1. You can’t polish a turd. If you start with low quality spirits and bottled juices you won’t get much.
2. If you like flavored spirits, consider making them yourself at home- it’s very easy and usually comes out much more natural tasting than artificially flavored ones.
3. You sound really, really stupid and insecure when you talk down to people.
4. There is no universal good or bad when each person has different tastes. Get to know your guest so you can give them what they think is good.
5. Consolidate steps. Work smart and hard. Clean as you go. If there’s something that can be cleaned, that means it should be cleaned.
6. There are 3 aspects to a guest’s experience: The product (food, drinks, etc.), The service, and The atmosphere.
7. A mixologist makes drinks they think are interesting. A bartender finds out what a guest would like and bases the guest’s entire experience (service, product, and atmosphere) on what that guest will enjoy most.
8. Adjust. If a guest puts on their coat, offer to adjust the thermostat. If they start yelling in their friend’s ear, turn down the music. If they don’t drink their drink, insist on making them something they’ll like. If they’re on a date, leave them alone. If they’re trying to take a picture of themselves, do it for them. If they’re drunk, call them a cab. If they’re a jerk, give them the benefit of the doubt- maybe they just lost a job or loved one.
9. You never know who you’re talking to. I’ve heard countless stories of people talking trash about a product to presidents and CEOs of said product’s company. Plus, #3.
10. Paying your dues goes further than you know. Bourbon has to sit in a barrel for years, sometimes decades before it’s ever drank. Reading a half-dozen cocktail books doesn’t make you an expert on anything.
11. When you feel like you’ve arrived or are ready to take that next step, you’re probably not. Doing things before you’re ready drastically increases the likelihood of failure. Doing the opposite ensures success.
12. If you pretend you’re the owner of the place you work, and make every decision based on that pretense, you’ve officially began self-training to be an entrepeneur.
13. Don’t ever drink while you’re on the clock.
14. Never, ever, ever shake a drink with the small shaker towards the guest.
15. Pappy Van Winkle is really good whiskey. Know the ones that are better for a lower price.
16. The following senses are to be considered when making any drink: Hangover, Smell, Taste, Sight, Feel, Sound, Buzz.
17. Cold drinks should be served in cold glasses.
18. Everyone and everything looks better in candlelight. The more candles the better.
19. It’s only a value if the guest thinks it is.
21. Less than 1% of guests are rude without solicitation or provocation. 100% of them want to get under your skin. Win.
22. You can’t be simultaneously thankful and unhappy. Remember the 99% who make bartending the best job in the universe.
23. You could be sitting behind a desk under a florescent light getting a papercut right now.
24. People that talk down to other people are insecure. If someone talks down to you, it’s probably because they’re jealous that you make good money talking to fun people with a flexible schedule and are surrounded by tons of freinds every day. If you talk down to people, see #3.
25. Local isn’t necessarily better. Organic isn’t necessarily better. Homemade isn’t necessarily better. Better is better.