train bartender

How To Train Your Bartender


So you've just had a hard evening working behind the sticks and you’re thinking the same thing you always do after a hard weekend shift. If only everyone was up to the job as much as you are yeah. It would save a lot of time and effort on your part and create more time for having fun and living the life of a bartender. Well go grab yourself a whisky, I’m sipping a Laphroig, sit back and learn how to make others be better. Let's learn How To Train Your Bartender.


Now obviously to be able to do this you are going to need the skills yourself. If you don’t feel up to speed yourself then how can you teach others? If you are unsure then go back to my 20 Commandments and immerse yourself in them every shift and it won’t take you long to move up that ladder and become an expert in your field.


  1. Split ‘em up


The first thing you got to do is split that team up in your mind or on a very carefully hidden piece of paper. Bartenders do not like to know that they are the worst there. But the truth is that we all have varying degrees of skill. We all know the bartender that is brilliant with a customer but as soon as the heat is turned up and we have a wait on to be served they drop like Miley Cyrus. Their smile goes and in turn so does everything else. Then again on the opposite side of the spectrum we have those bartenders who are at home with dozens of drunk patrons all trying to get served at the same time but leave them alone with the couple at the end of the bar on a quiet Tuesday afternoon and they will be so awkwardly lost for words they end up saying something inappropriate and finish up the rest of the shift in the keg room kicking themselves.

So how we going to split them…? Easy, into three groups. Beginners – Average – Best at your bar




Now we can see that most of our bartenders fall in to the ‘average’ category. We have four who are classed as the ‘best in our bar’ and three who are beginners and are not as competent as the rest.


Okay so grab a pen and paper and do that for your bar.


  1. The Average Joe’s


Now for a bit of human psychology. The obvious way to train these guys is to focus on those beginners. Well don’t, just don’t. imagine investing all your time into these guys and ending up with nothing but an average bar team with a few still at the top because they have never been challenged, the best when they stay the best become lazy at the top or not challenged enough you will find them moving on to new bars where the grass seems greener for them.

This is what you do. You take the names of all those that fit into the ‘Average’ section and you work out the specific needs for that person. It is important to only train one thing at a time. It can be broad or it can be specific but it needs to be one thing at a time. These small goals will help YOU feel as though you are really starting to make a dent into increasing the knowledge of your team.

But why am I training the Average people?

When you train the average crowd it does three things.

  • It pushes those at the top. When they see people catching up with them they are scared they are going to be caught and they up their overall game. Which in turn creates new aspirations for the rest of the staff.
  • The ‘average’ bunch becomes your tools to use behind the bar on a day to day basis. Remember when we said that you are not to train the beginners? Well this is because you have made their progress the ‘Average’ guys responsibility. This increase in knowledge and the increase in responsibility they are getting from becoming mentors will catapult both groups through the ranks
  • The beginners see a pack moving away from them and leaving them behind. This triggers the question asking and the intent for learning thus creating a great baseline team for your self to work with



So as you can see we have moved the whole team up. And its only up again from here

Grab your staff list; it’s time to work out that one thing for now that each individual needs work on.



  1. How To Train


The most effective way to train is to have patience. There is no quick fire method that is guaranteed to work. What is guaranteed though is that you get out of training what you put in. remember working smart is better than working hard.

Every person in the world learns a little differently to the next person. But every person in the world can learn and that is a fact.

Have a look at this diagram then the explanation below.


CYCLICALWhat is the Purpose?

You cannot train an adult without the purpose. If you tell a child to jump up and down then they most likely will. They will also smile and laugh while they are doing it. Ask an adult to jump up and down and they will ask why? Its only when you tell them there is a deadly spider crawling around their feet will they jump around like crazy trying to get out of the way. It’s just the way our brains are wired.  So why is it important that we stock up the beer fridges at the end of the night? Because we have too is not a good enough answer. So we have cold beers in the morning for the first customer. Once a purpose as leant it’s wait to an action then it sticks in our mind as a must do, it adds a responsibility to the action. The bartender now thinks, “I must remember to stock up tonight otherwise the regular in the morning won’t have his cold beer and it would be my fault”.



