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New Student in Bartending School

By thenimblebar

Bartending School: Should You Sign Up?

Before you decide whether bartending school is for you, ask yourself these important questions.

If you’re researching bartending schools, you’ll likely find that there are a lot of opinions out there about whether or not they are worthwhile.

 

Here are 3 great articles that most soundly make the argument to not go:

 

  1. Bartending School Scams: The Facts They Don’t Want You To Know
  2. Ask Your Bartender: Bartending Schools
  3. Should Aspiring Bartenders Go To Bartending School?

 

Go ahead and read those, and then let’s talk about why bartending school may – or may not – be a good fit for you.

 

While the above articles persuasively make their cases, they’re still ‘opinion pieces’ that look at the argument through a single lens — the lens of the writer.

 

This of course doesn’t represent reality – or you.

 

When it comes down to it, bartending school isn’t for everyone. But, depending on your personal situation, it might be a perfect fit for you.

 

One caveat before moving forward: many bartending schools are to be avoided. It’s actually the reason we created the Nimble Bar School. This article assumes that you’re considering a high-quality bartending school.

 

Like anything in life, it all comes down to the lens through which you see bartending – how will it fit into your life? In other words: we need to consider its context.

 

We get a ton of different inquiries from a wide range of people all looking at the same situation, but in a different context. The following questions are the ones that come up most frequently, and how we recommend moving forward.

 

Again – it all depends on your particular lens.

 

Lens #1: I desperately need a job and bartending school will help me get it.

Should you go to bartending school? No.

 

Go read this article, apply the lessons, and simply get a job. You don’t need bartending school to get a job – you just need a bit of strategy and persistence. 

 

Bartending school is for people who want to raise the bar (see what I did there?) in their profession. People who want to achieve a level of greatness that elevates them above the average.

 

At the Nimble Bar School, we ask our candidates if they seek to be excellent bartenders. We do this because of two universal truths:

 

  1. The way you show up to do one thing is how you show up to do all things
  2. The pursuit of excellence is what leads to fulfillment

 

If you just want a place to show up to that pays you enough to get by then ‘no’ – bartending school won’t get you any closer to your goals.

 

Lens #2: I’m already a bartender and I want to improve.

Should you go to bartending school? Yes.

 

A professionally-run bartending school will have instructors who have made it to the ‘next level’ of their craft. While they can definitely get a new bartender off to the races, the nuanced skills they can pass along will help elevate even very experienced bartenders to a high-performance level.

 

(It’s important that you let the bartending school know about your goals and experience before you sign up. Not all schools have the same programs – some focus on fundamentals, which may leave you retreading steps you’ve already learned. That’s not good for you or for your instructors.)

 

Lens #3: I’m a home bartender and want to improve.

Should you go to bartending school? Well, why not…?

 

If bartending is strictly a hobby for you, why not go somewhere that you can rub shoulders with other enthusiastic home bartenders? You know how fun it is to get a group of friends together and wow them with pro techniques and tips – imagine being in a room full of people who love doing the same thing.

 

It’s a great way to up your game with some healthy competition, and there’s a high chance you’ll find people – ie, ‘future friends’ – who share your interests and enthusiasm.

 

Lens #4: I have long-term financial goals, and I see bartending as a fun way to help me reach those goals.

Should you go to bartending school? Yes.

 

Focus goes a long way. If you have set financial goals in mind, bartending can be a great way to help you realize them – and if you learn the craft well, it can get you there quickly.

 

Fast-track your learning by getting one-on-one professional coaching. You could save a little money by starting at the bottom, and working your way up. But if you want to achieve your goals fast, a good bartending school is the way to go.

 

Lens #5: I’m already a student and I would like to bartend my way through school.

Should you go to bartending school? Yes

 

This is ‘probably’ a yes – unless you just want to cash a paycheck and not think too much about what you have to do to get it.

