Things I Learned in Bartending Class
When I was a senior in high school, my friend David Mansbach and I enrolled in an 8-week bartending course at Harvard Extension School. Here are some thing I remember.
- •A double does NOT have twice as much liquor as a standard drink.A double is both sides of the jigger, which contains 1.5 ounces on one side (standard amount of liquor in any shot or mixed drink) and 1 ounce on the other.
- •Almost everyone orders something simple."Don't think you need to memorize what a Long Tall Sally Harvey Screwbanger is. Almost everybody is going to order a white wine, a beer, a gin & tonic - something simple. If a customer orders something you don't know how to make, you just ask 'and how do you like that prepared?' or you look it up."
- •If you want a customer to slow down their drinking, put a glass of water in front of them.This will likely cause them to unthinkingly alternate their water with their drink, cutting their rate of drinking in half.
- •It is illegal in Massachusetts to serve a customer a new drink without clearing their current drink.One drink at a time.
- •"Happy Hour" is illegal in Massachusetts.In Massachusetts, you can never offer a discount on the price of liquor you serve at a bar. It must always be the same price, to discourage binging during discount times.
- •Bartending is a coveted job in restaurants, because of the tips.You're probably going to have to start as a bar back (the person who does the prep work for the bartender) or a host or waiter, and then if you make friends, over time, you might get a job as a bartender.