Twitter time – describe your job in under 140 characters:
Hosting strangers, making friends, pouring beverages, engaging in conversation, offering support, cleaning and organizing and mundane emails
How did you get into bartending? What was the inspiration for your career route?
While in University I applied to a job advertisement for washing dishes with no experience in the industry. After a year of washing dishes I learned how to cook and eventually took on many different roles in the kitchen (including camp cooking in the middle of nowhere in Northern BC which, to this day, will always be the coolest job I’ve held). When writing my Masters Thesis I decided to switch to serving/bartending so I could work nights and instantly felt at home behind the bar. I came up pouring English Ales in a locals pub, learning hospitality and graciousness before cocktails. Eventually I was asked to take over a small cocktail program with ZERO experience and I put all my energy into learning the history and culture. In a few months I had left graduate school to dedicate myself fully to my newfound love of bartending and I haven’t looked back since.
Is it barrels, carbonation or cocktails on tap? What’s the latest trend you see in bartending?
I hate trends. Hopefully the latest trend will be the end of trends. Keep it real and keep it classic.
What’s the best part of what you do? And what’s the most challenging part?
Of all the rewarding aspects of bartending I think developing regulars at the bar is one of the best feelings. Making genuine connections with people and giving them a reason to come back over and over. I always say, you don’t choose your clientele your clientele chooses you, so it is incredibly humbling and rewarding to see the same faces come back again and again. It builds community and re-affirms my decision to stand behind the bar and host people.
The most challenging part: managing expectations of your guests, managing expectations of your staff, managing expectations of your bosses, managing expectations of fellow bartenders, and maybe above all else, the hardest thing is managing your own expectations.
What is your favorite spirit to work with behind the bar?
The ghostly spirit of Jerry Thomas…
Do you have a definitive cocktail style?
What’s the most memorable moment you’ve ever had working behind a bar?
I grew up in a fairly small part of the world and knew all of my neighbours on a first name basis. I left pretty early, just after high school, and didn’t maintain many of my old childhood relationships. This past summer a small group came into my bar, they were old neighbours of mine from growing up that I hadn’t talked to or seen in over decade. We didn’t even go to school together because they were all older than me but we had a friendly community based relationship. They weren’t cocktail drinkers, nor did they drink much in general, but they had seen me on TV one day and wanted to come in and say hello. They each had a cocktail and we caught up best we could in such a short amount of time, but I was moved by their actions to seek me out and say hello. I realized that day that the connections we make with each other, no matter how big or small we perceive them to be, are lasting and impressionable.
What’s the next step for you when it comes to tending bar?
The next step for me is one where my left foot follows my right.
Who’s bar are you most likely to be found at, and what are you drinking there?
My home bar drinking some funky ciders. Wanna join?
What’s your go to drink to mix?
GIMLET. Always my first introductory cocktail to someone who has never had a cocktail before and always a favourite to serve a connoisseur who has drink cocktails all over the globe.
Fernet, Mezcal or Chartreuse?
All 3, but in a desert island scenario, Mezcal.
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