 

BUT – it’s ‘definitely’ a yes, if…

 

  • You’re drawn to the culture of bartending
  • You can see yourself enjoyably bartending for a number of years
  • You’re ready to apply yourself to bartending with as much drive and energy as your other studies.

 

The only reason why bartending school – and bartending in general – wouldn’t be a great fit for you, is if you already feel like it’s just ‘a means to an end.’ If you consider your role as a bartender ‘just a job’ you’ll get by cashing a paycheck and going through the motions, but if you want to really excel, you’ll need to be driven by more than just covering your bills.

 

If you’re a student, you already understand that sometimes you need to invest in yourself to make long-term gains. That same mentality makes you a perfect fit for a bartending school.

 

Lens #6: I’d like to go to bartending school to see if bartending is for me.

Should you go to bartending school? Yes.

 

Do you have what it takes to work the pine, as a pro? There are a few ways to find out. But some are more awkward than others.

 

Having an instructor offer personal and immediate feedback is a rapid-fire way to test yourself, and your skills, in a safer environment than the heat of the battle (like 7pm on a Friday with the lineup out the door.) You’ll get honest feedback without pissing off your employer, co-workers or guests.

 

Lens #7: Just by showing up to bartending school, I will automatically be a great bartender.

Should you go to bartending school? Yes, but not so fast…

 

You’ll learn a lot, and up your bartending game – and yes, there’s a chance you’ll develop the skills to become a great barkeep. But remember: a chance isn’t a guarantee. Even the best bartenders have honed their craft over time. And there’s nothing automatic about that.

 

On the flipside, if you do have the desire to be a great bartender, you’re already part of the way to becoming one. A professional instructor will be able to answer that burning question for you: Do I have what it takes to be one of the greats? You might end up surprising yourself with what you can accomplish in a short time.

 

Lens #8: Bartending school will entitle me to better jobs.

Should you go to bartending school? No.

 

Can bartending school prepare you for better jobs? Absolutely. Does it entitle you to better jobs? That’s a hard ‘no.’

 

Even the best of the best know, if you want to get ahead in the bartending world, you’ll need to check your ego. Not forget who you are, or hide your true personality – but the idea that you deserve something just for putting in a few hours and handing over a few bucks – that’s a bit of a stretch.

 

If you’re willing to use the tools given to you during your bartending course, to further your skills and improve your technique, then over time you’re far more likely to get your dream bartending gig – because you will have earned it. A great bartending school will put you on the right path, right out of the gate.

 

After you’ve decided which lens best describes your expectations of a bartending school, you can safely make up your mind about whether or not it’s going to be your best course of action.

 

(Spoiler alert: not all bartending schools are created equal. In fact, we only recommend two in the world: Nimble Bar School and European Bartender School)


By thenimblebar

How to Become a Bartender that Any Bar in the World Will Hire (+ Free Script for Job Applicants)

Wondering how to become a bartender that anyone will want to hire? Simple. Develop the attitude that the best of the best will always want on their team

If you read our recent article on how to get a bartending job, you probably noticed that all 3 of the bar managers we interviewed unanimously said attitude is the most important quality they look at when considering candidates.

 

(btw, if you haven’t read that article and you’re looking for actionable strategies to help you become a bartender and land your dream job, go read it now).

 

Becoming a bartender that any bar in the world will hire is really about one thing:

 

Becoming the kind of person that any bar in the world will hire.

 

While that might sound a tad simplistic, continuously working on your attitude and character will transfer to (and enhance) all aspects of your life — and any bar in the world would be dying to have you as a result.

 

We’ve put together 4 steps that you can take today to do this.  

 

But first…

 

Think about why the owner of an establishment would want to hire someone with an amazing attitude. It’s because these people:

 

  • Attract better regulars (and keep them in their seats)
  • Attract the best team members who want to help the business grow
  • Are great to work with because they’re fun, supportive, and eager
  • Improve the culture of their establishment so that everyone is more aligned, excited, and happy
  • And more…

 

So, without further ado, these are the 4 ways you can develop your mindset to help you become the bartender (and person) that any bar in the world will hire.

