How to Excel as a Bartender and Reduce Mistakes

This is the third post in a series about how to Study for Bartending School. You can read the first one here, and the second one here.

Today I want to talk about different techniques that will take speed and efficiency behind the bar.

Begin with the basics and make sure you follow these rules all the time:

  1. Grab the glass by the bottom of the stem.
  2. Stir drinks correctly so the ice doesn’t break.
  3. Focus on placing garnishes neatly.

Structure your production and follow a set order so that you have it so it’s automatic and allows the least error for mistakes. Below is a suggested calling order that we teach, where use the lowest cost ingredients first, and then the more expensive ingredients later.

Aqua Vitae Institute's Bartending Calling Order:

  1. Add any sweeteners
  2. Add bitters
  3. Add mixers
  4. Muddle (if necessary)
  5. Add spirits
  6. Add ice
  7. Mixing Method
  8. Serve

Make Multiple Drinks At The Same Time:

Start with two, and gradually go up to four.  Bartending competitions may require you to memorize and make 8 drinks at the same time.

In addition to holding multiple recipes in your head at the same time, you will gain the skills to work on additional skills that facilitate this process and be able to provide better customer service

Practice Stirring And Shaking 2 Drinks At The Same Time

Working on stirring and shaking two drinks is something that can become fluent in a few hours of practice. However, if you don’t work on this skill by yourself, you will fumble at the bar when the stress gets high and you can’t make drinks fast enough. Just keep in mind that stirring takes longer than shaking, and that using four tins is essential for shaking.