Big Week Ahead
Cocktails for Catfish

Bar (pre)Tender

All day today I've been playing imaginary bartender. I'm taking the Bar Smarts course, which is an advanced training for bartenders on classic cocktails, techniques, and history sponsored by Pernod-Ricard. You do four weeks of book, DVD, and online training, followed by a full-day class, written test, and live cocktail-making test.

Book learning? Yeah, I'm not so worried about that. I am kind of a nerd. But the practical part- actually making drinks? I only do that for myself, and my philosophy is that I try to only order drinks out that I can't make at home and to only make drinks at home that are easy.

Bar pretender2I am doing the course as a member of the press and writing about it, but am probably one of very few people taking the test who doesn't work behind a bar. After memorizing the 25 required recipes, and practicing techniques (like not shooting lemon juice in my eye from the squeezer), I decided I should make all the drinks at least once. We have to do three of them in ten minutes (I assume three at once, not three in a row). I poured fake booze (not up to drinking 25 cocktails in an hour), I squeezed real fruit and muddled real mint, I added bitters and cracked eggs. And I timed myself.

Conclusion: I'm screwed.

I am fine with listing the ingredients and preparation of drinks from memory, but I don't think in the order that drinks are made. For example, the typical recipe would end with "Strain into a chilled cocktail glass with a salted rim," but that's the step you need to do first when you make it.  Then there are the issues of making three at a time- keeping track of which is which and when to shake so they're all done/cold at the same time and remembering the difference between a sour glass and a Collins glass in reality. At the end of the day I didn't waste any actual booze and still my kitchen and person were entirely covered in sticky.

It's fair to say I am pretty stressed out about the test tomorrow (I CANNOT FAIL), but I just came to a realization that I actually *can* harvest my nerd powers in this circumstance.

The test is being given by the B.A.R. guys, all of whom should be getting into town tonight. I'm going to Dale Degroff (one of the examiners)'s book party, and should probably see the rest of the crew there. And I am fully prepared to do what nerds to best: BROWNNOSE.