Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Service is Key #2

OK. Ive done the service is key blog awhile ago, but seems like this subject needs to be re-visited. So here's an experience that I had at a VERY high profile hotel here in Chicago.... Note, when I go to a bar I do NOT announce that I am also a bartender, I just like to see what my counterparts are like with regular customers...Also I hate when people tell me that, so i tend to just let the bartender do their own thing..

Me: Hello, can I have an Aviation please?

Bartender: We don't carry those..

Me: "blank stare" ummmmm.. That's a cocktail.

Bartender: Oh well we don't have those.

Me: OK a Negroni then.

Bartender: "Shakes the Negroni.

Me: you know what, I'll just have a beer..

Now Ive been bartending and in the hospitality industry for a nice while now. And while Ive never claimed to be the best, nor am I afraid to look to others in the industry for tips and pointers.. This was UNACCEPTABLE!!!

There are about 20-25 drinks that every bartender should know. And be able to construct these drinks without any hiccups. Prep, measurements, shaken vs stirred, served on the rocks or straight up, and the Garnish. Especially when you are in a high paced environment as this bartender was in a 6 star hotel. This bartender will get guests from all over the world, from all walks of life, and will encounter some cocktails that are not of the "popular" genre and needs to be able to knock them out without any problems!!

Once again, Ive never claimed to be the best, and I learn something new each and every day, whether its from reading, or the fact that I took the AMAZING Mixology class offered by Southern Wine and Spirits and taught by the equally AMAZING Bridget Albert, or just seeking out the talents of my peers( Josh Pearson, Todd Appel, Daniel De Olivera, just to name a few, there are way to many to name), there is always room to get better and perfect your craft, So that you don't make the mistake of ruining someones cocktail. People come to the bar for an experience, and you are the gateway to them enjoying it, or never coming back to your establishment ever again! You make the decision of which you would rather have....

Until Next Time


  1. Nice post and so true! Thanks for sharing your experience!

  2. I really like the idea of a list of 20-25 drinks that every bartender should know!

  3. I couldn't agree with you more. Isn't this true in every service industry and beyond. I don't work for tips but by treating everyone I work with asI would a "customer" I have been very successful in my career. By your posts I bet you are pretty successful. If I am ever in Chi-town I will find you just for that!

  4. I don't know if an Aviation should be one of those 25 drinks...

    Negroni - I'll be honest. I love them, but that should be like #50 or so unless you live on an island or the Keys. I don't even know if it should be in the top 25 there.

  5. Negroni should be in the top 25, at least in my book! The worst part about that interaction is that the bartender didn't even try make you happy. I always ask the customer if they know what's in the drink they want that I've never heard of or offer a suggestion based on their tastes... Great site. Keep it up!