You May Serve Our Drinks, But You Ain't God: Ten Etiquette Tips for Bartenders
4. Don't say you can't make something unless you really don't have the ingredients
Photo by Edsel Little
If you don't want to make Ramos Gin Fizzes, don't keep eggs in stock. If you don't want to make Mojitos, don't have mint. But if I can clearly see that you have a Southside on the menu, don't tell me you can't make me a Mojito. And don't tell me that you can't make a Bloody Mary if it's after 5 p.m. If you still have the mix, you can make one. I realize that some drinks are time consuming or disgust you or are pretty much only good for getting people drunk. But don't try to be the arbiter of good taste, 'cause it's just not going to happen. And if you're too lazy to shake a cocktail for the appropriate amount of time, go work at a beer bar.
3. Have a good attitude
I am so sick of stuffy bartenders in stuffy hipster "mixology" bars acting like they're the shit because they have control over my alcohol consumption and because they know how to make a rapid infusion with a whipped cream dispenser. That's super cool, and I'm really proud of you, but there's no need to be a pompous prick. You respect me, and I'll respect you. You can be talented and serious about your job and still be friendly and engaging. If you'd rather not stoop so low as to talk to the poor, wretched alcoholics circling your bar and asking for Red Bull cocktails, first of all, I can't really blame you, because Red Bull should never be in a cocktail. But second, you're in the wrong business.
2. Don't get drunk while on the job
I don't care if you work at a club where people are constantly buying you drinks. I work in an office where people are constantly sending us drink samples, but I don't get drunk on the job because I'm at work. When you're serving people behind the bar, you're at work, too. Be responsible. I know from experience that it can suck to be sober at a bar on a Saturday night when all your friends are there whooping it up, but it comes with the job. If you're not sober, how can you tell when someone else needs to be cut off? How can you even make a decent cocktail? How are you going to get home? If someone asks to buy you a drink, tell her you're not allowed to drink while working or that you have to stay sharp so you can keep making her awesome cocktails. And then, when you get home, help yourself to all the whiskey in your pantry.
1. Don't shake a Manhattan
Photo by Dinner Series NOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooo...
I don't care what any other bartender or cocktail book has told you. Don't fucking shake my Manhattan. Shaking a drink causes the ice cubes to break up and dilute the liquor. It also aerates the drink, and you don't want air bubbles in a heavy, smooth drink like a Manhattan. Plus, when vermouth comes into contact with air, it starts to oxidize. It won't oxidize completely just from the process of shaking it, but it won't taste the same. So don't do it. Here's a rule: If you can see through the drink, stir it. If it's opaque, shake it. End of story.