Bartending

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Opinions? Is bartending school/academy really needed anymore or is it better just to get started at a restaurant? Good money?

Reatards Unite, Saturday, 1 May 2010 15:22 (ten years ago) link

imo just get started. i barbacked for a while first.

i made better money during college doing that than any "real" job I've ever had :-/

confederacy-themed bumper sticker enthusiast (will), Saturday, 1 May 2010 15:46 (ten years ago) link

nine years pass...

I may have a bartending gig starting this summer. Our town voted to go wet in December, and a couple of friends are opening a restaurant and want me to tend bar. The timing couldn't be worse obviously.

herds of unmasked cletuses (WmC), Tuesday, 28 April 2020 13:15 (four months ago) link

Nice! I would take a p/t bartending job in a heartbeat right now just because I think it's fun. It's always been one of my favorite jobs.

Yerac, Tuesday, 28 April 2020 13:48 (four months ago) link

hey, it's something to look forward to.

a good resource for you might be this guy's blog--he has a good amount of material on his path (was a scientist, started barbacking at 41 and became a professional bartender): http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/search/label/*essay

call all destroyer, Tuesday, 28 April 2020 13:50 (four months ago) link

Nice! I've been to that site often for cocktail ideas but haven't looked at the essays, but I will now.

herds of unmasked cletuses (WmC), Tuesday, 28 April 2020 14:08 (four months ago) link

i was a bartender in a london pub for a couple of months once and i fucking hated it.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 28 April 2020 14:11 (four months ago) link

Ha, my first thought was 'i would start doing some squats and stretching now."

Yerac, Tuesday, 28 April 2020 14:12 (four months ago) link

why did you hate it Tracer? I bartended in London before, but the only thing I really hated was the smoke. I loved that they closed early.

Yerac, Tuesday, 28 April 2020 14:14 (four months ago) link

Yeah I need to start getting in shape now. I've lived a very sedentary life and this will kick my ass until I build up a little stamina. The city in its infinite wisdom decreed no liquor sales after 10pm, so that'll be nice.

herds of unmasked cletuses (WmC), Tuesday, 28 April 2020 14:32 (four months ago) link

constantly on my feet. hated the regulars. i hated my boss. the pay was terrible. i got one 15 minute break per shift in which i was 'free' to heat up the chip fryer (which took 10 minutes) in order to fry some chips for myself (3 minutes) and burn my tongue eating them (2 minutes). or take one of the butter and ham sandwiches from the fridge.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 28 April 2020 14:46 (four months ago) link

yeah, that sucks. I was lucky that the two places I worked in London had kitchens so they were good about staff meals and end of night snacks. But the pay was terrible.

Yerac, Tuesday, 28 April 2020 15:09 (four months ago) link

two weeks pass...

This bartending gig is getting real. Owners showed me around the place yesterday and asked me to give them an equipment/utensil list.

herds of unmasked cletuses (WmC), Monday, 18 May 2020 15:46 (four months ago) link

zinc and vitamin D tablets!

Yerac, Monday, 18 May 2020 15:54 (four months ago) link

what kind of restaurant/drinks program will it be?

Yerac, Monday, 18 May 2020 16:17 (four months ago) link

I don't have a clear sense of the kitchen menu except that it's a step up from a diner. They've been developing dishes the past few weeks and I know shrimp and grits is on there. Barwise, this will be the first place open in decades in this town where you can get a drink with your meal, so they really don't know if they'll be slinging more beer, wine or cocktails. There's a pretty basic drinks list -- whiskey sour, margarita, martini, old fashioned, pisco sour, bloody mary, pink pussycat of all things. That's not the full list. The owners want me to come up with a signature cocktail and I was thinking something with rhubarb syrup that would have a nice jewel tone -- the place is called The Gemstone.

