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Cadillac Press
Bartending Inside-Out: The Guide to Profession, Profit, and Fun / Edition 3

Bartending Inside-Out: The Guide to Profession, Profit, and Fun / Edition 3

by Lori Marcus
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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780964201972
Publisher: Cadillac Press
Publication date: 04/01/2008
Edition description: Third Edition, Third edition
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 887,780
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.41(d)

About the Author

Lori Marcus, a former restaurateur, has been a professional mixologist for more than 20 years.She lives in Crystal Bay, Nevada.

Read an Excerpt

Bartending Inside-Out

The Guide to Profession Profit and Fun

By Lori Marcus

Cadillac Press

Copyright © 2008 Lori Marcus
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-9642019-7-2



The best way to learn how to bartend is through "hands-on" experience. Unfortunately, finding a bar that is willing to train you can be hard. If you are presently working in a restaurant/bar as a waiter or bar-back, you are in the optimal position to begin your learning process. Look, listen, ask questions and learn all that you can about specific drinks, garnishes, and liqueurs.

There are also many bartending schools out there that can provide you with basic skills, knowledge, and job placement. Ask around and find one with a good solid reputation.


You will need the following tools to help you learn the mechanics of bartending —

EMPTY LIQUOR BOTTLES: Use a generic-shaped liquor bottle with a long neck in order to learn proper handling techniques.

POUR SPOUTS: Make sure that these are not the wide mouth "speed pourers." These fast pour spouts are good for juices and thick liqueurs but make pouring a controlled shot difficult.

SHAKER GLASS and STRAINER: Use the large size, available at most liquor or restaurant supply stores. (see page 113)

SHOT GLASS: Find a two-ounce, lined shot glass. Shot glasses come in different shapes and sizes; you will be learning how to pour a controlled one-ounce shot. (see

GLASSWARE: It is best to use traditional highball, rocks and cocktail glasses. (see page 61)


Learning the proper pouring techniques and developing good hand-eye coordination are the only ways to ensure that all drinks are poured accurately and consistently.

There are two types of pouring procedures — measured and free-pouring.


Owners and managers use the measured pouring method in order to keep a bartender from over-pouring alcohol. When a bar requires the use of a shot glass to pour alcohol, they may save on pouring costs (P.C.), but they will lose on time required to pour those drinks, as measured pouring takes twice the time as free-pouring. Most customers prefer watching a bartender free-pour their drink, regardless of how much they pour.

Measured Pouring can be achieved in several ways —

* Liquor guns; similar to a soda gun that are designed to pour a pre-programmed portion only.

* Controlled pour spouts that dispense one shot at a time.

The required use of a shot glass for pouring.


To pour a drink using a measured shot glass or jigger —

* Hold the shot glass over your iced glass.

* Fill the shot glass until it reaches your required pour.

* Empty the measured shot into the glass.

* Rinse out the shot glass. Place it upside down on the bar mat to drain.

It is a good idea to keep two shot glasses for pouring. One for clear liquors and another for colored or cream liquors. Even when you rinse a glass with water, certain oils and flavors can remain behind.


A professional bartender should be able to free-pour a shot consistently, without measuring or counting. Eventually, you will be able to measure your pour by feel and by knowing where a shot measures up to in your glassware.

The easiest way to learn how to free-pour accurately is to count while you pour. You will find that your count will vary when using different size pour spouts and when pouring thicker liquors.

Each bar has policies regarding the amount of alcohol poured per drink. Some pour one ounce only. Others pour an ounce and a quarter, or ounce and a half. With continuous changes in the laws regarding liability and legal intoxication levels, some bars are cutting back on the amount they pour and some customers are requesting less alcohol and more mix. Next, you will learn to pour a one-ounce shot. After mastering the one-ounce shot, you will be able to adapt for each different pouring situation.


Prepare your tools for learning —

Fill two empty liquor bottles with water and top them with pour spouts.

Place a one-ounce shot glass and a rocks glass on a table or countertop that is at least waist high. Be sure to give yourself plenty of room.

When pouring drinks at a bar, always make them on a bar mat. This is a rubber mat placed on the bar, above your ice bin and speed rack, designed to collect any liquid spillage.

Grab the bottle high up around the neck. Always drape your index finger over the base of the pour spout. This prevents the spout from falling out while you pour.

Using your wrist, invert the bottle (almost upside down), over the shot glass. Count the amount of beats it takes to fill the shot glass. Finish your pour by quickly righting the bottle using a twist of your wrist to minimize/prevent spillage.

Pour the filled shot into a rocks glass; note the level to which it fills the glass. Practice this a few times to establish what count is needed for you to pour a one-ounce shot.

