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Bartending Basics: Tips & Terminology

Instructor: Ian Lord

Ian is a real estate investor, MBA, former health professions educator, and Air Force veteran.

In this lesson we will review some of the common drink terminology used in a bar setting and how when combined with a few personal bartender tips, it results in customer satisfaction.

Bartending Tips and Terminology

There's more to being a good bartender than getting the drinks made quickly. As a professional bartender Sam is an expert at customer service as well as familiar with a wide range of terms used in the beverage industry. How do these relate? The customer wants a drink quickly but with professional service and expects the bartender to understand basic requests such as a neat whiskey or well cocktail. Let's take a look at some of the best practices Sam uses to make a good impression on the customers and review some of the essential bartender vocabulary.

Hygiene and Appearance

Part of making a good experience for the bar patrons is to project an impression of professionalism. Appearances count, both personally and in the cleanliness of the bar. Interactions with the customer can make or break a customer's positive experience and likelihood of repeat business.

Before each shift Sam makes sure that his clothing adheres to this code and that he meets his boss' expectations. Sam's employer doesn't have a uniform but does enforce a strict dress code. It may sound obvious, but anyone working in the food and beverage industry should bathe before work and not look or smell offensive to an average person's sensibilities. Since he works with his hands by mixing drinks in public view Sam makes sure that he keeps his nails neatly groomed and washes his hands regularly during his shifts.

Bartender in Uniform
Bartender in Uniform

Customer Service

Professional customer service depends on ensuring the customers are satisfied with their experience. This encourages repeat business. Being polite at all times, even when having to cut off a patron who has had too much to drink or asking someone to leave, keeps people coming back to see Sam. Little gestures like remembering a regular patron's drink of choice and being able to make drink suggestions after talking to a customer for a bit also help with customer satisfaction.

Bartending Terminology

Most of the bartending jargon Sam works with on a nightly basis relates to the method of serving and the ingredients involved. There are a number of ways Sam hears drink serving requests. A call for a neat drink means just a shot of liquor. Straight up means the drink has been shaken in ice and strained into a glass. On the rocks means the drink is served with ice in the glass. A back or a chaser is a separate drink served alongside the first drink that is meant to be immediately consumed afterward to mask or smooth the first drink's taste.

Fully Stocked Bar
Fully Stocked Bar

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