So You Want To Be a Bartender?

I’ve been missing in action for a lot longer than I wanted to be because I’ve been head down into my job juggle. I recently left my job as a spirits representative in order to cut more teeth on the other side of the bar. I found that I’d rather be using spirits than selling them and I’ve been waiting for the dust to settle. I’ve been bartending a bit at a few places around town and I can tell you that bartending is not just some gig that you can decide to take one day and prosper. If that’s what you really think it is, here are my warnings to you:

1. You will bruise--above the knees where your rail is located and on the palm of your hand if you haven’t learned a proper way to pop a shaker (or you continue to put them on too tight). 

2. You will wake up in the morning (I mean afternoon) wondering where your morning went. You will also go to get up and realize you can’t move your biceps or thighs.

3. You’ll have more appreciation for evolution and your opposable thumbs. They hurt especially on small hands when wrapped around Boston shakers. 

4. You better learn your difference between a French 75, 76, and 77. Your classic cocktail repertoire better consist of an Aviation, Blood & Sand, Last Word, Vieux Carre, and a Sazerac. If you don’t know what an Old Fashioned is and a proper one at that, you should probably think about doing something else. Oh and yes you’ll be asked for a Mojito or Cosmopolitan on the regular but it’s totally okay if you never remember those recipes.

5. Learn how to like Fernet and beer and learn how to hold it. Two items that I would never have ordered at a bar but you will be offered multiple Fernet shots and sometimes it serves the same purpose as a coffee so you won’t deny it. You also better like beer because you sure as hell will want a drink when you’re done and it sure as hell won’t be wine or a cocktail. 

6. Learn how to survive on cold food and snacks but if you don’t even have that, learn how to survive on Fernet and beer. 

7. Ladies, manicured nails are done forever. Don’t wear tube tops because reaching for tall glassware causes for inappropriate mishaps. Don’t wear white-you will ruin your favorite lace, white top when you accidentally spray yourself with Peychaud’s mist and not your cocktail. 

8. Also ladies, if you’re offended by sexual innuendos or conversations about women’s panties or even the possibility of witnessing blatant pornography through a gap in a wooden fence on the patio of the bar you work in (thank you East 6th street), this might not be the job for you.

On a more serious note, I’m a lucky girl to be surrounded by bartenders who are happy and doing a job they love for a living, who devote themselves to creativity and authenticity, and don’t really care what those around them have to say about their choice to live an alternative lifestyle. I appreciate their dedication to bringing people an experience and I’m happy to be surrounded by my people.