Cocktails… a ‘fancy’ alcoholic beverage that most people enjoy to drink, but not so much make. Drinking cocktails is easy enough to do, however making them is a different story. It can be a very slow process if you’ve never made a cocktail before. One shot, two shot, ice… what’s next?
If you love drinking cocktails, it could be fair to say you’d probably enjoy working in a cocktail bar too (maybe). When applying for jobs within bars, whether that be cocktail bars or your typical pub bar, a lot will require you to have cocktail making experience. But what if you don’t have experience or don’t know how to make a cocktail? Well, that can be easily fixed with a few simple steps that will be covered below.
What does it take to work in a cocktail bar?
Firstly, before you learn how to make a cocktail you want to learn how to be the best bartender. The art of cocktail making is important, however so is the customer service that goes with it.
Bar work can require certain traits in a person. Working behind a bar can mean working with people who have been drinking. This can sometimes mean heavily intoxicated people and rowdy people. Which at times can be difficult to handle. Here are some of the main traits you will need when working within a bar.
Working in a bar can be both fun and testing, but it does require patience. You will constantly be working around alcohol and intoxicated people. Some people become rowdy, overly confident and loud when they drink. Alcohol affects everyone differently and you will need patience to be able to handle this.
Bar work requires you to be a people person as you will be working around new people every day. To be a successful bartender you will need to be able to engage with customers. Customers will often want to talk, this could be about their life, their problems or anything topical. You don’t necessarily have to have conversations with them, however it’s best to show some interest and acknowledge what they’re saying.
Being passionate about your work will show through your performance and most importantly, the cocktails and drinks you make. As well as your customer service. If you’re not passionate about your job it will more than likely reflect on your customers and your performance. Which is not what you or your employee will want.
A sense of humour
If you’ve been around intoxicated people before you would probably know what they can be like sometimes. When working in a bar it’s best to have some sort of sense of humour, or at least not take everything seriously. Plus, customers will often love to be able to have a laugh with staff. Especially regular customers.
Time to talk about cocktail making
Now that we’ve covered the basic traits of cocktail bartending, let’s learn how to make a cocktail. Or to be more precise, the steps to take to learn how to make a cocktail.
Becoming a great cocktail bartender and making the best cocktails can take time. Firstly you want to start off by learning how to make the classic well-known cocktails. Such as; Espresso Martini, Mojito, Pina Colada, Long Island Iced Tea, Margarita and more.
In addition, a great way to learn how to make cocktails is to take a cocktail course. This course will provide you with the skills and knowledge required to prepare and serve a range of cocktails. As well as help you to land a job within a cocktail bar.
The basic tools needed to make a cocktail
The first tool needed, even though not all bartenders would use this tool, is a jigger. Experienced bartenders may not use this tool as they’re used to free pouring. However, as a beginner you should definitely use a jigger. A jigger is a measuring tool that is used to measure liquid. This is an important tool as balance is important when making cocktails. You don’t want to have too much or too little of something as it will throw off the whole drink.
The shaker is a simple yet important tool. This tool is required for any drink that needs to be mixed/shaken. The most common shaker that bartenders use is a Boston shaker.
The next important tool is a strainer. Some shakers may come with a built in strainer and some may not. A strainer is to be used after shaking a drink, it helps to ensure that all fruits and herbs don’t end up in the final product. Simply place the strainer on top of the shaker whilst pouring the drink into a glass.
A simple, yet very important tool. A bar spoon is a metal spoon with a long and spiral handle that is used for stirring drinks. Some bar spoons will also have a handle on the end which is used to muddle herbs.
Time to start making cocktails
Now that you know all the basics of cocktail bartending service as well as the basic tools to make a cocktail, it’s time to learn how to make one! Although there are plenty of books and articles with step to step guides on how to make a cocktail. The best way to learn is by completing a cocktail course (Prepare and Serve Cocktails). This will not only give you that hands on practice with a qualified trainer. But, also provide you with a nationally recognised training certificate. Which will be beneficial when it comes to applying for jobs. You may not have that on the job experience yet, but you’ll be as close to it as you can get!
Furthermore, HITsa Training and Employment offer a Prepare and Serve Cocktails Course – enrol online today. Most importantly, if you’re looking to work behind a bar you will need to complete your RSA course first.
Lastly, if you’re looking for work check out our online jobs board where you can find a range of; hospitality, security, admin and aged care jobs.