I took a bin full of bottles and some rhubarb syrup down there and we just did some brainstorming. I'm going to be educating the owners as much as the customers. One of them said he usually has a rum and coke in the evening so I left him an ounce of Amaro di Angostura to stick in there and try on for size.

herds of unmasked cletuses (WmC), Monday, 18 May 2020 16:40 (four months ago) link

oh that's right! it was a dry town. That'll be interesting.

Yerac, Monday, 18 May 2020 16:49 (four months ago) link

zinc and vitamin D tablets!

― Yerac, Monday, May 18, 2020

you lost me there

herds of unmasked cletuses (WmC), Monday, 18 May 2020 16:49 (four months ago) link

oh just that i remember when I bartended, I felt like I was constantly fighting some cold.

Yerac, Monday, 18 May 2020 16:51 (four months ago) link

ah, gotcha

herds of unmasked cletuses (WmC), Monday, 18 May 2020 16:54 (four months ago) link

this sounds so fun -- sounds like they want to keep it accessible and also respect your opinion
what a nice outlet for creativity in such SHITTTY TIMES

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 18 May 2020 16:55 (four months ago) link

otm -- this is exciting and scary.

herds of unmasked cletuses (WmC), Monday, 18 May 2020 18:15 (four months ago) link

if your area currently does or will allow to-go cocktails in closed containers as is the case in parts of the country, it might be worth looking into a drink or two where that'd work well and maybe ordering some bottles/containers

I'm not sure what the dining out/bar drinking scene will look like for the near future

mh, Monday, 18 May 2020 18:25 (four months ago) link

two weeks pass...

I want to develop a watermelon cocktail because what could be more Mississippi, but I'm allergic to melon and so others will have to try them and give me tasting notes. I'm definitely part of the team, had a meeting with the owners last weekend. The liquor situation in Mississippi is even more dire than I thought, now that I've seen the state ABC price list. No pisco, so no pisco sour even though one owner wants it on the menu. I know I've seen a lot of bottles in better liquor stores and at finer restaurants that aren't on the state list, so i have to know how to get that stuff and not get the restaurant in trouble.

I started creating a bar bible for myself with a half-size ring binder. Created some page templates for drink recipes, large type and including clip art of the correct glassware for each, and I'm printing the pages onto cardstock and putting a stripe of clear packing tape along the right side so I can turn pages with wet hands. Showed it to the owners and they were like YEAH! and I said this is mine and you can't have it, but I'll make another one for you that stays behind the bar.

Irritable Baal (WmC), Friday, 5 June 2020 13:18 (three months ago) link

would try

calstars, Friday, 5 June 2020 13:22 (three months ago) link

Eating watermelon with salt is SOP down here, so a watermelon margarita with a salted rim seems like a natural.

Irritable Baal (WmC), Friday, 5 June 2020 13:25 (three months ago) link

does the abc have a special order option to get stuff that isn't on their regular list?

call all destroyer, Friday, 5 June 2020 13:29 (three months ago) link

The guidebook for permit holders says no, but I bought Amaro Montenegro in Tupelo in March and have seen a dozen similar situations at better liquor stores and at John Currence's restaurants, so people are skirting the rules like crazy.

Irritable Baal (WmC), Friday, 5 June 2020 13:35 (three months ago) link

yeah, the US has the bonkers 3 tier system for alcohol, but when I worked in a bar in ny we totally got a lot of stuff on our own through non-vendors for various reasons. I don't know about enforcement anywhere really though.

Yerac, Friday, 5 June 2020 14:25 (three months ago) link

watermelon mezcalrita!! but that's just me talking because i love mezcal

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Friday, 5 June 2020 17:51 (three months ago) link

also i made one once when trader joe's used to sell carbonated watermelon juice. it was SO GOOD

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Friday, 5 June 2020 17:51 (three months ago) link

maybe it was just canned and not carbonated. i don't remember tbh but i do know it was good and then they discontinued the juice and i never drank one again! :(

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Friday, 5 June 2020 17:52 (three months ago) link

I'm sure it would be insanely popular around here.