Simply this is showing the trainee either a skill in action or how you want them to behave. Show them as if they were to mirror your actions



So we have already showed them how we want something to be done. Let’s carry on the analogy of stocking up the beers at the end of the night. The shift before we have showed them how to place the beers in, to check dates for stock rotation, we have shown them the fridge plan and where the warm beers are kept. Now this shift we tell them to do the same as the night before and we watch from a distance or we follow them closely without interfering depending on their learning styles.



We have shown and we have told. Now it’s time to ask. We are not asking a direct question here. We are asking them, in this analogy, if there is anything else left for them to do. Push them for the answer.  “Yes, I have just got to go and stock up the fridges” and again we watch



The most important aspect of your training regime is this part. Refrain yourself from doing the ‘ask’ part again. It’s difficult but you have got to do it. This is where you are looking for them to complete an action without your prompt. Pay close attention to them, if they don’t do it then they are yet to create a habit in their brains. And so we must start again from the show phase straight away.

This is where your patience can be tested but if you persevere it will save you a lot of headaches down the line. Imagine coming into work and everything is perfect, just perfect. As in you couldn’t of done it better yourself.


If your trainee as completed it correctly that congratulations you can move on to the other things you need to train them on or other people who need your help. You have successfully created a habit that will be very hard for them to break


Remember always train the purpose and stick to the cyclical nature. You will not always be there to babysit. You need a holiday as well right. 

And that's how to train your bartender. Don't give up if it seems hard. Once the lessons are ingrained your life will become a lot easier.




Any questions leave them below


Read, Drink and be inspired


The Perfect Daiquiri


At best bet i would say that there is only a handful of real bartenders left in the world.Now what i mean by that is a bartender who understands the concepts that are involved in making a simple drink well. It's an art form and is forgotten by many early on. One of those skills is making the perfect Daiquiri.

I read an article today by one of the chief drinks writers at esquire magazine, in which the guy in question as taken to having the recipe to a simple Daiquiri printed on the back to give to bartenders to get it the way he wants. All because he believes, as i do, that simple is better. so next time you are in a bar and ask for a Daiquiri and the bartender replies by asking whether or not you want that frozen or not and how much raspberry do you want in it, you have my permission to look them straight in the eye insult their mother and walk away before it becomes too much for you.

Remember young bartender...

Simple is better. Learn this unwritten rule right now and it will help you ten-fold when you progress.  


First we will have a look at the origin of the Daiquiri because it would be rude not to respect it.

Please note that many people have laid claim to inventing the Daiquiri from Cuban bar men to  American miners, but as always its the ingredients that deserve the praise. Rum and Citrus as had a long standing pairing since well before pesky settlers inhabited the foreign lands.


Cuba has a very complex past. Most of us only know of it as a Cold War foe of the United States, a very foreign country only a hundred miles away. It has been that way since Castro took power in the late 1950’s. First discovered by Christopher Columbus and claimed for Spain, this small island has been coveted by other countries for its entire history. It has a temperate climate, making it great for growing crops, and a location that was excellent for a stopping point after several months at sea. Spain was the primary owner of the island through most of its history, but it was not without a fight. The rich land attracted pirates and privateers from Britain and France to steal what treasures they could from Spanish ships. Once Spain allowed some flexibility in the colony’s trade, the floodgates opened and money came pouring into the coffers. They were filled primarily by two different crops; tobacco and sugar. Tobacco was very easy to process. Sugar was not. There was a complex system used to create sugar crystals, and the leftover molasses was a sticky mess to discard. This sets the backdrop for the creation of one of the finest cocktails in modern history: the Daiquiri.

During the turbulent struggle for naval supremacy, Spain and England traded blows around the edges of South America, the Caribbean, and anywhere there was water and unclaimed territory. Both sides used whatever means possible, including pirates and privateers, to gain an advantage in the resource rich Americas. The British were struggling to expand their foothold in the Americas; Spain was struggling to maintain the land they had, and the resources it was providing the ailing empire. The British were also struggling to stay sober on the seas. The sailors were provided a gallon of beer a day through a law passed in the 17th century. Due to the massive amount of beer they had to supply to a military force 4,500 miles away, a pint of rum was considered a fair substitute. It was easier to get, but far more potent. It was not until 1740 that someone was able to sober up the navy. Admiral Edward “Old Grog” Vernon ordered that the rum ration be mixed with water and citrus juice (usually limes) to dilute the potent spirit. This gave the English the edge of fighting a little more sober, and healthier. It also is one of the earliest known instances of the combination of lime juice, water, and rum, the base of what would become a Daiquiri.

