Where Can I Find a Good Bartender?

The Royal Caribbean cruise line created a buzz in 2014 when they introduced automated Bionic Bars on some of their ocean liners. Passengers can order mixed drinks from a computer tablet, then watch the robotic arms mix and shake cocktails. It’s not quite Tom Cruise in the film Cocktail, but it can be mildly entertaining. Since then, the manufacturer of these bionic barkeeps, a company called Makr Shakr, has installed automated bars in Las Vegas (called the Tipsy Robot), and the Hard Rock hotel in Biloxi, Mississippi. No drink concoction is too complicated for these machines, and they can whip them up in 90 seconds or less.

A short history of the cocktail:

  • The first reference of a “cocktail” appears in an 1803 publication of the Farmer’s Cabinet, from Amherst, New Hampshire. The term was used to refer to a fellow drinking more to cure a hangover.
  • During Prohibition, “speakeasies” would offer mixed drinks using ingredients such as creams and juices to camouflage the alcohol, and to make the poor quality liquor taste better.
  • Why "cocktail"? History is fuzzy on the question, but the term may have come from a drink called a Coquetel served to French soldiers during the American Revolution

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifications should I look for in a good bartender?

A good bartender should possess a mix of formal training and practical experience. Look for certifications from recognized bartending schools or courses, such as the Mixology Certification from the BarSmarts program. Additionally, a bartender with several years of experience in various settings, such as cocktail bars or high-volume establishments, often indicates a well-rounded skill set. Personal attributes like excellent communication skills, a friendly demeanor, and the ability to work under pressure are also crucial.

Where is the best place to hire a professional bartender for an event?

To hire a professional bartender for an event, consider using reputable staffing agencies that specialize in hospitality services. Websites like Thumbtack or GigSalad allow you to find and book local bartenders with customer ratings and reviews. For high-end events, you might want to contact luxury catering companies that provide staff with specialized training in event bartending. Ensure that the bartender or agency has liability insurance and proper certifications for serving alcohol.

How can I ensure the bartender I hire is skilled in making a wide variety of drinks?

When hiring a bartender, inquire about their knowledge of drink recipes and their experience with different types of beverages. A skilled bartender should be familiar with classic cocktails, wine service, and beer pouring techniques. You can also request a practical demonstration or a tasting session before the event to assess their proficiency. Additionally, check their references or online reviews to see feedback from previous clients regarding their mixology skills.

Can I find a good bartender through social media platforms?

Yes, social media platforms can be a great resource for finding talented bartenders. Many professionals showcase their skills on platforms like Instagram or LinkedIn, where they post pictures and videos of their cocktails and events they've worked at. Look for bartenders with a strong following and positive engagement from their audience. You can also join local food and beverage industry groups on Facebook to ask for recommendations.

What are the average rates for hiring a bartender, and what factors influence their fees?

The average rates for hiring a bartender vary widely depending on location, experience, and the type of event. According to Thumbtack, the average cost can range from $20 to $75 per hour. Factors influencing their fees include the complexity of the drink menu, the duration of the event, the need for additional staff, and any extra services provided, such as creating a custom cocktail menu or providing bar tools and glassware.

More Info: Cruise Critic

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