Bartending: Nice Work If You Can Mix It –


As the economy sputters, bartenders are going back to school — in bartending.

Several organizations, including the world’s second-largest liquor maker, have begun offering graduate-style courses to certify drink makers as “masters” of the craft. These programs, which mimic those that anoint wine buffs as sommeliers, aim to help students find gainful careers in the bar or spirits industries as well as further legitimize the profession.

Designers of the new courses hope to fill the nation’s bars with a greater number of sophisticated drink makers, which in turn might attract greater numbers of sophisticated drinkers.

Masters of mixology — the art of mixing drinks — are in demand these days as many restaurants and lounges upgrade their cocktail menus. Restaurants, which have seen a falloff in traffic since the recession began, are especially eager to sell more $8 or $10 drinks, which carry higher profit margins than dinner entrees.

John Nowak for The Wall Street Journal

Eric Crane of Roswell, Ga., right, is tested on his mixology by Dale DeGroff at a BarSmarts Advanced class at the W Hotel in Atlanta.



On a recent afternoon at a Chicago arts center, Pernod Ricard SA held final exams for its BarSmarts Advanced mixology class. Aisha Sharpe, a master mixologist from New York, ordered 25-year-old student Lucas Shelton to begin Mr. Shelton’s final mixology exam: “Give me a dry martini, an Old Fashioned and a daiquiri,” said Ms. Sharpe, who was hired by Pernod to be a class tester.

Mr. Shelton produced the three cocktails in just under the allotted 10 minutes, although he stumbled on the Old Fashioned, confused about whether to use cherry juice or maraschino cherries in the drink. (Maraschino cherries is correct). “I was nervous, very nervous,” the Springfield, Ill., bartender said afterward.

Very interesting article. Does it take 10 minutes to do 3 drinks? When I was trained it was 100 drinks an hour. And it does not take a mixologist to make daiquiri, old fashioned and dry martini?? Very advanced course?


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