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It’s that time of the evening when you have multiple drink orders and a queue of customers… so are there any techniques that top bartenders use to deliver fast and quality service? Well, leading bartender Andrej Malic has the answer! Here, Andrej takes us through some of his top bartending hacks that everyone should know.

1) Speed rail setup

Hack: Line up your speed rail with the ingredients in the order they are used to create a cocktail.

Why: Minimizes the waste and potential mistakes during busy hours.

Traditionally, you would set up spirits next to each other, but I found that by putting the spirit and modifier that you use in the same cocktail next to each other, it reminds you what to pour next and minimizes mistakes made during busy times.

Of course, if you have an extensive menu with hundreds of drinks using the same ingredients, it is much more difficult. But if you have a signature craft menu, it can be a great way to speed up service.

For example, I have very popular cocktail with Johnnie Walker Gold Label, Limoncello, orange juice and cinnamon syrup. So, my cinnamon syrup is next to the orange juice in a well, and Limoncello is just next to the Johnnie Walker Gold Label in a speed rail.

2) Double jigger

Hack: Use two jiggers at the same time.

Why: Speeds up service but keeps consistency.

Free pouring was a big trend for many years, especially in busy bars and with bartenders who practice flair. It’s a good way to speed up the service, but you end up sacrificing the quality of the drinks as there is no bartender in the world who can consistently free pour every time.

In my opinion, using a jigger is the only way to guarantee quality and consistency at all times and it also makes you look more professional. I know a jigger is slower and you have to use different jiggers and measures to make sure each drink is made properly, but there is a trick to help solve this problem.

You can practice using two jiggers at the same time, and even rotating them in one hand on different sides while you are putting your bottle back on the speed rail. If you master this method, it will guarantee all your drinks are made according to standards and with the right measures. Plus, you will look confident and professional while not spending any more time than you would spend if you were free pouring and risking quality and consistency.

3) Make your homemade syrups last longer

Hack: Add a splash of Vodka to your syrups.

Why: Helps make homemade syrups last longer.

In a craft bar, homemade syrups are the way to go—every decent bar has their own grenadine, homemade orgeat, cinnamon, or any other syrup.

Most regular simple syrups have a shelf life of around one month or so, then it goes bad. Some other syrups like the fruit or tea based syrups can spoil in under a week if kept out of the fridge during service time.

To extend the shelf life of all your syrups, just add a splash of Vodka to the batch. Alcohol will prevent mold from forming and extend the shelf life for couple of weeks or more.

4) Add saline to drinks

Hack: Add saline to your serves.

Why: Makes your drinks taste better.

Adding a small amount of saline can make a world of difference to your drinks. Saline is a salt and water solution in a 1:10 ratio. Add a few drops to each serve by using an ex-bitters bottle or eye dropper. It caught my eye the first time I read about it and didn't make much sense, but when I tried the same cocktail with few drops of saline and without, I noticed the difference straight away!

Get practicing

I hope these tips and tricks will help you in all your future endeavors behind the bar. The end result should be better and more consistent drinks, fewer mistakes and faster service, hopefully leading to more happy guests—the ultimate goal of the hospitality business!