Spain survived the encounters with Britain and held on to many of its American acquisitions for over a century, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, and other islands a little too close to home for us. It did not sit well with a United States eager to enforce the Monroe Doctrine, asking European powers to kindly stay on their own side of the world. The biggest of the conflicts caused by this was the Spanish-American War, and Cuba had a starring role to play. They were seeking independence from Spain, and Colonel Theodore Roosevelt advocated helping them achieve it. The U.S. landed troops on a beach named Daiquiri, just a short distance away from an iron mine in Santiago. This “splendid little war” allowed the United States to occupy Cuba and do what Spain had done for centuries before; profit from the vast resources of the island.

One of the people making a healthy profit was Jennings Cox. He was one of the first iron miners on the island once it was safe, and generally credited with creating the original Daiquiri. The story goes that while he was entertaining guests one night, he ran out of the gin everyone was enjoying. He went out and purchased the easiest liquor he could find, which was rum. Adding lemons, sugar, mineral water, and ice to the rum, he turned it into a punch for his guests. They loved it, and wanted to know what the name of it was. He did not have a name for it; it should have been called a rum sour according to the conventions of the day. Cox did not feel that was good enough for such a fine drink, so he named it for the nearby beach and called it Daiquiri.


So Daiquiri was a mistake i can hear you shouting. No not a mistake, the drink already existed its just this fat cat stumbled upon it by mistake. Nevertheless, we can credit Mr Jennings Cox for bringing it to the rich palate.


The Recipe - Taken from Difford's Guide (the best i have ever tasted) 

Daiquiri black back ground

75 ml of a  good quality white rum. 

22 ml of freshly squeezed lime juice - see tip below

15 ml Sugar syrup

15 ml chilled water (omit if wet ice) 

2 slice of lime peel


The bitterness of the lime zests are the key in this drink. so peel the lime before squeezing to get your juice then take from the whole peel two slices of the lime zest and add it to a Boston glass with all the ingredients and shake. Fine strain into a chilled martini glass. and there you are, the best, the boldest and the more importantly the simplest.

Read, Drink and Be Inspired


The Need For Speed


Two of the most frequently asked questions that I am asked as a bar trainer is What makes a good bartender? And how can I become a better bartender? Suggestions for the first have included personality, confidence and sense of humour - all well and good but I can't see managers holding a personality training session can you? In fact there are four basic skills groups a bartender must practice and master. Firstly knowledge of products, recipes and the tools needed; secondly the ability to make good drinks at speed; thirdly to make the drinks with a defined style; and finally to be aware of the etiquette of drinks, drinking and service. The answer to the second question above lies in the answer to the first... identify your weak skills and work on them!!. Lets help you to become better bartenders, lets look at how we can make you guys faster!


As we are all aware customers have a different sense of time to real people. One minute in real time feels like five minutes of customer time. So an unacknowledged customer or one who waits whilst the bartender leisurely makes drinks is an unhappy customer which makes unhappy managers which leads to unemployed bartenders. This is not good.
Of course a good bartender will always acknowledge a guest (if you remember that shops have customers and bars have guests and treat them accordingly you are already on the way to bartender heaven) to make them feel welcome and important. This is common sense. But the tricks of the trade about making drinks quickly are less obvious for the novice and in many cases the old pros. Put at their basic level the 10 commandments of quick drink making are:
1. use both hands. God gave you two so use them both. Freepour simultaneously, add a straw whilst filling up with a mixer, start ringing the order  into the till whilst pouring.
2. Freepour or die. No system in the world is quicker than the freepour, as long as it is done accurately ( and if not accurately then not at all).

3. The Set-up. Everything in the bar has its place and it should always be there. The secret to devastating speed is not having to look for anything because you know where it is (blindfold bartending anyone?)