 

How to Become The Ultimately Employable Bartender: A Simple Guide to Unchain Your Potential

Part 1: Cultivate a growth mindset

 

In her book, Mindset, Carol Dweck uncovers how cultivating a growth mindset can lead to success.

 

As she describes it, our mindset can strongly “affect what we want and whether we succeed in getting it”, whether it’s done consciously, or not.

 

In her book, she asks “what are the consequences of thinking that your intelligence or personality is something you can develop, as opposed to something that is a fixed, deep-seated trait?”

 

An interesting question, especially when put into the context of becoming a bartender. To answer it, start by asking yourself if any of the following sound familiar to you:

 

  • I like to stick to what I know
  • I haaate being challenged — I know my shit
  • I can’t do much to change my abilities; I’m either good at it, or I’m not

 

If these feel familiar, then take note: they are all telltale indicators of a fixed mindset. And the problem is that most bar owners are growth-oriented — they want their business and their culture to grow.

 

So if you find that you generally have a fixed mindset, it’s time to begin adopting some new ways of thinking.

 

 

(Bonus: growth mindsets perform extremely well in interview situations. This means that if you have a growth mindset, there’s little preparation you’ll need to do for your interview other than do some research on the establishment, and be yourself. Pretty cool, huh?)

 

Here are some growth-mindset antidotes to the fixed-mindset examples above:

 

  • I’m excited to try new things
  • Challenges are great! They help me to grow
  • I can learn to do whatever the heck I want (and to that we add, you can do it to a level of excellence)

 

Carol Dweck has created a test on her website, if you want to see where your mindset’s at.

 

And here’s a helpful graphic from Nigel Holmes:

Part 2: Get clear on what you want

 

“The discipline of desire is the background of character” — John Locke

 

When you get clear on what the big, juicy desire is that you have in your life, things begin to organize themselves so that you can achieve the things that you’re after.

 

But there’s a catch:

 

In our culture, it’s actually very rare for us to be able to articulate what it is we really want — it feels  greedy, or selfish, to talk about those things.

 

The flip-side?

 

Thinking big actually inspires others to do the same.

 

Now you might be wondering, “Okay, but what does this have to do with my question of how to become a better bartender?’

 

Well, look at it this way:

 

At The Nimble Bar School, we ask our students to do a goal-setting exercise that acts as a springboard for those who haven’t thought much about what they really want.

 

It’s important because we teach our students not to think of bartending as means to a small end (like paying the bills), but as part of a powerful arsenal that will help them get to a great big end (like their dream home, career, lifestyle freedom, or something else that’s really worth pursuing).

 

If you can realize exactly how bartending can fit into your big picture, you’ll be more motivated to see it through to whatever success looks like for you.

 

Remember: if you add just one bartending shift a week to your work-life, that’s an average of an extra $220.00 per week (or $11,440 per year). If you save and invested that for 4 years, you’d have approximately $50,000.00 saved — more than enough for a down payment on a house, startup capital, debt repayment, etc.

 

Want to get a head start on your bartending goals? Contact us today and find out how we can help.

 

Part 3: Develop the muscle of alacrity

 

Ala-whut?

 

That was my initial reaction too. But for anyone wondering how to become a bartender of world-class proportions, alacrity is key.

 

To explain alacrity (and how it applies to becoming a bartender) let’s take a gander at this classic quote:

 

“I do the very best I know how — the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”

— Abraham Lincoln

 

‘Honest Abe’ said that when he was 6 months into his presidency.

 

It sounds kinda like something you’d read in a children’s book, yet it was said by the most powerful person in the world, at the time.

 

This is what alacrity sounds like. You just keep cheerfully doing the very best you can.

 

Here’s the definition of alacrity:

 

Alacrity: promptness of response : cheerful readiness : eager willingness

 

This is the attitude that got Abraham Lincoln to the White House, and it’s the attitude that gets many others where they want to go in the world.

