Insights into becoming a happier and healthier bartender
By Francine Cohen

You’ve copiously studied recipes from the patron saint of cocktail recipes, Jerry Thomas ; Tony Abou-Ganim, Dale DeGroff, Doug Frost, Steve Olson, Paul Pacult, Julie Reiner, Audrey Saunders, Andy Seymour, and Dave Wondrich, have taught you valuable lessons in technique, ingredients, and tasting and now, at Tales of the Cocktail 2011 it is time to learn how to become the master of your own domain.

This seminar asks: Ever wonder how some nights when you worked so hard – you were at the end of the night physically tired but in good spirits and appeared not to have lost a lot of energy? Remember also the nights when at the end you were not only physically tired and exhausted but also emotionally drained and “heavy?” If you can answer “yes”, even if it’s just for one shift, then you need to be in this room on Saturday afternoon.

Join Dushan Zaric (Employees Only, Macao Trading Company and Aisha Sharpe (Contemporary Cocktails for a journey into yourself that results in better bartending. And a better, more peaceful, productive, and profitable you that you’ll get to after understanding how to look at service as an art, maintain balance and sense of self and, essentially, break down the bartender.

Zaric explains why he’s bringing this seminar to Tales after offering it to bartenders around the world. He says, “There are a lot of bartenders who are very well versed in mixing cocktails, knows history, when it comes to service and help themselves that’s where they are not well equipped, and don’t have the tools.”

He continues, “I’m doing this to make people’s lives easier. It breaks my heart to see these people go for the bottle because they can’t deal with themselves. Bartenders will come away with a new realization of their jobs being much wider and deeper than they think. And this will help improve their life, service, and attitude and encourage them to gain a greater measure of respect for others as well as a deeper respect and understanding of self.”

This understanding happens when you recognize that a real, grown up bartender is much more than a drink mixer. He is more than a server, as well. Ideally he is a union of 3 personalities – the mixologist, the sage, and the rock star (all of which will be explained in greater detail in this seminar). Integrating these personalities into a well oiled character who oozes confidence in every situation improves your situation and your longevity in the business.

From Zaric’s point of view, staying in the business as a professional bartender and being successful and happy starts with understanding one’s self and one’s role behind the bar. He advises, “Learn what not to do. It’s about getting wise – don’t follow every impulse. Don’t get attached. Don’t grasp onto their (the guest’s) desired outcome. Master the practice of ‘relaxing into what is.’ That will keep you at a safe distance from desiring the situation to be different then it is and it will keep your inner dialog about your preferred likes and dislikes at bay. The greatest benefit of all is the maintenance of ‘energy’ which results in a happy, positive attitude.”

Maintaining that calm attitude may be tough on a busy night when once again you find yourself in the weeds, but remember, everything is temporary as Zaric notes, “This shift will come to an end. This evening will come to an end. Four a.m. is sure to come and then you’ll have to close.”

Closing out the night with a full till and tip bucket is important and it’s only going to happen if you’re drawing guests in and keeping them happy. According to Zaric you’re only going to keep them happy if you’re happy with yourself. He queries, “What if you’re recognized not only as a great mixologist but everyone has a smile on their face when they see you behind the bar?” When, Zaric made this statement in NYC at Zaric and Sharpe’s presentation Dale DeGroff concurred on the role of the bartender and said, “It used to be bartenders that people went to see and not bars.”

Zaric agrees. And, wants you to remember one thing as you work on yourself, opening yourself up to others and understanding what makes you tick and how to avoid what blocks you so that you never have that heavy feeling again at the end of the night because you’ve focused your energies in the right way on your job and, by doing so, ended up with a great night and a full tip jar. He advises,” Your cocktails should be a throwaway.”

To register for this event: