This is What I Won’t Be Teaching You About Bartending!

I want to make it perfectly clear here about what I am NOT going to teach you in my Basic Bartending Course. You’re inexperienced! You just need to know the basics – and then I’m going to show you exactly how to land that first bartending job.

So, here we go…

This course is not about starting fires

Nope. None of that. Flaming drinks is something you’ll learn on the job – if the bar manager/owner allows it. Or, you can view some of those YouTube videos and learn all about lighting drinks on fire. Besides, adding a floater of Bacardi 151 isn’t rocket science.

This course in not about flipping bottles

No “flair” or “extreme” bartending skills taught here. I’m not going to teach you how to juggle bottles, pour liquor from four bottles at a time, or bounce your cocktail shaker off the floor. This is a working person’s bartending course. We’re going to concentrate on you landing your first bartending job.

Speed bartending and flair bartending are great for the bartending industry. However, it’s just not practical for 95% of us working bartenders out there.

This course is not about “Craft” Bartending

What is craft bartending? One definition claims that it’s slowing down – and using the bartenders skill (or craft), to make the perfect drink using fresh and/or unusual or unique flavors and ingredients. Of course, that’s just one opinion.

True Story: 
I interviewed an experienced bartender who insisted on being called a “Mixologist” because he was a “Craft Bartender.” And, he “corrected” me when I called him a bartender a couple of times. Ugh. That was enough, and I ended the interview. It wasn’t so much that he was using the “word” Mixologist. It was his arrogance.
There certainly is a place for this type of bartending, and I admire their attention to detail – but it’s just not my cup of tea.
And you? You should probably learn the basic skills first – and NEVER call yourself a “Mixologist” in an interview!

This Bartending course is not about Speed Bartending

So, you’ve watched some YouTube videos on a “fastest bartender” cocktail making contest. That’s great, and I also find those videos interesting. These bartenders are extremely fast and talented – and they have practiced for years. More power to them, and I think it’s great for our profession.

But that’s not what we’re doing here. Yes, making drinks fast is a highly coveted skill in those busy nightclubs – but I’m going to teach you what “speed” really means when it comes to working behind a bar.

When Bartending is Boring and Slow

Side Note: It’s OK to play around with some of the techniques that you see in videos – at home. Go for it! If you’re working behind the bar – get your bar manager’s permission first. And, trust me on this, IN MOST BARS the customers are not there to watch a bartender perform little tricks. They want a drink and casual conversation.

If you want to learn more about this subject, then check out this article about Speed Bartending.

This Bartending course is not about memorizing 500 cocktails

Not a chance. I’ll teach you the approximately 60 – 70cocktails (and 20 popular shooters), that you should probably know before sitting down for an interview. That’s all you need! It’s easy, and I’ll show you how.

This course is not about knowing every alcohol flavor and brand 

Knowing the different brands and types of alcohol is just as important as knowing drink recipes. Maybe even more so. You need to know only about 4 or 5 different popular brands for each type of alcohol. Or less. You’ll learn this in All About Liquor, Section 5.

This course is not about fancy ways of pouring liquor

Of course I’m going to show you how to pour liquor. It’s not hard, folks, but you’d be surprised how many bartenders out there just don’t get it. I have been given a pouring test during the interview process just one time in all my years of bartending (and I’m reasonably sure the Bar Manager was messing with me!). Pouring liquor is in Section 3 (Hard Skills), of the course.

If you follow my advice, in Section 15 (Bartender Job Preparation), you’ll be going out to bars and observing bartenders – check out their pouring styles. Interesting stuff. No worries – more on this later.

This course is not about giving the same old, tired answers to interview questions

I have been through at least 50 job interviews for a bartending position in my career. I have been on the other side of the interview table hundreds of times. Sections 15 & 16, Job Preparation and the Bartender Interview, will help you immensely.

Allow me to open your eyes a bit about “Real Bartending”

Interviewers know that you have no experience. They have your resume and/or cover letter positioned right in front of them. This is where your inexperience actually becomes a positive. They don’t expect you to know a whole bunch of drinks! They are fully aware that the new, inexperienced bartenders they are willing to hire (most of the time), will go through some sort of training program where they will learn all of the drinks popular in that bar. Don’t sweat it!

So, if you have no bartending experience, and you’re being interviewed, you can pretty much count on the fact that the interviewer is paying close attention to your “Soft Skills.” I go over these skills in Section 4 – Bartender Soft Skills.

You can learn, on your own, how to make any drink in the world by performing a simple YouTube search. And, I guarantee you, many of the drink recipes will have subtle variations – according to the bartender’s preference. I have much better “stuff” to teach you in order to land that first bartending job.

Bartender Making Cocktails Behind bar

Every area of the country is different. Types of drinks and alcohol brands that are popular in one area of the country are rarely “called” in other areas. It would be an absolutely useless, waste of time to give you a list of 100’s, if not thousands, of drink recipes. So I’m not going to do it. I will, of course, teach you the most common cocktail recipes, show you how to pour alcohol the proper way, and prepare garnishes. And a whole bunch more.

Let’s talk a little bit more about cocktail recipes here. I go over this subject in other areas of the course, but I want you to know this right up front. You need to know about 60 drink recipes, as I mentioned above. Most people will tell you exactly what they want: Jack and Coke, Bud Light Draft, Strawberry Margarita. Common drink recipes are found in Section 6, (Cocktail Recipes). In fact, you already know 100’s of drinks – you’re just not aware of it yet!

I was asked only one time in an interview how to make a particular drink. And I remember exactly what it was: “How would you make a “Rusty Nail?” (Two parts Scotch to one part Drambuie, usually served on the rocks. Lemon twist). Drambuie is a sweet, Scotch-Based Liqueur. Honestly, I can count on one hand the number of times I have made a Rusty Nail during my entire bartending career.

Here’s a tip: Google your city and “popular bar drinks.” The search results will help give you a general idea of what is popular in your area. Then, simply look the recipe up on YouTube if you wish.

You may notice that bartenders will make different variations of a common drink. That’s OK – when you get hired for your first bartending gig, the bar manager will provide you with their version (good bar managers will do this). You just have to know the basics.


As you can see, I’m going to teach you straight-forward bartending techniques. No fluff. No fancy weird stuff. Good, old-fashioned bartending!

Every section and lesson in this course is geared towards helping you land your first bartending job. You only need to know the basics – not how to start fires and break bottles!

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