4. Clean and prep as you go. You may think it is quicker to just bang drinks out and wait to clean shakers, get more change etc ... big mistake. A good bartender knows that they should be as close to perfect set-up all the time and will try to keep it like that.

5. Consolidate orders. Ask two or three customers for their orders to allow you to make drinks simultaneously. If you consolidate then you do the same actions less times which equals more speed.

6. Consider the 'working order'. Drinks which take the longest should be started first (blended ones especially) and the ones which take the least time should be done last.

7. Keep busy. Steady beats Busy's arse every time. If you work quickly and steadily all night rather than 'turn it on' when you have to then you'll do better... after all you don't go from first gear to fifth straight away in a car do you? work smart not hard, you need to have time to have fun.

8. Remember that it is efficiency of movement rather than speed of movement that matters... teamwork when it comes to moving in a busy bar is important or multi-tasking and only making one journey instead of many... the multi bottle pickup from the speedwell is a good example.

9. Always be practicing your speed... look at every order as a challenge.

10. Know your prices, your recipes and your customers...people respect a hardworking bartender who doesn't have to go to the till, doesn't have to look in a book and remembers what they had last time.


Speed is one of the most obvious skills needed for a bartender... a drink will always taste better if it doesn't take a long time to arrive and if one follows the basic rules and, most importantly, practice, then you can make great tasting drinks in half the time, make more money for your bar and/or you and in fact keep guests entertained... everyone likes watching a slick hard working bar team and despises a bar filled with sauntering dickheads who couldn't give a shit.

Cocktail History

History Of Cocktail Culture



History of Cocktail Culture


For as long as people have been drinking Alcohol, they have been mixing drinks. This dates back at least 10,000 years. From beer spiked with intoxicants to Wine infused with Thyme, it’s fair to say that the desire both to increase mood-altering effects of booze and to improve the taste have been with the human race for millennia and it doesn't seem to be leaving us quickly. It used to be that cocktails were for girls and rich men who bought them for girls who liked rich men.

Things have changed, for the better! A cocktail in hand is a must, lets look into how we got to be in this great cocktail age we now live in.


A long time ago.

The arrival of sugar opened up a new era for producing drinks. By medieval times the rich were spicing up their ales with sugars & spices from the Middle East, where sugar originates from (India). In fact they loved sugar so much that women would regularly blacken their own teeth in order to give the impression that they could afford so much sugar that their teeth were rotten. so any excuse for adding extra sugar was snapped up by these medieval hipsters in the form of drinks.


Fast forward...

By Shakespearean times mixing drinks was big news. Probably the most enduring cocktail produced found its origins in India –

Punch. Based on 5 ingredients, Spirit, Sugar, Water, Citrus juice & spices. Crudely similar to the cocktails of today... It made it sway into the theater culture and cocktail drinking was worn as a badge of honour when impressing socially.


Fast forward...

At the turn of the 19th century, just as the word cocktail was making it’s print debut, many significant developments were also made. such as by 1800 Ice became for sale in America. A big plus for the bartender.

In the middle of the 19th Century in North America the production of other spirits and liqueurs began. Among the immigrants were people from all over Europe who implemented their knowledge of distillation in their new home. The world needs immigrants.

Around the turn of the century, the American Bar was already an integral part of life in American society. The import routes from Old Europe worked, and many spirits came into the country, and with it came the American enjoyment and pleasure of experimentation with nothing standing in the way. There were countless cocktails invented, many of which died a death, but some became world famous.

in 1967 Artificial Carbonation was achieved & refrigeration arrived on the scene. These are all developments which aided the cocktail to be brought to a mass global market, and from then it’s popularity became infinitely expandable.

For me the link as always been between cocktails and the fashion of the day. James Bond drinks Martinis (Vespers to be exact) and girls wearing 'cocktail' dresses. Young desirable couples on their way to cocktail parties etc... etc...


Put simply. Drinking a cocktail makes you look better...


(this is very brief and designed to make you look at the drink in front of you and be inspired to find out more)


ernest hemmingway

Because everyone wants to be Ernest


But where does the word 'cocktail' come from? comment below with the most plausible in your head.


