Bartending in 2008

My first class teaching Bartending last night went as well as could be expected.For one thing I have 14 students who are eager to know how to mix some drinks and make some money for every reason from getting through university to one person who is opening up a restaurant / banquet hall and thinks he should know a thing or two about operating a bar.Always a good idea.

The one thing I notice is when the conversation breaks out about what someone likes to drink and it is one of which I am familiar with it sometimes has a different name to it. For example , a shot of Canadian whiskey and a beer I use to have when I visited my grandfather was called a Boilermaker. Now someone in last night’s class called it a Torpedo.

Another mentioned a Tom Collins which nowadays people do not even shake anymore they just add the gin , lemon juice , with ice in a rock glass and top it off with soda. Pretty simple but when I took the bartending course soda was never added to a Tom Collins and if it was it was called a Gin Fizz.

I ordered a Singapore Sling the other day at work and most slings I have ever made or seen done have been shaken with the gin , lemon barmix , and grenadine then poured over ice in a sling glass topped off with cherry brandy and garnished.This sling was in a rock glass with ice and gin then orange juice. I had to remind him of what went on top ( Cherry Brandy ) and the grenadine. A quick stir to spread the grenadine and away I went to serve it. No shake.

Teaching Bartending nowadays , you have to first tell the student that this is my drink recipe and that if they learn this then they will be able to make adjustments if the place they will be working make it a different way. In other words , be prepared to make a drink of the same name differently once working for an employer. Check the Recipe Book.

My main objective will be to teach them how to mix the classic cocktails like the Martini and Golden Cadillacs that have never changed over the years. Not a lot of Bartenders can make a great Martini or even know what a Golden Cadillac is.

Another thing that has evolved over the years is there are pre-mixes for everything.I remember when you had to make your own Long Island Ice Tea or Zombie but now the Bartender just pours a pre-mix and serves.

Flavoured martinis have the flavoured vodka already bottled.Just add ice and garnish. Probably some bartenders couldn’t begin to tell anyone what goes into a lot of cocktails cause of the simplicity of the pre-mix. For speed it is great. Sort of like using a calculator when all you need to know are the numbers. If you do not know how to add it doesn’t matter.

The one thing about Bartending that is consistent is it’s ability to change over the years.What was a popular drink then is now resurrected under a new name. Tastes change , habits change , customs change , bar mixes change , out with the old and in with the new.

So here starts the Bartending class for Fall 2008 when the student is the student and the teacher in this business is both the teacher and student.

What are your thoughts on Bartending in 2008?

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