Pub Talk

The Best Tips For An Aspiring Bartender

Are you an aspiring bartender? We had a chat with some amazing bartenders and asked them to share with us their best advice for a new or aspiring bartender, some of their favourite parts of the job, and let us in on their favourite recipes!

The Best Tips For An Aspiring Bartender

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a new bartender, an aspiring bartender, or maybe you’re just interested in learning how to mix a good drink at house parties. Whatever the reason– we got the inside scoop from the experts on how to become a great bartender.

 

We had a chat with some amazing barmen (and barwomen!) from all over and asked them to share with us their best advice for a new or aspiring bartender, some of their favourite parts of the job, and let us in on their favourite recipes! If you’re wondering how to become a bartender or how to become a better bartender? Check out the advice from these expert mixologists!

 

Mixologists Give Their Best Advice For Someone Who Wants To Become A Bartender

 

Shawn Gilhepsy | Bartender at Baijiu

Edmonton, Alberta

 

What is the best part about bartending?

What I love most about bartending is having the direct ability to brighten up someone’s day. People come to cocktail bars and are able to forget their stresses and let their hair down. Nothing makes me happier than to see someone’s face light up when they taste something I’ve created for them.

 

What’s the best advice you could give an aspiring bartender?

The best advice I could give a new bartender who is just entering the industry or anyone who wants to become a bartender would be to constantly make note of important people and create relationships with them. Who you know and how you treat them opens up the world for opportunities that an average joe would never have access to. Also, be self starting. Make sure you stay passionate about learning new techniques and new things about your spirits. People love stories. Tell them one.

 

What is your favourite drink to mix?

My absolute favourite drink to mix is one I developed a while ago that I’d love to share with you. I call it “Islay of the Storm“. It’s made with Bowmore 10 Islay Scotch Whisky, Giffard Crème de Pêche, Campari, and Lemon Oil. Stirred and served in an ice cold coupe and garnished with a lemon swath.

This drink is sweet and smoky, yet tropical and refreshing.

Follow Shawn on Instagram or visit Baijiu YEG to try out Islay of the Storm!

Islay of the Storm

 

Dave Murrin | Bartender

Montreal, Quebec

 

What do you love most about being a bartender?

I love connecting with people and getting to know more about them. I also love being able to make their night awesome with a really great drink! As someone with ADHD, my job helps me really get in my zone and focus.

 

What’s the best advice you could give an aspiring bartender?

Nothing replaces talent! Make sure you’re passionate about making drinks and not just partying it up.

 

What is your favourite drink to mix?

My favourite drink would have to be an Irish Car Bomb. It contains whiskey, Irish cream liqueur and a 1/2 a pint of Stout! The perfect drink for beer lovers!

 

Follow Dave on Instagram and YouTube

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TJ Cleveland | Bartender at Rawbar @ Hotel Arts

Calgary, Alberta

 

What is your favourite part about being a bartender?

I think what I love most about being a bartender is the feeling when you have created a new drink and someone gets to try it. That enjoyment on their face, as they take that first sip, is just an amazing feeling. All drinks are created with passion and a bit of the creator, so being able to share that part of you, and have it received well is amazing.


 

What is the best advice you could give someone who wants to become a bartender?

I have been blessed to be given the job opportunity I have at just 22. Every day is a challenge and a gift, so the advice I would give to young bartenders like myself that are trying to get into the cocktail bartending ‘game’ is to enter competitions constantly. It helps build your knowledge of flavours and brands like nothing else will!

 

What is your favourite drink to mix?

It’s hard to say what my favoUrite drink to make is, as so many of my drinks have so much meaning to me, but if I were to pick one… It would have to be a drink I call “Grandma’s Cookies”.

 

What is “Grandma’s cookies”? How do you make it?

“Grandma’s Cookies” is a drink I made in honour of my great grandmother who always made the best gingersnap cookies. I wanted a warming winter drink that would bring me back to having those cookies.

