These are 10 essential tips for aspiring bartenders.
1. An efficient bartender’s first aim should be to please his customers, paying particular attention to meet the individual wishes of those whose tastes and desires he has already watched and ascertained; and, with those whose peculiarities he has had no opportunity of learning, he should politely inquire how they wish their beverages served, and use his best judgment in endeavoring to fulfill their desires to their entire satisfaction. In this way he will not fail to acquire popularity and success.
2. Ice must be washed clean before being used, and then never touched with the hand, but placed in the glass either with an ice-scoop or tongs.
3. Fancy drinks are usually ornamented with such fruits as are in season. When a beverage requires to be strained into a glass, the fruit is added after straining; but when this is not the case, the fruit is introduced into the glass at once. Fruit, of course, must not be handled, but picked up with a silver spoon or fork.
4. In preparing any kind of a hot drink, the glass should always be first rinsed rapidly with hot water; if this is not done the drink cannot be served sufficiently hot to suit a fastidious customer. Besides, the heating of the glass will prevent it from breaking when the boiling water is suddenly introduced.
5. In preparing cold drinks great discrimination should be observed in the use of ice. As a general rule, shaved ice should be used when spirits form the principal ingredient of the drink, and no water is employed. When eggs, milk, wine, vermouth, seltzer or other mineral waters are used in preparing a drink, it is better to use small lumps of ice, and these should always be removed from the glass before serving to the customer.
6. Sugar does not readily dissolve in spirits; therefore, when making any kind of hot drink, put sufficient boiling water in the glass to dissolve the sugar, before you add the spirits.
7. When making cold mixed-drinks it is usually better to dissolve the sugar with a little cold water, before adding the spirits. This is not, however, necessary when a quantity of shaved ice is used. In making Cocktails the use of syrup has almost entirely superseded white sugar.
8. When drinks are made with eggs, or milk, or both, and hot wine or spirits is to be mixed with them, the latter must always be poured upon the former gradually, and the mixture stirred briskly during the process; otherwise the eggs and milk will curdle. This is more particularly the case when large quantities of such mixtures are to be prepared. Such drinks as “English Rum Flip,” “Hot Egg Nogg” and “Mulled Wine,” are sure to be spoiled unless these precautions are observed.
9. In preparing Milk Punch or Egg Nogg in quantity, the milk or eggs should be poured upon the wine or spirits, very gradually, and continually beating the mixture in order to mix the ingredients thoroughly.
10. When preparing cold Punch, the bowl should be placed in a tin or metal vessel about the same depth as the height of the bowl, the space between the bowl and the vessel being packed with ice, and a little rock-salt sprinkled over the surface, which has the effect of producing a freezing mixture, much colder than the plain ice. Towels may be pinned around the exterior of the vessel, and the exposed surface of the ice trimmed with fruit or leaves, giving the whole an attractive appearance.
This article is reprinted from the classic Jerry Thomas’ Bar-tender’s Guide a.k.a. How to Mix Drinks. This is believed to be the first bartending guide ever written.
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