 

Here are two practical ways you can effectively apply an attitude of alacrity today:

 

  1. Practice enthusiasm and cheerfulness using one simple mechanism: smiling

  2. Proactively solve a business problem and present your proposed solutions to someone who will find great relief in your initiative

 

Want a cool way to demonstrate this proactivity, that could easily land you a bartending gig at your dream bar? Dream up 3 big ideas that will help that bar improve its business, and send one to the owner (without expectation of anything in return).

 

Here are some word-for-word examples of 3 big ideas:

 

  1. Your drinks are AMAZING. I’m wondering how many hours per week are spent prepping all the ingredients that go into those drinks? In a bar I’ve worked at previously, we delegated our prep to the kitchen team – it saved tons of hours of labour, and produced even better ingredients.
  2. You have a super impressive/expansive back bar. Lots of inventory! I imagine it could be quite challenging for new staff to learn about. Have you thought about cataloguing some of the top selling spirits from each category with evocative descriptors that will help them sell these products with more confidence (and speed)? I’d be happy to help.
  3. Your cocktail presentations are OUTSTANDING. In my experience, taking a culinary approach to cocktails can lead to quite a bit of waste (particularly in the citrus department). Have you experimented with dehydrated garnishes? Some wonderful examples I’ve used are lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, candied ginger, rose buds, and more. They look beautiful, last forever, and the best part? Waaay less waste. If you’d like me to source some dehydrated garnishes for you to test, let me know.

 

If you want to see a word-for-word script of a successful email that I sent to a bar owner, get free instant access here.

 

You could, over time, even send 3 separate emails with each idea. I assure you that if you do this a few times, you will get your foot in the door.

 

(I believe in this tactic so much that I’ll offer you a guarantee: if you try this and don’t see success, send me an email and I’ll personally help you).

 

Part 4: Be other-focused (aka lose your ego)

 

This one is simple, but not easy.

 

Thing is, it’s absolutely essential to get right if you want to become a bartender that a-heeeeenyone would want to hire.

 

Why, you ask? Put simply: working in the service industry means you gotta prioritise those you’re serving (err… duh). 

 

Hey, we know as well as anyone who’s worked behind the wood that it’s easy to succumb to emotional reactions when a customer complains their drink “isn’t strong enough” (or whatever it may be in a given scenario.) But there’s a big difference between standing your ground when necessary, and overreacting when your ego feels threatened.

 

Training your ego to take a back seat is a sure-fire way to put you on track to becoming a stellar bartender (and an awesome person to work alongside, too).

 

There are two specific ways you can practice the art of losing your ego:

 

  1. Think about what you can give, instead of what’s in it for you

 

When cultivating the traits needed to help you become an awesome bartender, you should always be thinking about what you can do for the establishment and the people who work there.

 

Start by asking yourself questions like:

 

‘How can I enrich their lives?’ and ‘what can I give them?’

 

This circles back to our earlier point about scoping out ways to improve the business (remember our examples about inventory, dehydrated stock, and getting prep support from the kitchen? If not, refresh your memory up above!).

 

Always be on the lookout for ways you can create value for your team. Because doing this well makes you valuable to them — which will end up far better for you in the long run than simply prioritizing your short term gains.

 

2. Think about how you can listen more

 

Most folks think bartenders are talkers, but a seriously good bartender is one who has mastered the art of listening.

 

As Ryan Holiday — master of ego-squashing — so eloquently put it:

 

“And that’s what is so insidious about talk. Anyone can talk about himself or herself. Even a child knows how to gossip and chatter. Most people are decent at hype and sales. So what is scarce and rare? Silence. The ability to deliberately keep yourself out of the conversation and subsist without its validation. Silence is the respite of the confident and the strong.”

 

Yep, the old adage that silence is golden is as relevant behind the bar as it is anywhere else.

 

And you know what?

