Ten Things a New Bartender Should Know

a61a0525 968bd204 560x316Bartending could be one of the greatest jobs around because it is so much fun and comes with an exciting environment. No matter if you are working in a restaurant, night club, or a small bar down the street, you can enjoy your job just the same.

Bartending is mainly about memorization and understanding laws. It is very easy to get the hang of it once you start. Spend a little extra time studying your drinks. All bars will be different in one way or another. Some bars may set up differently, only serve certain liquors, have daily drink specials and in house rules for you to follow. It is important for you to get familiar with your bar’s do’s and dont’s.

The one thing you really want to always keep in mind is that your charm and personality play a big role with your income at this job. Leave your problems at home and come in to work to have fun! Many people come in to a bar as a distraction from their problems and often turn to the bartender to talk, so have a positive attitude when you’re working! Enjoy your new adventure in one of the greatest jobs known.

Being a new bartender, you will likely get several tips and strategies from many others and you’ll learn new things every day! Obviously, learning from another bartender is the best way to go because they already have the “hands on” experience. However, before you step into your new job, you can be a step ahead of the game with the knowledge of ten simple guidelines.

1) The Bartenders Station

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This is the area on top of the bar where you will keep all of your utensils you need for mixing drinks. These items may include your shaker, strainer, and jigger. Underneath there, usually you will have a sink and your speed rack.

2) The Speed Rack

Basically, your speed rack will be all of the well (less expensive) liquors. The order of the rack goes from left to right and has an easy saying to help remember. “Vikki Gets Really Trashed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.” Each letter will stand for a liquor, Vodka, Gin, Rum, Tequila, Triple Sec, and Whiskey. Remember, never use the word “cheap” when you are describing well liquors.

3) The Back Bar

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The back bar, usually shelves on the wall behind the bar, consists of your premium liquors. You will find that some drinks always call for a premium brand. Keep your back bar shiny and clean, it is your customers first impression of the bar.

4) Equipment

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There are several items you will need to have at your bar at all times. You will need a shaker and cheater (the smaller version of the shaker), a cork screw (for opening wine bottles) and a jigger, which is used for measuring ounces of liquor. Many bartenders may not use a jigger, but it is a good idea for a new bartender. In addition to these items, you will also want to have a bar towel, bar spoon, strainer, and salt container, used to dip glasses in lime juice, salt and sugar.

5) Mixes

Orange juice, grapefruit juice, tomato juice, grenadine, cranberry juice, lime juice, pineapple juice, bloody mary, strawberry and pina colada mixes are all needed for different types of drinks. When using sour mix, which is actually sweetened lemon juice, make sure to dilute it first. Make it half water and half mix and it should do the job!

6) Glasses

190316 bartender crudele 560x373Be sure to learn all of your glasses because in a professional environment, different drinks will call for different glasses. A few examples would be a shot glass, highball glass, margarita glass and an old-fashioned glass. There are quite a few glasses, so do your research and get familiar with them.

7) Liquors versus Liqueurs

Know the difference between the two. Liquors include Vodka, Scotch and whiskey, to name only a few. Liqueurs usually are sweeter and more colorful. These may include triple sec, sloe gin, kahlua and midori.

8) Garnishes


It is important to know what type of fruit to garnish your drinks with. Not all drinks call for a garnish, but many of them do. For instance, a martini will usually have an olive and a kamikaze will likely have a lime wedge. Study your drinks and know the garnishes for a much better presentation. The rule of thumb is, when a drink calls for lime juice, garnish it with a lime.

9) Beer and Wine

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Alcohol contents vary with different beers and wines. Regular domestic beer, such as Coors or Budweiser usually contain between three and one half to four and one half percent alcohol. Light domestic beers, such as Miller Lite or Michelob Light may contain between two and one half to three and one half percent alcohol. Imported beers, such as Samuel Adams or Red Stripe contain four and one half percent and higher. Different wines can go anywhere from seven to fifteen percent alcohol. Draft beer has a shelf life of thirty days and it should always be kept at a cool temperature, otherwise is will foam badly. Be sure to always hold your glass at an angle when you are pouring draft beer to get the right amount of head at the top of the glass.

10) A.L.E. Laws

Being a bartender, it is vital that you know and understand the laws from the Alcohol Law Enforcement (A.L.E.). Making sure all of your customers have proper identification, knowing when a customer has had enough to drink, and understanding tax stamps on liquor bottles are only a few of several things you must know as a bartender. Study the A.L.E. laws very carefully.