When you feel comfortable with your bottle handling and think you have your count down, reverse your pouring order.

Pour a shot as you have been doing, only this time pour directly into the rocks glass (without ice). Test your accuracy by pouring the contents of the rocks glass back into the shot glass.

Practice and adjust your count until you are able to repeat free- pouring a full shot, give or take a few drops, on a regular basis.

Now, change hands and practice again.

Remember! The liquor bottle must be held by the neck, inverted over the glass (almost upside down) and poured using the wrist. This method provides quick, even pouring with no spillage.

Once you feel comfortable free-pouring a shot; then it is time to move on.


Take one of your filled bottles and remove the pour spout. This will be your juice bottle. You can add some food coloring if you wish.

Beside it place another filled bottle fitted with a pour spout.

Fill a highball or similar glass with ice. Always make sure to pack your glasses with ice. Alcohol makes ice melt fast.

Now, pour a drink using both hands at the same time. You will have to regulate your juice pour while making sure to pour just one shot of liquor.

Practice this until you feel comfortable.

Repeat this process, switching hands used for the juice and liquor bottles.

No problem? Great. Bring out the shot and the rocks glass again. It's time to double check your liquor pour. Pour the same amount as you did for your drink into the rocks glass (no ice). Pour the liquid into the shot glass and see how you did.


Being able to comfortably use both hands equally when bartending is the most important mechanical skill you can develop. To avoid catching "the dreaded one-handed-bartender syndrome," learn and practice two-handed bartending from the start.

A professional must be able to pour liquor and juices, use a soda gun, squeeze fruit, and straw drinks with either hand. This is necessary for speed and efficiency. Each bar that you work will be set up differently. Most will have more than one bartender. It is important that you be able to adapt for both right- and left-hand placements.


Make a conscious effort from the beginning to use and develop your weak pouring hand.

Wherever the bottle, juice, or soda gun is located, use your closest hand to pour it. Do not favor one hand over the other.

Always use both hands when pouring a mixed drink.

Pour the liquor and mixer at the same time. Concentrate on pouring the proper amount of alcohol while regulating your juice or soda pour to match your liquor pouring time.

The most important thing to remember is not to over-pour or under-pour while trying to keep up with a fast- or slow-pouring mixer. Each hand must pour independently of the other.


When a drink calls for two or more liquors — hold a bottle in each hand and pour them at the same time.

Cut your pouring time in half so that your combined pour equals one controlled shot.

When your customer asks you to make a favorite concoction — one shot of this, two shots of that, etc., it usually means: one part this, two parts that, etc. When you do make a multi-shot drink, be sure to let your customer know the cost before making it.


When making more than one drink at a time, ice and group all glasses together that will contain the same liquor.

Remember — When a shot contains two or more liquors, the sum of the liquors used should not exceed the amount poured for a single shot unless you are charging accordingly.

When pouring hot liquids into glasses that are not heat treated, put a metal spoon into the glass before you pour. The spoon will conduct the heat and protect the glass from breaking.

Shots containing liquor only are usually served in a shot glass. Shots that contain juices or other mixers should be served in a rocks glass or in a glass that allows enough room for the right proportions of alcohol and mix.

When pouring a batch of mixed shots using a strainer, group all the glasses together and touching. Pour a little into each glass. Repeat this process until all the glasses are evenly filled and your cocktail shaker is empty. This method ensures that each drink is thoroughly mixed and equal in size.

When pouring liquor into a snifter, many people prefer to stand the glass on its side and pour the liquor until it reaches the rim of the glass. Because of the difference in glass sizes, this will not always give you an accurate pour. But, since many bars do not use pour spouts with top shelf liquors, this pouring technique may give you a more accurate pour than free pouring a bottle without a pour spout.


Pousse-Cafés are layered drinks created by floating liquors of different densities and colors atop each other. When properly poured and presented, a pousse-café allows a bartender to create and design an individual, colorful, dramatic, and tasty concoction likely to impress any customer.

Pousse-cafés can be served in any small glass that will show off its layers. If your bar does not stock special pousse-café glasses, use a shot or sherry glass. Avoid using a rocks glass. It is too wide to achieve a good layering affect without over-pouring.

The densities and weights of liquors are not indicated on the bottles and can vary widely from one brand to the next. Trial and error is often a necessity when determining density.

In general —

* The more sugar in the liquor, the more density or weight.

* The more alcohol, the lighter the liquor.


The densest liquor is poured first; other liqueurs are 'floated' in succession, according to density.

Here are two ways to create a Pousse-Café —

1. To keep the layers separate, slowly pour the liquor over the back side of a bar spoon (a cherry may also be used to slow the flow).

Keep the spoon close to the inside wall of the glass as you '"float" each layer atop the other.

