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Long nights, tired legs and aching muscles from pouring, shaking and stirring are some of the tell-tale signs of being a bartender. Then there are some less obvious ones that may sound all too familiar!

You’re Silently Judging

Your night off has finally come around and you’re meeting a group of friends at a local hot spot. You may not say it out loud but you’re either secretly judging the bartender as he/she pours your drink, or your friends as they ask for their drink of choice (or both!). Don’t worry, it’s completely normal to pay attention to these types of details… Probably best to keep that judging to yourself though!

You’re a Numbers Person

Numbers are your strong point and you can often calculate a bar tab faster than the till! Being a good bartender means being fast at adding up the price of drinks when the bar is packed three-people deep. You’re also aware of the upsell but are still grappling with how best to introduce it in your bar. Learn more about The Art of the Upsell and how to introduce it more naturally to guests.

You Get Hangry

When working at a bar, it may seem important to know where all the best places are to grab a bite late at night, to refuel after a long shift. You know the location of ALL the tastiest late-night takeaways for when that post-shift hunger hits and the staff at these joints are familiar with seeing your face at 2 am. We all know this type of lifestyle isn’t sustainable so why not try preparing some healthy snacks to pick at during your shift or keep healthy leftovers for a quick and nutritious post-shift meal. Watch our recent Industry After-Hours webinar for tips from Diageo Global Gastronomer Mark Moriarty on healthy eating.

Shake It Off

Having top notch shaking skills is integral to good bartending staff. Spend long enough behind the bar whipping up cocktails and you’ll understand what we mean. Get the lowdown on how to upgrade your shaking skills with The Essential Guide to Shaking and discover the difference between the standard shake, double shake, hard shake and dry shake.

Manhattan, Mojito and Mai Tai

Everyone loves a cocktail and they’re so popular now that you can easily list all of the ingredients to the classic cocktails off by heart. From Espresso Martini to a Caipirinha, you’re skilled at the delicate art of balancing the flavours in the world’s best loved cocktails.Discover the secret to balancing the key flavours in every cocktail with our Essential Bar Skills: Cocktail Basics.

Lovin’ the Lingo

Bartender lingo is second nature to you and your colleagues. You know your “chasers” from your “aperitifs”, your “neat” from your “on the rocks”, “dirty” from your “dry” and “speed rail” to your “spec”. Customers may think you’re speaking in a different language but bartender speak can help make life behind the bar faster and more efficient.

The Finishing Touch

You take your garnishing seriously. It’s about more than just looks when it comes to quality cocktails and serves. A good bartender knows the right garnish will complement the ingredients of a drink and add layers of flavour. Garnishes have always been crucial to cocktail culture, from fresh fruit to salted rims and fresh herbs to umbrellas, check out more in our Guide to Great Garnishes.

The Warmup

You do understand the importance of wellbeing and staying fit for such a demanding job. However, sometimes it’s not so easy to put into practice.

Make sure to incorporate exercise and stretching, as well as a healthy diet, into your regular routine. Something as little as stretching before each shift will help with keeping you in tip top shape for life behind the bar. Listen to our recent podcast on How to Look After Yourself for insider tips and advice on exercise, diet and much more from some of the world’s best bartenders.

Ice Ice Baby

Ice is a key component in any well-made drink, and this is simply second nature to you. You know your cracked ice from your shaved, your cubed from your crushed and when to use each type of ice for the optimum cocktail result. Get the full down-low on ice with our Essentials Bar Skills: Ice.

“Make mine a… “

You know the pain of a customer asking you to “make it stronger” or “keep pouring” and that’s not how measures work! Measures are set and have a purpose and the bar professional knows why! Free pouring can result in inaccurate measures that don’t taste consistent and can lead excessive wastage, not to mention the risk this can have on responsible serving and the wellbeing of your guests.

Ups and Downs

Every job has its ups and downs, but despite the long shifts and tired legs, it can be fun when you’re working with some of your closest friends and a bunch of people you can call family. Top bartender Evan Stroeve shares his experience of working with a close-knit team and the benefits this can bring to overall wellbeing.

Key Takeaways

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