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.
  1. 1.
    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.
  2. 2.
    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."
  3. 3.
    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.
  4. 4.
    It is illegal in Massachusetts to serve a customer a new drink without clearing their current drink.
    One drink at a time.
  5. 5.
    "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.
  6. 6.
    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.