What To Expect at Fine Art Bartending School
Day 1 – Getting You Started
Introduction to Vancouver’s Best Bartending SchoolAfter a short introduction, your instructor will begin to introduce you to the training set up of our very long bar. Just like any bar, we point out which bottles go where & why. Do you know how the pop/soda guns work? We also talk about the BC Government Serving It Right Program. Brief explanation of the program, how it works & your responsibilities around serving alcohol. Next up is the bar equipment. Your instructor will walk you through all the glassware found in the average bar, what it is all used for and why. In addition, we outline for you essential bar equipment like
- the shaker set
- pour spouts
- bar spoon
- bar mat
Want to Practice at Home?We also offer up for sale a bar equipment practice kit specifically created for our students. All the equipment you see in the school is sourced from local bar supply companies, so you know these are the same pieces used by restaurants and bars throughout Vancouver. The instructor has all the details and can set you up with one of those sets before you leave for the day. Practice your pouring at home! The first day it can be a little overwhelming, but every drink you make you get a little faster, a little more confident & a little smoother. It takes many hours of pouring drinks to look like you know what your are doing, and that is what your here for, hours and hours behind the bar, repetition, making order after order. 7 more days of this & you will look like a pro!
- How is alcohol made?
- Why are some sweet, and some taste like nothing?
- Why are some brown and others clear?
- Can I make it in my backyard?
Vodka and How It Is MadeWhat makes a great vodka vs a cheap vodka, popular brands. Vodka based cocktails. This is a big topic. Vodka is the most popular spirit by far, so there are a lot of them. The Fine Art Bartending Training Manual is constantly being revised and updated to capture popular vodka drinks, but we can’t capture them all. Again, you don’t have to memorize every cocktail, but there are certain recipes that every bartender should know. We wrap up the 1st day with a lesson on modifiers. Starbucks baristas can deal with dozens of modifiers to their coffee drinks without blinking an eye, (decaf, non-fat, extra shot, half-sweet, no foam etc..), and we bartenders have a dozen of our own we need to get comfortable with (short, tall, double, half-ice, neat, back, side, extra spicy, sidecar of soda, loaded, etc. etc..). We take you through all of these, and after 8 days of working with modified drink orders, you wont even think twice when your customer requests 3 modifiers for their cocktail.
Day 2 – Keeping Up the Momentum
Next Lets Talk about Tips, and how to make some real money
Tips are good. How do we make tips, there are several ways. To make the maximum amount of tips possible, we need to talk about 2 things, how to deliver exceptional customer service, and upselling. What exceptional service looks like. Why it is important. How can we upsell in a way that makes the customer feel like we are trying to help them get the exact custom/tailored drink they really want. What can we upsell. These are all big topics, and we will continue to touch on them throughout the rest of the course.
Hopefully by now you are seeing a pattern with how our classes work. We talk about a concept, then we get up behind the bar and do it. We talk theory, then we get up behind the bar and do a drill of some sort. The first couple days have a little more theory/discussion, just to get you really familiar with everything and get you into good habits. Day 3 onward, you will find you are spending much of your time up behind the bar, working through recipes, efficiency, customer service, upselling, streamlining, multitasking etc.. and much less of your time talking/discussing theory.
Learning all about Liqueurs,
Liqueurs consist of Baileys, Sambuca, Amaretto, Kahlua, and Jägermeister. The list goes on and on. Each is very different, including how they are made. Learn why they all taste so different, various types & flavours. Jump back behind the bar and run through some liqueur based recipes.
Shooters – Popular recipes, different preparation methods, up behind the bar to try the techniques.
Back behind the bar for a customer service drill. Recommending cocktails to customers based on what they like. Its not an easy one, but its super important to be able to apply all your new bartending knowledge to actually make customers great drinks that they will love, taking into account the customer’s taste.
Streamlining & efficiency. With over 30 years of teaching at Fine Art Bartending, we have a few tips and tricks we have picked up over the years. Basic tips that every bartender should know… but many don’t.