It’s made with Jameson black barrel, Gingersnap compound butter (a homemade ingredient which includes brown sugar, butter, chopped cloves, cinnamon and ginger), 2 pipettes Bolivar bitters, and lemon twist garnish.

Add all ingredients except the butter into a small hot drink glass, with the butter on a spoon, stir until butter melts fully, add a lemon twist on top. And enjoy!

Follow TJ on Instagram and try his signature drink “Grandma’s Cookies” at Rawbar @ Hotel Arts!

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Yasmin Turner | Bartender at TipseeYaz Bartending Services

Atlanta, Georgia

 

What do you love most about bartending?

Bartending has given me a sense of accomplishment. I have learned how to be creative, unique, and abstract. I love meeting new people along with being able to interact and network with everyone. Bartending gives me the chance to be myself. I love the feedback from the customers when they taste one of my drinks for the first time and they are in awe of how amazing it tastes. I love the diverse environments. The versatility that you are able to display in your drink recipes is beyond the norm.

 

What’s the best advice you could give an aspiring mixologist?

To all aspiring bartenders, I would tell you to believe in your dream and perfect your craft. There may be a million bartenders in the world, but there is only one you. Be the best YOU that you can possibly be. Also, network, network, network! Communicating with business owners, networking with experienced bartenders and promoting your work and your brand will pay off in the long run. Stay focused and never give up.

 

What’s your favourite drink to mix?

My favourite drink to Mix is a Blue MF! It contains citron vodka, blue curacao liqueur and sweet and sour mix. I also like to add 2oz of sprite and a tad bit of sour apple schnapps to take away to strong liqueur taste.

Follow Yasmin on Instagram and visit TipseeYaz Bartending Services for more delicious drinks like the “Blue MF”!

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Justin O’Connor | Bartender at TipseeYaz Bartending Services

Calgary, Alberta

 

What do you love most about bartending?

What I love most about being a bartender is the reactions from guests when I create the perfect cocktail just for them.

 

What’s the best advice you could give an aspiring barkeeper?

If you’re an aspiring bartender, my advice is to do it because you love it, and not just because it’s a job. When you love what you do, your creativity will shine through in the drinks you make.

 

What’s your favourite drink to mix?

My favourite drink to mix is a drink I call “The Mezquito”. It’s my take on a Mezcal Mojito. It’s got Mezcal, Grand Marnier, Tequila, Grapefruit, Lime, and Mint

Follow Justin on Instagram

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Taylor Snider | Bartender at Stag PDX

Portland, Oregon

 

What is the best part about being a bartender?

The thing I love most about bartending is the people, hands down! Many bartenders may not share that same perspective, but I’m a bit different than your average bartender. I’m a people-person! I love socializing and networking with people from all walks of life. As a transwoman working in the LGBTQ+ nightlife, I’m admittedly adored by all of our patrons. To say I am lucky and blessed would be an understatement.

 

What’s the best advice you could give an aspiring bartender?

Hmm… the best advice I would give to aspiring bartenders out there would be to maintain confidence. Even if you mess up. I’d also add in to educate yourself on recipes and tricks to perfect your craft. If bartending is something you’re really passionate about, making vodka sodas will only keep you stagnant. Be ahead of the curve and wow your customers. Not only will you gain returning patrons, but it’ll also increase your earnings.

 

What’s your signature drink?

My favourite drink to make is a staple for most bartenders and it’s also one of my favourite drinks: a Lemondrop Martini.

It contains 2 muddled lemons, Stoli Citrus Vodka, Triple Sec, and our in-house syrup. It’s served in a chilled Martini glass with a sugared rim (build on ice in a pint glass).

Shake it all for 7 seconds and strain for my finishing touch, I add a sugar-coated lemon wedge as my garnish. VOILA! A smooth, sweet and tart Lemondrop Martini!

Follow Taylor on Instagram and visit Stag PDX to try her Lemondrop Martini!

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Now that you’ve received expert advice from great bartenders – check out one of these other articles you might like:

The 5 Stages of Being Beer Drunk
What Your Bartender Really Thinks of Your Order
8 Things People Hate That Bartenders Do

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