Cocktail bartending etiquette

Words by Jane Ryan

Cocktail bartending etiquette image 1

There are certain basics when it comes to making drinks, and this time we’re not talking ice, shakers or citrus. Keeping it clean has never been so important.

Open kitchens in modern-styled restaurants have put today's chef on display in a way that the food industry has never experienced. It puts the focus on the food and it's always clear the restaurant is saying they have nothing to hide in the production of your dinner. So far so good. But everyone has felt the horror when you glance past the dispense area to the chefs bustling over hot plates and bubbling pans and see one run their hands through a mop of greasy hair.

Yet bartenders have always been visible, since the earliest of our industry stood behind hotel bars and dispensed glasses of punch, the bar has always been on display. Which may go some way to explaining the distinctive look, the careful tailoring and pride of bartenders, from the 1800s to today. It's about appearing professional.

This important element of bartender training seems to have been lost somewhere along the way recently. It may sound overzealous to recoil in horror as a bartender rubes his nose, but what seems like an inconspicuous movement on one side of the bar is actually incredibly noticeable when sitting on the other side.

On our travels throughout the world's bars we have seen time and again just why these hygiene rules need to be revisited. The following may (should) seem obvious to most bartenders, but when the person behind the bars licks their hands whilst making your drink, continuously pushes back sweaty hair, wipes their nose on the back of their hands, or mops their brow using their fingers, there's a clear need to remember the customer has keen eyes. Keep it clean.

- Don't touch your face
- If your hair is long enough to fall in your face and irritate you, tie it up
- Don't chew your nails or put your hands anywhere near your mouth
- If you need to sneeze or cough turn away from the customers/fresh ingredients/ice
- Try not to eat in front of customers
- Don't pick up glasses around the rim - always from the bottom or the stem
- Always wipe down surfaces
- If your tea towels or cloths are getting stained, put it aside for washing and get a fresh one
- Lastly if you do find yourself in any of these situations simply wash your hands

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