The dictionary should be able to tell us but my guess is that the monk that was doing the writing at the time was too drunk to spell it so gave up as the word Cocktail’s origins are lost according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Some possible Explanations are:


Cock-ale was an old English ale, spiced with a ground-up red cockerel mixed in – the word became applied to other drinks (Containing niether of these ingredients) and gained a T.


In a Mexican Tavern, English Sailors noticed that mixed drinks were stirred with the root of a plant known as colo de gallo, or in English ‘Cock’s Tail’. The Sailors brought the name to England and thence the US.


There are many more suggestions as to the origin of the word. what do you think it originates from?




Just About Everything You Will Need To Know About Tequila



What is Tequila?

Tequila is a Blue Agave-based spirit made primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, 40 miles northwest of Guadalajara, and in the highlands (Los Altos) of the western Mexican state of Jalisco.

The red volcanic soil in the surrounding region is particularly well suited to the growing of the blue agave, and more than 300 million of the plants are harvested there each year.

Tequila is most often made at a 38–40% alcohol content (76–80 proof), but can be produced between 35–55% alcohol content (70–110 proof). Though most tequilas are 80 proof, many distillers will distill to 100 proof and then dilute it with water to reduce its harshness. Some of the more well respected brands distill the alcohol to 80 proof without using additional water as a diluter.


Brief History-

The origins of Tequila date back to 250-300 AD when Aztec Indians first fermented the juice of Agave plants to make ceremonial wines. This original wine was called ‘pulque’ and was made by fermenting the sap (aguamiel – honey water) from the heart of the Agave. The yeasts used originally were naturally found in the air and produced a wine of 8-12% abv. In 1519, the Spanish conquered Mexico and brought the technology of distillation with them, which they had learned from the Moors. Within ten years of being in Mexico, they had probably started to make the first rough Agave spirits known as Mezcal or Mescal wine. Over the following years, the techniques were improved and modernized with new laws governing the production and labeling of Tequila to protect the national spirit of Mexico.


Mescal is the name for any spirit made from the Agave plant. There are over 200 different types of Agave in Mexico. Only one specific type is allowed if it is to be called Tequila – Agave tequilana Weber azul (the Blue Agave). The Agave is a member of the lily (Amaryllis) family, although it is often mistaken for a cactus. Mezcal can use any type of Agave from wild to farmed varieties. Bacanora must use the Agave yaquiana and be made in Sonora in the north of Mexico. Sotol must use the Agave dasylirion wheeleri and is made in the northern states of Chihuahua and Durango. Tequila must be made in clearly defined and specific areas – the entire state of Jalisco and areas in the states of Guanajuanto, Michoacan, Nayarit and Tamaulipas.

Each distillery that adheres to production regulations is given a NOM number (Norma Oficial Mexicana de Calidad). The regulatory body known as ‘The Consejo Regulador del Tequila’ awards this NOM. It was established in 1978 and is made up of Agave growers, Tequila producers and representatives of federal government. All brands of 100% blue Agave Tequila will have a NOM on the label. It is not a guarantee of quality, only of authenticity.

Blue Agave is grown in orchards called potreros, campos de agave or huertas and are planted in long rows like grapevines. The Blue Agave takes between eight and twelve years to reach maturity. Between the third and sixth year of growth, shoots (mecuates or hijuleos) are removed from the ‘mother’ plant to propagate new plants. At maturity, a tall flower stalk begins to grow from the middle of the Agave. This growth is cut off, which forces the sap to remain in the heart of the plant (or the piña). This piña then swells to an un-natural size ripening ready for harvest. Most ripe piñas weigh between 70 and 200lb at the time of harvest, although some specimens have been recorded as heavy as 400lb. At harvesting (jima), the long, sharp, spiky leaves (pencas) are removed (barbeo) by the harvesters (jimadores) using long handled knives (coas). This exposes the piña, which looks a lot like a giant pineapple and one can tell it is mature and ready when red, bloodlike spots start to appear on the pina.