With practice, layering can be done easily and impressively, without the aid of a spoon.

2. Tilt the glass once you have poured the bottom liquor.

Place the tip of the pour spout against the inside wall of the glass, tipping the liquor bottle just far enough to begin a slow, even pour.

Pour against the inside wall of the tilted glass, just above the previous layer.

The wall of the glass slows and directs your pour, allowing the liquor to "float" atop the previous layer. (A process similar to the pouring of a draft beer.)

Remember —

Tilt the bottle just enough to start a slow, controlled flow.

You can also slow and adjust the flow of liquor while pouring by partially covering up the opening of your pour spout with your index finger or by slowly twisting the pour spout using an upward motion.

If you pour slowly enough against the inside wall of the glass and above the previous layer, many liquors will follow the wall and slip under the lighter layers, settling to their proper layer and correcting any misjudgments you may have made in pouring order.

Mistakes in pouring order will often correct themselves (for later use) if you let them sit in a cool place until they settle.



The Boston Shaker Set consists of two receptacles that fit together, one being a mixing glass - or Pint Glass, and the other a metal tumbler. Each can also be used separately for mixing, in conjunction with a spring coiled strainer.

Standard Shaker consists of three parts — stainless cup, lid, and strainer.

Individual Metal Tumblers are available in many sizes that fit directly over bar glasses for shaking.


Drinks that contain multiple ingredients or ingredients that do not mix easily are usually shaken. These include drinks containing sugar, several juices, cream or milk. Do not shake carbonated beverages.


Drinks that contain clear liquors or a carbonated mixer, should be stirred, not shaken. Use a mixing glass, bar spoon and strainer. Stir gently, just long enough to mix the ingredients. Over-mixing will cause loss of carbonation, melt the ice, and water down the drink. Make only the amount that you need. Strain and pour from the metal tumbler.


Metal strainers are designed with a flexible spring coil that fits inside the rim of mixing glasses as well as other large glasses. To keep the strainer in place while you pour, drape your index finger over the strainer top.


You may chill and serve mixed cocktails or shaken liquors in a variety of glasses. The choice of glass depends on the drink, the person, and the type or bar that you are working.


Chilled drinks intended for sipping include the Martini, Gibson, Gimlet, and Manhattan. These drinks should be mixed and immediately strained into a well-chilled cocktail glass to avoid a cocktail being served that is watered down with melted ice.

To chill a cocktail/martini glass —

* Fill the glass with ice and add soda water (this chills the glass evenly and quickly). Or, fill a few glasses with ice and let them sit and chill until needed.

* Let the glass chill while you prepare the cocktail.

* Empty the glass and give it a good shake to remove excess water before you pour.

Ideally, cocktail glasses should be kept chilled in a bar cooler. Unfortunately, space restrictions often don't allow this.


Whenever possible, glasses used for hot liquids should be preheated. In order to safely use glasses that are not heat-treated, place a bar spoon inside the glass prior to pouring in any hot liquid. The spoon will conduct the heat away from the glass, keeping it from cracking or exploding.


Spirits are ordered by either generic name (Vodka, Gin, Scotch, etc.) or by brand name.

Bars use the following categories as a base for forming their price structure.

GENERIC brands are also called bar brands. They are generally inexpensive, unknown brands poured when no specific brand name is called for. These bottles are usually found in your speed rack or well area. A bartender will often be asked, "What's in your well?" This question refers to the brand name you pour when no specific one is requested. Well brands are chosen by the house, taking liquor quality, price, and house image into consideration.

PREMIUM is a term used by some bars to create a price category containing certain call brands whose costs are somewhat lower than those of the upper end call brands. (This is a category used for pricing only; cost does not always reflect the quality of a product.)

CALL liquors refer to the liquor poured when a customer requests a specific brand or "calls out" for a brand name.

TOP SHELF/SUPER PREMIUM refers to high quality, expensive liquors, usually displayed on the top shelf of the bar (Grand Marnier, B&B, Cognac, etc.).


You cannot successfully sell what you don't know. Learn as much as you can about your products, educate your wait staff, and suggest new items to your customers.



All alcoholic beverages fall into one of three categories —

Fermented Beverages are mixtures produced from grains or fruits such as grapes. (i.e. beer, wine)

Distilled Spirits result from a pure distillation of fermented beverages. (i.e. Vodka, Rum, Gin)

Blended or Compounded Drinks are mixtures of spirits and/or a fermented beverage with added flavorings. (i.e. liqueurs, aperitifs)


Excerpted from Bartending Inside-Out by Lori Marcus. Copyright © 2008 Lori Marcus. Excerpted by permission of Cadillac Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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