The owners want me to put together the initial liquor order and it's stressing me out. What brands to put on the rail?!?!

Irritable Baal (WmC), Friday, 5 June 2020 18:10 (three months ago) link

I made up a couple of melon-based cocktails over quarantine, either of which should be easily adaptable to watermelon:

the cantaloupe one:

2 oz gin
.5 oz Cointreau
.5 oz dry vermouth
cantaloupe chunks

Muddle cantaloupe in a shaker. Add other ingredients and ice; shake to combine. Serve in a chilled martini glass with a cantaloupe garnish.

the honeydew one:

2.5 oz white rum
.5 oz dry curacao
.25 oz blue agave syrup
honeydew chunks

Muddle honeydew in a shaker. Add other ingredients and ice, then shake. Serve in a chilled cocktail glass (martini or coupe) with melon garnish.

shout-out to his family (DJP), Friday, 5 June 2020 18:15 (three months ago) link

I've stocked my home bar with the following:

vodkas: Absolute, Grey Goose
gins: Hendricks, Bombay Dry, Bully Boy (Boston area distillery)
tequila: Lunazul
rums: Don Q white, Diplomatico
brandy: Hennessey
bourbon: Evan Wilder
scotch: Talisker
vermouth: Lillet, Antica Formula
orange liqueurs: Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Campari, Ferrer Dry Curacao
other liqueurs: Disaranno amaretto, Frangelico, Luxardo maraschino, St. Elder, Rothman & Wilder creme de violette

shout-out to his family (DJP), Friday, 5 June 2020 18:21 (three months ago) link

gah wtf "Absolute"

shout-out to his family (DJP), Friday, 5 June 2020 18:21 (three months ago) link

have you done all the cost analysis stuff for the drinks that will be on the menu?

call all destroyer, Friday, 5 June 2020 18:26 (three months ago) link

(xp to WmC)

call all destroyer, Friday, 5 June 2020 18:26 (three months ago) link

yeah for your speedrail/well drinks you should have a talk about what the cost will be first. I remember Evan Williams was a decent rail whiskey or people go with jack. I feel like the vodka is always just whatever you can get a deal in and the rest is some version of bacardi, cuervo, seagrams/gordons.

Yerac, Friday, 5 June 2020 18:52 (three months ago) link

I have no clue how much well drinks are anymore.

Yerac, Friday, 5 June 2020 18:52 (three months ago) link

I'm going to give Chad (this is easier than typing "my boss" every time) a wholesale cost per liter for everything when I make my recommendations so he can figure out cost/drink. DJP, that's a good list, you shell out more for base spirits than I do. In my research I'm seeing reasonably good reviews for Wodka, El Jimador, Old Overholt, Beefeater, Old Forester. For rum I'm thinking good old Bacardi White and Mount Gay Eclipse... there will be higher-end call brands for every category, I'm sure...

Irritable Baal (WmC), Friday, 5 June 2020 18:53 (three months ago) link

lol "Evan Wilder" I haven't even started drinking yet

shout-out to his family (DJP), Friday, 5 June 2020 18:53 (three months ago) link

he's evan williams' fratty cousin.

Yerac, Friday, 5 June 2020 18:54 (three months ago) link

that's a solid list if the cost works.

call all destroyer, Friday, 5 June 2020 19:05 (three months ago) link

Watermelon agua Fresca plus ____________

calstars, Friday, 5 June 2020 20:42 (three months ago) link

xpost Old Forester is one of my favorite bourbons, but it might be a little spendy for a well bourbon. A very good one for the price is Ancient Age from the Buffalo Trace distillery. About half the price as Old Forester in my part of the country, but much better than other well bourbons like Old Crow (shudder).

righteousmaelstrom, Friday, 5 June 2020 21:38 (three months ago) link

Scotch - for a blend I like Monkey Shoulder. Shit's cheap and pleasant.

Donald Trump Also Sucks, Of Course (milo z), Friday, 5 June 2020 21:40 (three months ago) link

i knew a guy who drank an entire bottle of monkey shoulder in one night. he was a fucking idiot but he lived to tell the tale and wasn't even very hung over the next day, relatively speaking.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Friday, 5 June 2020 22:18 (three months ago) link

Monkey Shoulder is about $30.40 wholesale here.

Irritable Baal (WmC), Friday, 5 June 2020 23:51 (three months ago) link

Wow, I haven't bought any in a year but it was $24 retail here.

Donald Trump Also Sucks, Of Course (milo z), Friday, 5 June 2020 23:55 (three months ago) link

Old Overholt is totally serviceable and <$20 per bottle retail. I’ve had much much worse well drinks than those I’ve made at home w OO bc I’m cheap.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Saturday, 6 June 2020 00:06 (three months ago) link

Concur on Old Overholt, but if you can get Rittenhouse for cheaper, do it (Not likely though. I think it's a couple of bucks more). Really holds up well in cocktails that have more than a couple of ingredients, such as a scofflaw.

righteousmaelstrom, Saturday, 6 June 2020 00:14 (three months ago) link

OO = $18.44/L
Rittenhouse = $24.60/L

Irritable Baal (WmC), Saturday, 6 June 2020 00:20 (three months ago) link

Interesting, Ancient Age is half the price of Old Forester on this list.

Irritable Baal (WmC), Saturday, 6 June 2020 00:26 (three months ago) link

XP. Well, there you go. Old Overholt it is. I think OO really shines in a manhattan.

righteousmaelstrom, Saturday, 6 June 2020 00:27 (three months ago) link

Try Ancient Age in a cocktail. It's not quite as soft as Buffalo (less wheat in the mash bill, maybe) but it is not a harsh drink at all.

righteousmaelstrom, Saturday, 6 June 2020 00:30 (three months ago) link

Created some page templates for drink recipes, large type and including clip art of the correct glassware for each, and I'm printing the pages onto cardstock

I see you haven't quit your day job.

pplains, Saturday, 6 June 2020 00:53 (three months ago) link

hahaha, I'm angling to design the menus, too.

Irritable Baal (WmC), Saturday, 6 June 2020 01:18 (three months ago) link

based on this info, i'd buy some rittenhouse and old forester 100 proof for some higher-end drinks, and overholt and ancient age for the well. i got a bottle of ancient age years ago when i was in kentucky for work, and if it's still as good as that bottle was it would be an excellent well bourbon.

call all destroyer, Saturday, 6 June 2020 01:23 (three months ago) link

Crap, just looked at the "qty available" column and there's no Ancient Age right now. Back to Old Forester.

Any blended scotch recommendations?

Irritable Baal (WmC), Saturday, 6 June 2020 01:55 (three months ago) link

i'd probably go famous grouse for a basic acceptable scotch

call all destroyer, Saturday, 6 June 2020 02:07 (three months ago) link

Ugh, only available in 1.75L bottles. What a state.

Irritable Baal (WmC), Saturday, 6 June 2020 02:25 (three months ago) link

Scratch that, there's a typo in their site.

Irritable Baal (WmC), Saturday, 6 June 2020 02:37 (three months ago) link

Grouse and Bell’s are the bog-standard well whiskeys in the UK.

Chivas? Whyte & Mackay? the aforementioned Monkey Shoulder? Johnnie Walker red?

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 6 June 2020 20:29 (three months ago) link

I’ve always liked J&B too

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 6 June 2020 20:36 (three months ago) link

To clarify, once I figured out the typo I realized that Famous Grouse 750ml was available, so that's what I put on the proposed order. Chad gave me a number to stay under and I sent him a list this morning that was less than half of that figure.

Irritable Baal (WmC), Saturday, 6 June 2020 23:59 (three months ago) link

The bar manager at a country club is coming in to do a bartender training session in a few minutes and oh jeez do I have a case of Impostor Syndrome. Here we go...

