The Key to Developing Your Bartender Style
Bar owner Marian Beke shares insights on how bartenders can develop their creativity, craft and flair to create a unique and top-class bartending style.
By-line: Marian Beke, Bar Owner
Estimated read time: 3 minutes
Unlock your unique bartender style
Bar owner Marian Beke shares insights and tips on how bartenders can develop their creativity, charisma, flair, and cocktail-making skills to create a unique and top-class bartending style.
Creativity Versus Distraction
With our screens, tv, advertising and social media demanding our attention, it can be easy to go with the status quo and forget to take the time to develop our creativity and craft.
These are the moments when I go back to basics and ask myself, what do my customers need? Do they want to see all the flair and skill that comes with cocktail making, or would they prefer me to get down to business and continue perfecting the taste of the cocktails I serve?
When I started working as a cocktail bartender, my inspiration was the movies and the screen legends preparing cocktails shaken, stirred, on and off the rocks, and everything in between.
While trying to emulate Hollywood icons, it went over my head that someone had to drink the concoctions I'd dreamt up from the other side of the bar. I had overlooked the importance of my style and the uniqueness of my bartending skills and following the status quo had caught up with me.
The Customer is Always Right
I've learned that it's essential to remember who is footing the bill and to stay focused on today's guests, their tastes, curiosities and expectations.
Nowadays, people are more educated and informed about quality, especially when it comes to their drinks. Customers have a better, more knowledgeable idea of what they like and don't like, and for many guests, the two priorities are a unique experience and value for money. It takes a healthy mix of a bartender's flair, knowledge and quality cocktail building to create this experience.
How much flair is too much?
If you're asking this question, it might be a good time to go back to basics and remember your goals and where your inspiration for cocktail-making came from. Ask yourself, how does style fit what I'm aiming to achieve?
What does style mean to you?
- Style as a bartender could be dedicating time to flair like a sport or dance where routines and techniques work together in perfect harmony.
- Style could be craftsmanship built over time, working long shifts in street bars, serving the same drinks all night to perfect your technique.
- Perhaps style to you is neither of the above, but more about entertainment and performance behind the bar over and above the quality and speed of the serve.
I think it’s important to note that everyone has their ideas, their own charisma, made in their own way.
Style Takes Time
Picture an older gentleman in a white suit, stirring a martini while listening to live piano. Or the back street bartender who is unkempt in their hipster style yet winning awards for their skill.
Every bartender is unique, with their ideas, charisma, creativity and imagination. Style comes with time, building experience and knowledge gradually and adding skills to draw out our unique strengths.
When your style and abilities combine to serve high-quality drinks to your guests, you will no doubt stand out from the crowd, and your guests will enjoy a truly memorable experience.
Hone your skills, develop your knowledge and stay ahead of industry trends when you sign up to the Diageo Bar Academy.
- Go back to basics and ask the question, what do my customers need? Do they want to see all the flair and skill that comes with cocktail making, or is it conserving your energy into perfecting the taste of the cocktail?
- When developing your own style, it’s important to consider today's guest tastes, curiosities and expectations. Nowadays, Customers have a better, more knowledgeable idea of what they like and don't like.
- As a bartender you may want to either dedicate specific time to flair, akin to training for a sport or dance, or build up your style over time during long work shifts, serving the same drinks all night to perfect your technique.
- Style can be more about entertainment and performance behind the bar over and above the quality and speed of the serve.
- Remember that honing your style can take time; it’s important to get as much experience and knowledge in the industry that will then allow you to identify your own unique offering.