 

It’s not only the silence that’s golden, but also the space you create for your customers to do the talking. After all, what’s better than a good chit-chat to unload the stresses of the day? It’ll make your patrons feel at home, at ease, and excited to come back to see you again.

 

The best bars in the world will be proud to have you representing them – if you remember to practice these skills:

 

  1. Develop your ‘growth-mindset.’
  2. Be clear with yourself about your goals.
  3. Remember: Alacrity.
  4. Ditch the ego.

 

These are the differences between a decent bartender, and a Master of their Craft. Which side of that equation do you fall on? It’s your call – and it’s never too late to switch sides.

 


bartending-terms-spirits

By thenimblebar

The Holy Trinity of Bartending Terms: Nimble’s Simple Framework For Knowing Your Bar Lingo

One of the biggest challenges a new (heck, any) bartender faces is understanding different spirits- and being able to communicate them effectively to a guest.

Sounding like you know what you’re talking about is an important part of being a pro, and it’s our job to educate guests to a point where they ACTUALLY understand what they’re buying, drinking, tasting, and experiencing.

This is how you, as a bartender, can create a high-value experience that your customers will talk about again and again- and eventually come back for.

All too often, bartenders are overloaded with information and jargon — complex flavour profiles, proprietary distillation processes, unicorn-tear ingredients, and so on.

I’ve left many brand seminars wondering what the hell I was supposed to be walking away with; bafflement at how I’d ever repeat anything I’d just heard, and pages of notes- with no clue how to use them.

Am I a dummy?

I used to think so- until I discovered that so many other bartenders felt the same way.

This is why we created The Holy Trinity Of Bartending Terms — a pithy and practical guide to common bartending terms, which will help you quickly (and effectively) communicate spirits, wine, and fortifieds to anyone.

If you can learn the following bartender terminology, you’ll be well on your way to being able to talk about- and sell more of- any spirit on the market.

If bartending was equal to learning the piano, these would be your basic scales:

The framework is structured as follows:

  1. Flavour Note: alcohol terminology to describe the taste
  1. A Production Identifier: Something unique that differentiates the spirit from other categories
  2. Anecdote: An interesting piece of information that you can pass on to your guests to ‘pour concrete’ on your status as an expert

Bartending Terms for Spirits

VODKA

  1. Clean and medicinal
  2. Can be made from anything that has fermentable sugars (distilled to a high proof and then cut down with water)
  3. The name stems from the Russian word ‘woda’ meaning water or, as the Poles would say ‘voda’.

GIN

  1. Dry and herbal
  2. Juniper forward with supporting botanicals perfuming the spirit
  3. Different styles: (Old Tom, London Dry, Plymouth, New Western, Genever)

AQUAVIT

  1. Savoury, herbal
  2. Caraway seed, dill and fennel
  3. Scandinavian equivalent to gin

PISCO

  1. Citrusy & Floral
  2. Made in Chile or Peru (Chile consumes much of its production, where Peru mostly exports)
  3. There are 8 Pisco grapes that can be used for production including Moscatel, Quebranta, and Negra Criolla

BRANDY/COGNAC

  1. Fruity, burnt wine taste
  2. Brandy can be made from distilling any fruit wine. Cognac is usually only made from Ugni Blanc grapes *All Cognacs are brandies, not all brandies are Cognac*
  3. The word “brandy” comes from the Dutch word “brandewijn” which means burnt wine. The Dutch settlers distilled wine they purchased abroad in France to preserve it for the journey home.

GRAPPA

  1. Strong grape must, aromatic, sharp
  2. Made in Italy, (the name Grappa is protected by the EU like Parmigiano Reggiano)
  3. Made of leftover seeds, pulp, skins from pressing wine grapes

ABSINTHE

  1. Strong, Herbal
  2. Green Anise, Florence Fennel, Grande Wormwood
  3. “Louches” when water is added (aromatic oils in the anise go cloudy milky colour)

CACHAÇA

  1. Feisty, sharp, and grassy
  2. Made from strictly the sugarcane juice
  3. The word Cachaca was coined by African slaves working in the colonial sugar mills; it became a staple ration to energize them during grueling work days

RUM

  1. Toasted sugar flavour
  2. Made from distilling sugarcane byproducts like molasses
  3. Due to the hot and humid climate, the Angel’s share (barrel evaporation) in the Caribbean is 3 to 4 times higher than for spirits aged in France or Scotland – which explains the difficulty to keep a rum more than 8 or 10 years.

