|Gives new meaning to sideways. I can't figure out how to rotate this darn thing!|
Let me get this out of the way first... There is no booze on the premises. I repeat, they are dummy bottles and we aren’t working with the real stuff. Part of me was seriously bummed when I discovered this as I was hoping to taste my mistakes and successes. It's part of learning after all. On the flip side, the course would need to be a month long just to get all the work done if we were drinking too.
Bartending School has been interesting. When I signed up for the week long class, I of course realized that Murray Stenson would not be the one teaching us the how-to of mixology. That being said, I’m a little surprised that it is geared toward the lowest common denominator. I feel like such a snob for saying that, but allow me to explain. My knowledge base is naturally higher from working in the industry, ordering cocktails for myself, playing around at home, blah, blah, blah. My counterparts have a) never worked in a restaurant or bar, b) are recovering drug/alcohol addicts (I kid you not), or c) entry level hospitality workers hoping to get a pay increase. So the education offered is geared towards a much broader scope of bartending.
While the cocktails I’m practicing are not ones I will ever serve in my own bar, I am learning helpful systems and interesting tid-bits. These come to mind immediately:
· Free Pours: this just means that I do not need to use a jigger to measure my pours any longer. It’s super easy. Just get a shot glass/jigger and count to four while filling it up. You want to have the timing down to a four count as this will help in the other measurements. 1 shot = 1 ounce. Therefore a one count equals a quarter ounce, two counts equals a half ounce, etc. SO helpful.
· Speed Racks: GENIUS! You put your house pours right at your fingers. The school has far more bottles than we’ll ever use but the premise works great. You also keep the bottles in the same order every time so that you don’t even need to look at them when you grab ‘em. They utilize Tequila, Scotch, Brandy, Whiskey, Gin, Vodka, Rum, Triple Sec. There is even a little saying to help the bartenders remember the order: The Smartest Bartender Will Get Very Rich Tonight.
· Garnish! Before the class, I’d forget the straws, lime wedge, sugar rim, etc. Not now! It is both a functional aspect of the drink and visual aesthetic.
· Efficiency: The knowledge of your own bar is paramount. Know where everything is. Keep it in the same place. In only a few days working my station at school I barely need to look and just inherently know where things are kept. Imagine a busy night and not knowing where everything is!
· History of terms and drinks. I’ll have some good fodder for a few postings on how certain drinks and other related industry terms came to be.