Irritable Baal (WmC), Wednesday, 17 June 2020 19:53 (three months ago) link

one month passes...

I haven't been posting about this because it's insane, dangerous, irresponsible and indefensible for me to be doing it, but the work has been really fun and interesting. The watermelon margarita is a huge hit, and I've gotten thumbs-up on my execution of classics like Old Fashioneds and Sazeracs from exacting cocktail nerds. One guy said he hated gin but he'd only had it in a Martini, so I made him a Negroni and he said "ok so it turns out I like gin."

Irritable Baal (WmC), Thursday, 23 July 2020 00:26 (two months ago) link

Nice

calstars, Thursday, 23 July 2020 00:32 (two months ago) link

well done!

call all destroyer, Thursday, 23 July 2020 00:39 (two months ago) link

Weird, weird weekend. Don't know what to think about the loud, opinionated guy at the bar who paid for the privilege of being annoying by dropping a hundred in the tip bucket when he paid up. (And then loudly announcing there should be a bell that gets rung whenever a $100 tip goes in.) Then there were 3 grimy kids, tripping or otherwise enhanced and one guy could literally not read the menu he was so jittery, who pooled their ones for an order of wings and 3 beers, no tip. When I rang the bell for last call last night, one yahoo stood up and announced a round for the house on him, something I'm sure he's been waiting to do his whole life, so I was still building drinks at one minute to closing. But then it turned out he tipped $260, which the owners decided to split equally between the servers and bartenders because we were all teamed up to fill that round at the last minute, so that was nice.

Irritable Baal (WmC), Sunday, 26 July 2020 16:47 (two months ago) link

Gotta love the humanity

calstars, Sunday, 26 July 2020 17:27 (two months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Last night I learned about the Smoker's Cough: a Jager shot with a dollop of mayonnaise in it. Fortunately, nobody wanted one, they were just playing Stump the Bartender.

A local car dealership owner is an Ole Miss alum and was the president of his frat, and is trying to turn the place into a frat bar in the later hours after dinner service, loud foul language and service staff abuse. He got a "calm the fuck down" death stare/index finger from me, then one of the owners got in his face and really gave him the business. He's booked to be back tonight, should be interesting.

Scampos Runamuck (WmC), Saturday, 15 August 2020 18:19 (one month ago) link

Also, and this is hilarious to me: the owner decided to drop back to ultra-cheap tequila (Torada) from the 100% agave we'd been serving. I was worried about this -- thought we'd get complaints about serving drinks with paint thinner and rubbing alcohol and such. But an older couple from San Antonio was in town last night; he was drinking watermelon margaritas and she was having regular ones. He came up to the bar as they were leaving and said "My wife and I consider ourselves margarita snobs, and these were fantastic, really well done, thanks." So there you go, snobs like paint thinner.

Scampos Runamuck (WmC), Saturday, 15 August 2020 18:28 (one month ago) link

you can stretch some cheap liquor a long way by putting it in a nice drink

I was discussing some local drinks for shooting that are... iffy.. lately and could provide some horrible ones to introduce to the bros. Some types of camaraderie lends well to terrible drinks

solo scampito (mh), Saturday, 15 August 2020 22:24 (one month ago) link

Also, and this is hilarious to me: the owner decided to drop back to ultra-cheap tequila (Torada) from the 100% agave we'd been serving. I was worried about this -- thought we'd get complaints about serving drinks with paint thinner and rubbing alcohol and such. But an older couple from San Antonio was in town last night; he was drinking watermelon margaritas and she was having regular ones. He came up to the bar as they were leaving and said "My wife and I consider ourselves margarita snobs, and these were fantastic, really well done, thanks." So there you go, snobs like paint thinner.
are you sure he wasn’t taking the piss

calstars, Saturday, 15 August 2020 22:28 (one month ago) link

"this is the best Italian meal I've ever had. and I've been to *Dallas*!"

popeye's arse (Neanderthal), Saturday, 15 August 2020 22:32 (one month ago) link

are you sure he wasn’t taking the piss
taking it, or drinking it?