TEQUILA

  1. Earthy and vegetal, to vanilla/caramel notes
  2. Can be Plata (silver), Reposado (rested), Anejo (aged), or Extra Anejo (over 3 years)
  3. Must be made in Jalisco, Mexico from only blue weber agave. Also, agave is not a cactus; it’s closer to the Yucca or Lily family.

MEZCAL

  1. Smoky, earthy minerality
  2. Agave pinas (hearts) are cooked in underground pits
  3. Made in the southern state of Oaxaca, Mexico from any of the 150+ types of agave

Whisk(e)y Terminology

As a general rule-of-thumb, if the country has an ‘E’ in its spelling, then there’s an ‘E’ in the spelling of ‘Whiskey’. E.g. IrEland = Irish Whiskey. Canada = Canadian whisky.

CANADIAN WHISKY

  1. Sweet & spicy
  2. Individual grains (corn/wheat/rye/malted barley) distilled, aged & blended separately
  3. 70 percent of Canadian whiskey is exported to the U.S. Up until 2010, it was the best selling whiskey in the United States for 145 years

IRISH WHISKEY

  1. Honey, hops, green apple flavors
  2. Light
  3. Triple distilled, often in copper pot stills

BOURBON WHISKEY

  1. Fresh Oak (Woody)
  2. Sweet vanilla, leather, spice
  3. Corn heavy mash bill (at least 51% by law)

SCOTCH WHISKEY

  1. Light & Fruity (Speyside) —-> Smokey and/or peaty (Islay)
    1. Note: It’s very useful to come up with a trinity of descriptors for every region in Scotland (highland, lowland, speyside, Islay, etc).
  2. Made with malted barley
  3. Can be single malt (from a single distillery) or blended (multiple distilleries)

BARTENDING TERMS FOR RED WINE

PINOT NOIR

  1. Usually lighter
  2. Barnyard (hay and earth), black cherry
  3. Pairs with duck, roasted vegetables, salmon

MALBEC

  1. Medium
  2. Dark fruits (blackberry, plum), chocolate, earthy
  3. Pairs with dark poultry meat, cheese & charcuterie, dark chocolate

MERLOT

  1. Medium
  2. Dark fruits (black currant, plum), Baking spices (cocoa, vanilla)
  3. Pairs with burgers, baked pasta dishes, mushrooms

ZINFANDEL

  1. Heavy
  2. Jammy (red berries), slight spice (tobacco, anise)
  3. Pairs with sausage, venison, tomato, parmesan

SYRAH/SHIRAZ

  1. Medium to heavy
  2. Black pepper, blackberry, BBQ smoke
  3. Pairs with cured meats, BBQ & grilled meats, bold spices

CABERNET SAUVIGNON

  1. Heavy
  2. Dark fruits  (blueberry, black currant), savoury note (green bell peppers)
  3. Pairs with lamb, steak, blue cheese, rosemary

BARTENDING TERMS FOR WHITE WINE

RIESLING

  1. Light. Usually sweeter.
  2. Orchard fruits (apricot, pear, honeycrisp apple)
  3. Pairs with curries and spicy dishes, seafood