The harvested piñas are sliced into sections before being steam baked traditionally in a stone oven (‘horno’) or more recently in a stainless steel container (autoclave). The baking takes between 24 and 72 hours in a hornos and 8-14 hours in an autoclave.. The baking process converts the starchy sap in the piña into sugars such as fructose and glucose that can be fermented. Many believe that the real taste of the tequila is only imparted when the traditional method is used. The piñas are left to cool for 24- hours and are then crushed in a traditional stone mill called a ‘Chilean Mill’ or ‘tahona’. This mill is made from a circular stone pit with a stone wheel pulled around the pit by an ox or donkey. Modern distilleries now use industrial crushing machines to do the job, as they are quicker and more consistent.

The Agave sugary sap is then transferred with some Agave fibres (bagazo) to white oak vats or stainless steel tanks where water is added. Fermentation juice from the previous batch is mixed in to give a consistency and continuity of flavour. After mixing the previous juice, some is taken out ready for the next batch. The older methods of fermentation use natural yeasts present in the air to start the chemical processes. The modern methods use cultivated yeast strains as they, again, give a greater continuity to the product. The fermentation takes between 36 and 72 hours. At this stage of Tequila production, the liquid is known as ‘mosto’ and is roughly 5-7% alcohol.

The ‘mosto’ is then double distilled in copper pot stills. The first distillation (or destrozameinto) makes a product called ‘ordinario’ which is roughly 20% abv. Only after the second distillation can it be called Tequila. A handful of distillers distill a third time (e.g. Corralejo). The Tequila leaves the still after the second distillation at around 40-55% abv. As with most other spirits, the heads (cabeza) and tails (cola) of the distillate are cut from the heart and re-distilled with the mosto while the heart ( el corazon) is used for . It takes roughly 8kg of agave to make 1 litre of 100% tequila
Tequila is categorized according to percentage of Agave spirit and the length of time it has spent in wood.

Mixto – A spirit that is a blend of no less than 51% blue Agave. The other 49% can be molasses, brown sugar or any other sugar type.

100% Agave aka Tequila – A pure blue Agave Tequila. No sugar can be added during production and no other spirit can be blended in after distillation.


Blanco – Also known as ‘silver’, ‘plata’, ‘blanco’ or ‘white’ Tequila. It is clear but can be aged in oak for up to 60 days.

Gold – Also known as ‘oro’ or ‘joven abocado’ (‘young and corrupted’), gold Tequila is made in the same way as Blanco tequila only with the addition of caramel flavour and colour tho it can also have a blend of aged tequilas within it.. This colour is added to suggest age and add smoothness..

Reposado – This term literally means ‘rested’. A reposado Tequila is aged for between 60 days and one year in wooden barrels or larger tanks (‘pipons’)

Anejo – Mexican law states that if a Tequila bears this title, it must be aged in government (CRT) sealed oak barrels for over one year. The barrels must be no larger than 600 litres. The most popular type of barrels are old Bourbon casks.

Sangrita & Verdita

Sangrita (meaning “little blood”), whose origin dates back to the 1920s, is a customary partner to a shot of straight tequila blanco; a non-alcoholic accompaniment that highlights tequila's crisp acidity and cleanses the palate between each peppery sip. The basic conception of sangrita is to complement the flavor of 100% agave tequila, which is also peppery and citrusy in taste.

Traditionally, sangrita is served with tequila blanco, but it can also accompany tequila reposado. The tequila and sangrita are each poured into a separate shot glass (or caballito) and the two are alternately sipped, not chased. Sangrita is used in a drink known as "The Mexican Flag", where three separate double shot glasses are filled with lime juice, tequila and sangrita.

Real sangrita from the Lake Chapala region of Jalisco is made with Seville orange, lime and pomegranate juices, with chili powder or hot sauce added for heat. However, many popularized modern sangrita recipes have included a good amount of tomato juice in the mix. There is no set rule on what sangrita should contain, but it can feature a blend of orange, lime, tomato and/or pomegranate juices, or pomegranate-based grenadine with the addition of something spicy (hot sauce or fresh/dried chili), and sometimes white onion and salt

(Mezcal is also made from the blue agave plant – but it doesn’t have to have to be from a specified region.  Mezcal also has the worm in it – not tequila) a bit like how Prossecco is champagne but because it’s not from the champagne region of France it is called sparkling wine.


What do you guys want to see next? leave a comment and let us know!