The art of bartending has long been overlooked in the event world. Any bartender worth his or her salt can make a great drink. To start things off, they should be expected to be honorable, ethical, professional and courteous. These are a given. I hope that they are also people who you’d accept a friend request from on Facebook. Where the field has gone a little lame is the continued education in several areas. In my opinion once someone has figured out how to make the drinks on the menu at his or her establishment and a few other clever shots and pours they stop learning. They do not continue to perfect their craft by learning about things such as wine pairing, mixology, safe serving standards, safe food standards, public speaking, suggestive selling not aimed at making more money but helping the customers experience and customer service.
Often the guy or gal behind the bar has been hired long ago and certainly can make a great Tom Collins and martini but the cocktail world has taken a change for the better some would say. New skills and tricks have become the norm around town in the bars and restaurants and will continue to do so. Just the same way that celebrity chefs have taken America by storm with their unique food trends, bartending mixologists have started popping up more and more. Next time at your favorite bar or restaurant (even chains) you will see a host of specialty cocktails, some a little more special than others. Some of the unique trends include liquors with a lot more sophistication, fresh herbs are a popular trend, and infused alcohols are also really popular. These drinks certainly will trickle down to the corporate events, weddings and private home events sooner than later. Most of the weddings are now seeing a specialty drink for the bride and groom and this is the most likely place to start upgrading the services. With fresh, local, organic herbs at their disposal any mixologist can enhance even the most traditional drinks. Another trend sees items frozen into the ice cubes. These hybrid ice cubes which are great for presentation may not only offer a piece of fruit waiting inside of its frozen cocoon to be devoured but often the ice cube is made with a simple syrup, fresh herbs, or other concoction adding to the flavors and smell of their unique drink. Dry ice can help the evil scientist bartender create some wonderful beverage twists as well.
Bartenders are the life of any restaurant and or bar. Why aren’t they being hired for their personality behind the bar at your wedding? I haven’t ever met someone who didn’t have something to offer and that is certainly true in the bartending world. Professional bartenders have long been sought out to fill sales roles as they have many things to keep track of, the regulars, new customers, conversations they may be a part of, food going in and out, drink orders from servers and of course changing the channel when the ball game is on. So for that reason a bartender is typically someone with their head on a swivel. Taking that a step further and identifying bartenders who are engaging and charismatic offers an added touch for your next wedding, party, corporate event or fundraiser.
I define flair bartending as bartenders who perform tricks such as pouring drinks stacked glasses from one or two feet above the drinks, flipping and catching bottles and service tins in creative patterns (think Tom Cruise in Cocktail the movie) and lighting stacked glasses on fire. This is a highly skilled bartender who takes the time to learn how to catch glassware, tins, bottles and other times behind their head, stacking martini glasses on their fore-head and pouring a drink into the very glass they are balancing on their head. They can make a huge impact on the ambiance for any party/bar.
Bartending is a craft. Lake many of the bartenders out there I saw it as a way to get through college and realized somewhere before my time was up in school it was a lifestyle, a career, a passion and a wonderful way to meet people. In my blog I will be talking about all aspects of serving. What does it mean when you are left a tip in the server book and separately there is a single penny left in the book? Why are there supposed to be 3 coffee beans in any Sambuca? Is tipping required? What is a great starter red wine? What is the difference between whiskey and whisky? There are so many ways food and drink can enhance our lives, I love discovering the mysteries behind the origins alcohol, how it is made, why it was considered taboo and where to find someone pouring a great drink, glass of wine or mug of beer, either traditionally or something brand new.
My name is Derek Behning, I want to pour a beer or cocktail for every person in Atlanta. I have been in love with the hospitality industry since I was 16 in every regard.