Are you looking to improve your bartending skills, but aren’t quite sure where to begin in terms of bartender tips?
When it comes to the restaurant and culinary arts, bartenders are perhaps the most underrated. A lot of people seem to think that all it takes to be a bartender is the ability to make a rum and coke. However, being a great bartender requires a lot of skill.
Just a chef needs to use perfect proportions to make the perfect dish, so too does a bartender need to use perfect proportions to make the perfect drink.
If you’re looking to improve your bartending skills, you’ve come to the right place.
Read on to discover how to be a great bartender.
- Learn a New Cocktail Every Day
If you want to become a better bartender, then you need to make sure you’re challenging yourself. One of the best ways to challenge yourself as a bartender is to learn how to make a new drink every day.
During your bartending shifts, you probably hear the same drinks ordered again and again. But, a lot of times, people who aren’t familiar with cocktails have no idea what they want to order. They just know they want “something sweet” or “something like a Manhattan but different”.
It’s in these moments that you can put your bartending skills to the test and grow as a bartender.
When learning new cocktails, we suggest coming up with ones of your own as well as learning to make ones that already exist. And, make sure to share your cocktails with those around you so you can figure out ways to tweak them to make them taste even better.
- Pay Attention to Mise en Place
Mise en place is actually a chef term that means “everything in place”. The idea behind mise en place is that in order for a chef to prepare the best meals possible, they need to have the right supplies ready and organized.
The same concept can be applied to bartenders. Whether you’re bartending for friends or in a restaurant, it’s very important that you have all of your bartending tools lined up before you get started.
Here are some things you’ll need for a successful bartending shift:
- Measuring tool: We suggest using a jigger, which is a tool specifically made for drinks
- Cocktail shaker: This will be your most-used bar tool, so you may want to invest in a few
- Bar spoons: These are for drinks that need to be stirred instead of shaken
- Mixing glass: This is a durable glass used for mixing drinks before serving them to customers
- Drink strainer: This is considered the cocktail shaker’s partner, and is necessary if you’re making drinks with herbs, ice or fruits that need to be strained out
- Grater: Grating various ingredients into your drinks will help you create unique flavors
- Small knife: This is necessary for cutting fruits, herbs, and other ingredients and garnishes
- Citrus juicer: Using fresh citrus juice as opposed to bottled juice will help elevate your drinks
- Pour spout: This will allow you to create a drink accurately and efficiently without making a mess
These tools will make it easier for your bartending skills to improve and shine.
- Study Up
Many books have been written throughout the years to help bartenders improve their skills. Which books you read will depend on your level of expertise as well as where you’re looking to improve.
With that being said, here are some books that offer great bartending advice:
- The Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Master Bartender
- The Joy of Mixology: The Consummate Guide to the Bartender’s Craft
- Bartending Inside-Out
- Good Spirits
- Craft Cocktails at Home
- The Everything Bartender’s Boo
- The Bartender’s Bible
- The Essential Cocktail: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks
Whether you’re looking to perfect your craft or just learn the basics of mixology, these books will help you out.
- Improve Your Customer Service Skills
If you work in a bar or restaurant, then being a great bartender means you also need to have great customer service skills in addition to being a great mixologist.
In fact, many great bartenders would argue that customer service skills are more important than mixology skills. Here are some things you can do to improve your customer service skills:
- Learn your regulars’ names and address them by their names
- Don’t be afraid to make drink suggestions
- Smile and have a positive attitude
- Keep your bar area clean
- Anticipate the needs of your customers (ie, pay attention to items that need restocking)
- Check for ID (unless this is done at the door)
- Make eye contact
- Always offer cocktail menus
- Offer a sincere greeting and farewell
- Put down cocktail napkins right away
- Secure payments immediately
- Check back on your guests and be conversational
- Offer food and make knowledgeable pairing recommendations
- Present yourself as well as you present your drinks
Also, try not to fixate too much on tips. If you focus on exemplary customer service, the big tips will start rolling in.
- Step Up Your Wine and Beer Game
Last but not least, it’s important to remember that to be a great bartender, you should know as much about wine and beer as you know about cocktails.
Now, this doesn’t mean you need to become a wine sommelier or a beer connoisseur. However, you should have a good understanding of the flavor profiles of the most popular wines and beers. You should also be able to offer recommendations in terms of what wines and beers go with what foods.
Bartender Tips: Are You Ready to Become a Better Bartender?
Now that you’ve read these bartender tips, it’s time to put them into action so you can become a better bartender. Before you know it, you’ll be slinging extraordinary cocktails left and right.
Be sure to check back in with our blog for more bartending-related tips and tricks.