know this comes nowhere near the sort of racially-based dress code discrimination that happens at other Houston bars,” he said. “This was just bad hospitality.”

What’s your opinion about this? Is this kind of behavior towards clients justified as part of tradition?


Original Source:

Houston Press Blogs

“Bartender at Rice Institution Valhalla Threatens to Cut Off Alumnus’ Necktie


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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…


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Are you hiring???


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.¬†


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!


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