No, he was totally sincere. He may have only had margaritas at a Chili's and at his brother in law's house back home in San Antone though.

Scampos Runamuck (WmC), Saturday, 15 August 2020 22:38 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

The state's ABC is completely out of Luxardo Maraschino and has been out for a couple of months. One of our drinks, the Pink Pussycat, has a small amount and we're down to our last couple of ounces, so I went to Memphis yesterday to Buster's Liquor, an amazing store. Better stocked than all the places I've been to in Atlanta. Loaded up on Luxardo for the bar (+ 1 bottle of Lazzaroni, a cheaper maraschino liqueur, for comparison) and then spent another $300 on stuff for myself.

We're going to start doing Saturday brunch in a couple of weeks and the owner wants me to come up with 5-6 mimosa options.

(show hidden tics) (WmC), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 12:20 (one week ago) link

Went there this summer. I've never seen so many bottles of Four Roses. Their beer selection was outstanding too. Got a 12-pack sampler of Oskar Blues for like 10 bucks!

Got my daughter out of the house for the first time in months and took her to Memphis, where she had googled three or four comic book stores.

My part of the deal was a stop at a real liquor store and a bag full of Krystals.

pplains, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 12:36 (one week ago) link

Is Comics & Collectibles on Poplar still open? That was where I had my pull-list in my comics-heavy 1980s and 90s.

One thing Buster's didn't have was Empress 1908 gin, which my daughter was interested in. We ate lunch at Pho Saigon, which was reasonably close to Joe's Liquor (pictured on the cover of the Compulsive Gamblers 1st album), so we went there afterwards. It looks really run-down from the outside. I stayed in the car while she went in to check on the gin and a couple minutes later she texted me "hey this place is really nice on the inside, you should come check it out." Really nice selection in there as well, and a lot more beers available in singles so you can try stuff out without buying packs.

(show hidden tics) (WmC), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 12:57 (one week ago) link

That place was all right, pretty big.

She was more impressed with 901 Comics, down around Cooper near Mid-South Coliseum. Guys in there asking about her shirt, what her favorite Star Wars character was, etc. So much attention from the Comic Book Lads!

Thought about stopping at Tip Top too, but I didn't want to spend the day dragging my 13-year-old into every liquor store in Memphis, though Lord knows it could be a fun activity for the two of us one day!

pplains, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 13:51 (one week ago) link

Didn’t expect to see so many daughters itt lol

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 18:39 (one week ago) link

On the whole, I’d rather watch Bar Rescue.

Hell, even going into bars grosses me out. What’s wrong with drinking alone and scouring DoubleList to find sexual partners? At least I don’t have to drive

beamish13, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 19:11 (one week ago) link

First customers of the night last night were a couple out for a quiet dinner. She has cider, he has an Old Fashioned, just the one. On their way out, he comes to the bar and says "THAT's how you make an Old Fashioned" and hands me a $20 bill. Just as they were leaving, the other side of the coin comes in. Nice guy, wants all kinds of things, talks beer and spirits and such with me and one of the owners for an hour until we get busy. Stays all evening. Tab at the end is $71, tips me $4.

(show hidden tics) (WmC), Sunday, 20 September 2020 15:12 (six days ago) link

I made a plum sauce (simmered down 2# of overripe plums with a scant cup of sugar, worked through a strainer and simmered some more) a few weeks ago and shared some with my daughter. She sent me a photo last night of a plum margarita with a thin slice of jalapeño, which yes please! Need to restock my Everclear supply and get some bitters components going soon.

Jaq, Sunday, 20 September 2020 16:57 (six days ago) link

That sounds terrific. Dark fruit + scovilles + tequila, yeahhhh.

(show hidden tics) (WmC), Sunday, 20 September 2020 18:09 (six days ago) link


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