Day 3 – Perfecting the Speed Round
Gin and Gin CocktailsTime to talk about gin, how its made, and popular brands etc. We discuss martinis and other popular gin cocktails. Your instructor will give you a complete demonstration on how to prepare several martini & gin cocktail recipes. After that, it’s your turn to get up behind the bar and work through 10-12 gin-based recipes & variations on martinis. Each day you will find it a little easier to tackle new cocktails. After a few days, you can even start to look up from what you are doing and have a conversation with a customer, all while adding up the price of the drink order in your head! Well, maybe not quite all that today, next week though ; Another big topic. As long as you are a bartender, you will never stop working on being efficient. But it all starts here, making 2, then 3, then 4 then 5 different cocktails at the same time, never touching the same bottle twice, not turning around and walking over to find ingredients any more than is absolutely necessary. Just generally being efficient. The difference between a fast bartender and a slow bartender has nothing to do with how fast they move, and everything to do with who is being more efficient with their movements.
Day 4 – Rum and Tequila!
Aging a Spirit Mellows It Out
After everyone is set-up, warmed up, and refreshed on what we worked on yesterday, time to get into some new concepts.
Review of Vodka Drinks Practice session using your new efficiency techniques, no more making 1 drink at a time, we start the day with many rounds of three drink orders, focusing on efficiency.
Tequila, how its made, what makes a great tequila, tequila based cocktails. Demonstration & then your turn to get up behind the bar & master the few tequila based cocktails.
Hot drinks, Specialty Coffee’s, Blueberry tea, there are so many to learn.
Rum, how its made, different types, & rum based cocktails, back up behind the bar you go to master the rum based cocktails.
Day 5 – Whiskies!!
“Does everyone remember those cocktails made from Rum & Tequila, Vodka and Gin that we made last week? Think you could make them blindfolded. We didn’t think so. So lets jump behind the bar, get set up & spend a little more time on them”
Next we talk about whiskies. Canadian, Scottish, Irish & American. What each is made from, and what common cocktails we can make with it. Your instructor will carefully demonstrate 6-10 recipes, all made with whiskey as the base alcohol. We also have an Intro to Whiskies class which quickly covers much of this same material… but with samples of whiskies to sip on (and no test). Bring along a friend to show them your ‘classroom’!
Now its your turn. Back up behind the bar you go to work your way through each of the recipes. Some recipes need to be memorized, some don’t. The important thing is to spend the time up behind the bar, working your way through recipes, finding all the various liquors, liqueurs, bitters, syrups etc..
Day 6 – All About Wine, Brandy & Cognac
Day 7 – Beer and How to Tap a Keg
Of course a big practice session of all the drinks we learned last week to start the day, focus on efficiency.
Big practice session to start the day, 20 or so rounds of 3 to 5 drinks each. Important to keep bartending, every day, keep at it, confidence keeps growing, and you are starting to look like a pro. Quite a difference from Day #1!
Beer time. Let us talk about how beer is made, and then outline different types of beer, kegs versus bottles, how keg systems work. Of course there has to be a little time spent on pouring and serving beer. From that point, we have you move back behind the bar, time to work on your memory. In busier places, customers give you 3 to 5 drink orders, and you don’t see bartenders writing orders down, they work from memory. We will give you some tips and tricks to help remember drink orders.
Now that you know a few recipes, we can start throwing a few curve balls at you. Remember how to make a Whiskey Sour? Now make me an Coffee Sour, a Vodka Sour, a Banana Sour? Many recipes are really just a guideline, they are important to know, and this 20 minute drill teaches you that customers can request major variations of these recipes you are now familiar with. After this exercise, no weird variation on a popular recipe will ever throw you for a loop.
Day 8 – Test Day
The last review & the final practice session
No need to stress about it. The exam is a relatively short written exam. You should know your stuff now, and that will make these simple questions that much easier. Bartending is not just about what you can write down though, there needs to be a hands-on exam as well. Of course we get you up behind the bar for your practical exam where you make a few select cocktails for the instructor.
Yay!!!! You are now all done! Of course now that you have passed the course, we hand you a Bartending Certificate and usually head out for some drinks! But first, we have just a couple final bits to cover…
Resumes – Bartending is not a traditional job with traditional rules for resumes. To help you out, we outline 45 minutes of tips and recommendations for preparing a great bartending resume. We also have a few more bartender resume writing tips for you to check out in advance
How to look for a bartending job. The bar and restaurant industry is quite different from most. It is worth taking 45 minutes and talking about how to go about looking for a bartending job.