To get better at anything requires a lot of hard work. Learning, practising, making mistakes and doing it all over again. The bartending community is full of veterans. Those people who have been behind the wood for decades. Who have seen trends and cocktails evolves. From these people we can learn a heck of a lot both when it comes to bartending and when it comes to life in general. We reached out to those who have been bartending for over twenty-one years to answer some questions about their experience over this time.
Today we talk with a Brit named H. It takes a fair amount of confidence to leave your home country and then establish yourself in a foreign land. After getting settled in Vancouver as a bartender, he started a mentor program and when that really got rolling, he headed to the other side of Canada to start spreading the teachings of bartending again. Today you can find him at The Gift Shop in Toronto.
BA: Where was your first job behind a bar and what month/year was it?
H: St. John’s swallow hotel, January 10 1992
What was the most popular drink you poured at the time?
Gin and orange
What was the first drink ordered that you had no clue how to make?
Concerning entertainment in bars and restaurants at the time, was it mostly live music, or had DJs crept in? What was the vibe of the bar/cocktail scene back then?
What trend in bars and drinks are you happy to have seen come and go in your career?
Every trend, fucking hate ‘trends’
Would you describe yourself as a pack leader (manager/trainer/educator) or a lone wolf?
A bit of both
Any truly outstanding surprises that the industry has thrown your way? Something you genuinely had no idea would work but became popular?
Are you in a long term relationship and has your career been a help or hinderance to your personal life?
The Bartender life has destroyed my relationships, that is why I choose to stay alone!
What do you do when not working that you didn’t do when you started in the business?
Go to BDSM clubs
What is the greatest lesson that you have learned through bartending?
What surprises you most about bartending now versus when you first began?
What advice do you have for new bartenders?
What was the last drink ordered from you that had no clue how to make?
The fucking ‘Dunhill’!!!!!
Any other advice or wisdom that you would like to pass on?
Lead with your heart, open your mind and create with passion. Be an asshole to all and love all!