My column at the czech barlife magazin.
Jrgmyr at BarLife 43
I can't translate it, but this it, what I send them. Thanks to the Ladies and Gentleman from the great BARLIFE Magazin.
"Bartending 2011 - Beyond Drinks - „The perfect overall Impression
From time to time, in rare moments, I love to visit a bar. On my own.
From time to time I make it. And I love it. Best time for a visit, is the early evening. First customer if possible. Bartender, some nice music, and me.
But things have changed. When I was twenty, there where a few old Bartenders in Hamburg. Great Bartenders. And I loved to visit them. A few of them had their own small Bars, most where hidden in some unknown Hotel Bars. And I spend all my „tips“ and a little more, in this bars. Expensive education, but worth every cent! Today, these Gentlemans are history.
When I come in a bar today, I sometimes miss a few points, which I used to enjoy in the past. But, first of all, let‘s start with the good news: Your drinks are great today, much better than in the past! No, really: my compliment to all the bartenders out there. What happen in the last few years is amazing. We have a fantastic raise of quality in the glass.
The drinks of a few of this old Gentleman I used to visit as a „Bartender Rookie“ didn‘t taste good. But while sipping my great drinks today, something is missing! Let‘s call it „The perfect overall Impression“.
We focus on the drinks, which is great, but forget, unlearn, the diversity and also the complexity of bartending. To me, the Bartender was always the pride of hospitality. But to come to this point, their is so much more than drinks or the knowledge about rare spirits. If you are a great mixologists, means you can prepare fantastic drinks, I love to congratulate you. You made a small part of the journey. And now, the real job starts. And it has nothing to do with trends or tools, we nowadays like to hunt down.
We should stop hiding behind our gimmicks. Does a selection of ten or more bitters make me a good Bartender? Does a Japanese Bar Spoon or the japanese way of using the jigger make me a good bartender? The use of a rare and hard to get Rye maybe? I promise you - NO it does not.
For sure, all this tools and ingredients are awesome. I like open minded bartenders. Have a look! That is important. But it is not important to bring all this into your bar. That does not make you a good bartender.
When I visit a bar today, sometimes I fell like visiting a nerdy geek in his hobby cellar. The Bartender is looking for Japanese Dash Bottles all over the Internet, but the spill stops on them are always dirty. He has the coolest Mexican Elbow from ÜberBarTools but never ever washes the limes well. He could serve you a amazing Pimm‘s Rangoon with homemade Ginger Beer, but, sorry, he forget to order cucumbers. And while he is preparing you a classic Negroni, he has to stop in the middle of the preparation and get a new bottle of Campari from the Storage room. Sorry, he forget to check!
He know a many lost recipes from his hug selection of Antic Bar Books, but he missed to follow the instruction on the half page of Harry Johnsons Chapter No. 4 „Rules for Bartenders in Entering on and Going off Duty“.
I think you know what I am talking about. When I visited some old Bartenders, the drinks were often average. But they created a special Atmosphere. They put much Attention to every detail. And most of them where great hosts. They loved People, and they LOVED to SERVE them. Compared to today, this old guys really had less possibilities to choose from.
Just a small selection of booze, a few tools, some rare ingredients. But, somehow, they created a special Atmosphere which is hard to find today. They understand how to set up the perfect overall Impression. They never forget that they SERVE guests.
Somehow, this class of bartender is hard to find today. So, its on us to bring this class back. Time to stop talking about drinks and Ingredients. Time for us to think about all this little details beside the drinks, which makes our bar an outstanding place.
So, if you go tonight to your Bar, come an hour before, clean all your bottles, make a proper mis en place, check everything! Dress up, jump behind the bar, turn on the music, enjoy an espresso and open the bar 10 minutes before your opening time. Try to attract your guest tonight not by fancy drinks, go for simple ones like Whisky Sour (For sure the best on on earth) but overwhelm them with your hospitality. Time for the perfect overall Bartender, Showtime my friend. I wish, I could be in you bar tonight!"