The Mixology Talk Podcast

How to Become a Better Bartender in 2018

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How to Become a Better Bartender in 2018

Photo Credit: Nightclub & Bar Show 2017



The Mixology Talk Podcast, Episode #116

It’s the new year and things are (finally) slowing down. Here’s how you can use your downtime to grow your skills and career!

Psst – notice something different? Scroll down and you’ll see… a video!  Yes, this week for the new year we are giving Video a try on the podcast. We definitely have a few kinks to work out, but with a bit of practice we’ll definitely get better with time.


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In today’s Episode…

We’re embracing the new year! #NewYearNewYou

It’s January, and you’re seeing the positive side (a little time for R&R) or the less positive (less tips and empty barstools)… the holidays are over. Don’t get down about the smaller check averages, rather, embrace this as a perfect occasion to invest in yourself! Make 2018 the year you become an even better bartender – and just imagine how much more money you’ll make this next December!


Becoming a Better Bartender:

Read Books:

Start with Book Learning: Here’s a great list of bar / bartending books to read. A few of our favorites for beer / wine / spirits knowledge include The Wine Bible for wine and The Beer Bible for beer. (I don’t think those are affiliated with each other at all, coincidentally.) For spirits and cocktails, consider a subscription to an industry magazine like these.


Physical Skills:

Improve your Physical Skills. You may be a truly skilled bartender but there is always more to learn. Consider working on:

  • Freepouring accurately
  • Two-handed shaking / stirring
  • Proper stirring technique
  • Advanced techniques like flair and / or throwing (if appropriate for your bar)
  • Getting faster while staying accurate


Mixology Skills:

I know, I know – everyone hates the word “Mixology”. But we strongly feel that it’s a useful term to describe the cocktail design part of being a great bartender.

Practice making new drinks with your regulars. Ask your management if you can earn a spot on the cocktail menu if you make something great. And if you’re interested in the technique and art of cocktail design, consider our very own Mixology Certification. (Use code CHEERS2018 for 25% off!)


The Mixology Certification

Want to get your cocktails on the menu this year? The Mixology Certification Program is 25% off until Jan 15th!

Use code CHEERS2018 to get the discount.

Learn More


Attend Conferences & Training Events

This is one of the best ways to stay up to date with industry best practices and see what’s new.

This year we’ll be attending the San Antonio Cocktail Conference and Nightclub & Bar Show for sure. Other events we’re considering include the Bar Convent Brooklyn, Tales of the Cocktail, and Portland Cocktail Week.

If you can’t travel to an event out of town, you’re not out of options – I recommend joining the local chapter of the United States Bartender’s Guild or the International Bartender Association. Often these organizations will host educational events free of charge for bartenders. (Also a great way to network within your local community!


Come see us at the Nightclub & Bar Show!

Chris will be speaking on Tuesday, March 27th from 4-4:50pm. He’ll be going over the ways you can make sure your POS is set up for success, and how some small tweaks to your system and data can make a huge difference to your bottom line.

Check out the session here!

By the way: The Nightclub & Bar Show has created a coupon code for A Bar Above readers. Use code “ABARABOVE” to register and you’ll get 20% off your pass!


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Thanks for Listening!

What are you doing to grow your career this year? Let us know in the comments!


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We believe great bartending is all about hospitality, skill, and caring about your craft.

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