Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ask a Bartender!

Hey everyone!! I'm fresh from competing in the Tanqueray and Tonic with a twist competition over this past weekend. I must say for my first competition, It was a great experience and something that I look forward to doing again. My hats off to the winners of the individual categories and to the grand winner as well. It was some steep competition, so next competition I will be even more prepared. Had a chance to talk with Peter Vestinos, who is the MAN in the Chicago spirits community. He gave me the best advice I've heard since playing HS Basketball. His words exactly...

"I've been in Hundreds of these competitions, and I've won some and lost some. But I've learned so much more from the ones I lost than the ones I won."

So while I was down on myself for losing, those words gave me a silver lining to the event. I had the chance to learn more about the industry I love, and connect with the Best of the Best in this industry and soak up knowledge for 2 days! I'll Be back and better the next competition I'm in!!

Now on to today's blog post. I'm going to try something a little different. People always ask me different questions about alcohol, the industry, what do bartenders like/dislike, etc... So once a week Ill post some good questions and give you guys my answer. Note all question are real questions fielded by people who have emailed in their question to DrinksOnMeinc@gmail.com or left it on my Facebook Page. Facebook.com/DrinksOnMeInc  Now i must say my answer wont reflect ALL bartenders, but I will base my answers on my experiences from working in the industry. But if any other bartenders have a difference of opinion please feel free to leave comments with your experiences so that the readers get a clear understanding of the questions. So here goes...

Question 1.
How many times in a night do you spit out the shots you take with patrons?

In an evening, while I am working, I don't drink the shot with Patrons. If someone buys me a shot in the evening, while i appreciate the gesture, I wait until my shift is over or the club/Bar is closed to drink it.  Plus its an ethical matter. If I'm drinking shots with you, there is no way for me to know when to cut you off if I am a little tipsy right along with you. And I would hate for something to happen to one of my customers, because of my negligence.

Question 2
How do you handle customers that have obviously had too much, but become irate when cut off?

This is a great question for so many reasons.. But the #1 reason is because it happens just about every shift! I try to kill them with Kindness. The more I smile and don't loose my cool, the easier the situation is. Most times when a person is drunk, and belligerent, if I attack back, or get aggressive with them, it makes everything worse.. So by working mostly in nightclubs, I tend to keep the person talking, and still motion for another bartender or even security to come over and assist if it becomes a safety hazard.

Question 3
What are the top three things YOU look for in a bartender when you're out having drinks?

Great question! Well being in the service industry, the first thing I look for is great customer Service. Greet me with a smile, place the coasters in front of me, let me know what specials are on tap. the next thing I look at in general knowledge of what you have in your bar. Let me know why I should have Ciroc over Grey Goose, Tanqueray over Bombay etc,, Nothing worse than a bartender who doesn't know what he or she is serving. And lastly I look to see if you properly are making the drink. Great measurements, a good shake and serving. Don't just pour alcohol in my glass. If i want to get drunk, Ill buy a bottle and go home. I want a great hand crafted cocktail. Show your expertise, and your skill in making a great cocktail.

So hopefully I answered all these questions in a manner that gives you a great answer! Thank you all for your submissions and lets get this going each and every week.

Until Next time