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Award winning bartender and Bar Manager Boris Ivan discusses the basics of bartending and how you can improve your hospitality skills.

London, Slovakia, Czech Republic and China are, to name but a few, some of the world’s top cities where I’ve had the pleasure of building my repertoire of knowledge about all things bartending.

In last 12 years of my career, I’ve always tried to memorize which approaches or bar tricks have had the most positive feedback from my guests and here I’ve pulled out some of the key learnings from my journey.

All the great moments and all the memorable nights have added to my skills base and I want to share these skills with you.

Cocktail Collection

Whether you’re recommending cocktails or simply serving the classics, it’s important that you have an insight into each and every drink your bar serves.

I’ve learned along the way that educated bartenders who are up to speed on spirits, serves and general bartending knowledge are those individuals who have helped build the great reputation that some of the leading cocktail bars have around the world.

If you know your serves then your guests have confidence in you. Perceptions are a wonderful thing and we have the power to control these. Don’t worry if you’re starting out and trying to get your head around the recipes; it’s important that you make the client feel like you’re in control and you’ll soon become a master of your trade.

Trending Topics

Over the past few years, trends in bartending and mixology are rapidly changing, adapting and evolving and although, on the whole, this is fantastic it can also be confusing for both bartenders and guests.

Bottled cocktails, molecular gastronomy, Japanese tea ceremonies and many other influential trends are becoming part of modern mixology around the globe. These trends do help create better guest experiences but they are putting pressure on the busy bartender to produce show stopping cocktails for each and every customer.

A lot of young bartender get caught up in the techniques and forget about the balance of their drinks and it’s important that you listen to and understand your guest’s tastes so that you get their serve right each and every time.

Although it’s important that you understand what’s happening and how the industry is evolving, it’s also equally important that you get the basic skills mastered and once these are second nature then worry about the wizardry.

Guest Choices

It’s also all about helping your guests identify the drinks that are right for them and improving their experience in your bar.

Here are my tips on how to nail it each and every time…

And Finally…

Now that you’re up to speed on the A-Z of the "perfect" bartending skills, here are just a couple of new recipes to add to your repertoire:

Tanqueray No. TEN Negroni


Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with a mix of ice cubes and a small block of ice.

Stir, then strain into an Old-Fashioned glass containing a fresh block of ice.

Garnish with grapefruit zest.

JW Blue Rob Roy


Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with a mix of ice cubes and a small block of ice.

Stir, then strain into a pre-chilled single Martini glass.

Garnish with both orange zest and a cherry.

Boris started his career in the bartending industry while still at University in Slovakia. Since then he has gone on to study the art of Japanese mixology and has worked in many award winning bars around the world. If you want to get in touch with Boris for some more of his top tips, you can connect with him at info@borisivan.com or ivanboris666@yahoo.com.

(*One standard drink contains 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol)

The TANQUERAY, JOHNNIE WALKER BLUEL LABEL words and associated logos are trade marks (C) Diageo 2015.