Educating Bartenders Worldwide.
By Beverage Trade Network
I started working in the restaurant business when I was 19 just to pay the bills, but I fell in love and made it a career. I am currently working as director of food and beverage at the Hotel Valencia Santana Row in San Jose, California and also a judge at the Bartender Spirits Awards.
Hotel Valencia Santana Row in San Jose, California.
It's nice to be a part of people's lives. We have seen people meet, fall in love, grieve losses, celebrate milestones. It's nice to look back at the snapshots we get to see into other's lives and be a part of that.
In Santa Clara County, we have had little to no opportunity to serve drinks. In the brief times we could operate, we definitely had to pair down the number of spirits behind the bar and we focused a lot more on batched cocktails.
Diplomacy and the ability to be a social chameleon are key with guests. Being innovative with drinks is always great but I feel being consistent with recipes is even more important so guests come back and get what they are expecting.
Judging vodka flight
Price and quality are obviously at the top of the list. Beyond that I tend to look for something unique other bars in the area aren't offering. I also look for local gems, charitable brands, and eco-friendly brands.
Suppliers that come in and support their brand are always the best. Getting a collaboration on social media is key these days too. Also, I love to see usable swag: Copper mugs, glassware, martini tins, bar mats, etc. It's surprising how often these products miss the mark (copper mugs aren't standard size, glassware doesn't stack well or breaks in washers, poorly weighted tins, etc.)
I would love to see more barrel-aged gin cocktails. I think we will see less vodka sodas and simple drinks because that is what people have been making at home. I think people will opt for the complicated drinks they haven't been able to easily make on their own.
Being able to keep up with so many people and stay social without having to try too hard!
The Crown has been great. Mainly watching the news lately just trying to keep up with all the craziness in the world right now. Guilty pleasure is the Gilmore Girls! So happy Lorlei and her mom bonded in the 4 episode reboot.
I personally love Botanist Gin. I am a gin lover in general but this one is the gold-standard for me. It has the perfect balance of botanicals and it's amazing in a cocktail or martini, or even just soda or rocks.
Stay humble. I have seen so many new bartenders over the years get super cocky in their first year. There is always more to learn. And if you actually do know it all, stay humble and pass the knowledge to someone else that shares your passion.
Ice. Having great ice for an Old Fashioned or whiskey makes all the difference. Also, vermouth. I see people ordering $20 Manhattans and using bargain basement vermouth. It's insane!
Focus on to go and eventually outdoor and maybe even indoor with masks. In the bay area we will probably just slowly go through the same steps we went through last year. Hopefully this time we won't have to go backwards again!
I hope not! I think 2021 will be a transition back to what we used to know as the bar scene. I think by 2022 things will be essentially the same as before. Maybe not buffets, though.
Old Fashioned by far. We make it right ;-)
I think the Tiki reboot is going to go back out...