SAUVIGNON BLANC

  1. Light and crisp
  2. Grassy, passion fruit, gooseberry
  3. Pairs with shellfish, vegetables, herbs and greens

PINOT GRIS/GRIGIO

  1. Light and crisp
  2. Lime, pear, and nectarine
  3. Pairs with cream pastas, sushi, vegetarian cuisine

VIOGNIER

  1. Medium body
  2. Peaches & honeysuckle
  3. Pairs with lobster, almonds, pork

CHARDONNAY

  1. Full body
  2. Buttery, oaky, asparagus
  3. Pairs with white fish, butter sauces, creamy vegetable soups

BARTENDING TERMS FOR ROSÉ WINE

  1. Light
  2. Flowers, citrus, melon, rhubarb
  3. Pairs with light salads, seafood, soft cheeses

BARTENDING TERMS FOR CHAMPAGNE

  1. Light and effervescent
  2. Green apple & pear, bread & toasty notes
  3. Pairs with oysters, fatty fried foods, poached or deviled eggs

BARTENDING TERMS FOR FORTIFIED WINES

SHERRY

FINO/MANZANILLA

  1. Fino = Nutty, light, fresh, saline
  2. Manzanilla = Spanish for chamomile. Tastes similar to fino, a bit more delicate.
  3. Pair with oysters, nuts, olives & tapenades

AMONTILLADO

  1. Bridge between fino and oloroso (aka a bit richer with similar saltiness)
  2. Add nuttiness and herbaceousness
  3. Pair with cured meat, cheese, and gamier meats

PALO CORTADO

  1. Amontillado/Fino on the nose, oloroso on the palate (Fuller bodied)
  2. Accidental sherry → Starts out as a fino and then inexplicably loses its film of flor (aka the rarest and most expensive sherry)
  3. Pair with roasted poultry, sardines, heavy stews

OLOROSO

  1. “Scented” in Spanish. Dark, aromatic and nutty
  2. Full body; walnut, balsamic, and dark fruit notes (plum, dates)
  3. Pair with mushroom risotto, steak/venison, aged cheeses

PEDRO XIMENEZ “hee-men-ez” (PX), MOSCATEL

  1. Grapes are dried under the sun to concentrate sweetness
  2. Heaviest and stickiest of the sherries. Lots of molasses, raisin, fig flavors
  3. Pair with ice cream & desserts, fresh fruits, blue cheeses

PORT

  1. Made in Douro Valley, Portugal in the seaport town of Porto
  2. Can be made into different styles: white, ruby, tawny, or vintage (aging main factor) Full bodied, raspberry, blackberry, chocolate, cinnamon
  3. Pair with nuts and richer cheeses, duck confit, coffee

MADEIRA

  1. Small semi-tropical island that belongs to Portugal in the Atlantic ocean
  2. Unique wine-making process mimics sea-aging through tropics by running steam coils through the barrel rooms creating sauna effect. Think cooked flavors (roasted nuts, stewed fruit, toffee)
  3. Pair with old hard cheeses, roasted vegetables, stewed meats/fruits

MARSALA

  1. Italian equivalent of port town on the Western point of Sicily
  2. Dry and sweet variations; median flavors are vanilla, brown sugar, apricots, tamarind. Traditionally served as an aperitif between 2nd and 3rd course of a meal.
  3. Pair with chicken, cauliflower, octopus, chocolate desserts

AROMATIZED WINE

  1. Separated into 3 categories and bittered with different herbs: Vermouth (wormwood), Quinquinas (cinchona bark), and Americano (gentian root)
  2. All start as wine that have been fortified and flavoured with spices,herbs,fruit peels, and other natural flavours. Medicinal, bittersweet, savory and spicy flavor.
  3. Pair with lighter fare (tapas, antipasto, cheese & charcuterie), stocks and sauces, and of course…cocktails!

Conclusion

Getting to grips with the reams of bartending terms out there can seem daunting, but by following our simple 3-step framework, you’ll be nailing your alcohol terminology in no time.

You just need to remember:

  1. Flavour note
  2. Production identifier
  3. Quick anecdote

Once you’ve got that down pat, you’ll be ready to deep-dive into the advanced bartending terms associated with each category of alcohol: spirits, wines, fortified, and cocktails. Let us know which topic you’d like us to cover, and we’ll get down to crafting a new guide.


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