Category : Bartenders Guide

How to Pour Mixed Drinks – Adding Mix and Garnish

Bartending Basics Video Tutorial

How to Pour Drinks | Bartender Pouring Technique

How to Pour Drinks Part 2 – Bartending Basics:  Adding Mix
and Garnish

[Video Transcript] How to Pour Drinks – Adding Mix & Garnish

We do the next one with full mix and ah, the garnish. So again, two glasses. I’m gonna say we have here a vodka water and a vodka cranberry – ok, vodka water, vodka cran. So i grab my shot glasses with one hand. You always want to use two hands. Ok, at all times two hands are doing something.

Ok, so i’m grabbing my shot glass and i’m actually gonna try, we’ll get a little flip going. Ok but, just grab it and turn over at the same time you’re grabbing your bottle from your well. And you’re bringing it up. So 45 degree angle. Cut. Pour in. Again 45 degree angle. Cut. Pour in.

Put them both (bottle & shot glass) down. Now I want to grab my [soda] gun. See I have my water on it. Ok, so my gun… but I want to use both hands here instead of crossing over but I’m gonna go water and cranberry. At the same time with my other hand I’m going to grab straws. This [station] is more set up for a left-handed bartender. So first one [drink] is water.

I’m watching, I’m grabbing two straws with my other hand. Ok and the next one is cranberry and I put two straws in. Ok so, I picked up both straws(Click Here to check this product in our barstore) from the container. I split them, put them both in at the same time.pouring mixed drinks - adding mix and garnish

Ok, as I put the gun down, now I’m going to grab the fruit. Ok so, I want to use these two different fruit here and I’ll just show you a lemon and a lime. A vodka cranberry can be garnished with lemon, can be garnished with a lime or sometimes un-garnished. Ok, vodka water, anything light-colored can be garnished with a lemon.

So vodka water, i will put the lemon. And I’m going to split with my fingers, as I bring this up [the lime wedge], it has a slice here, which I show you how to do in another video. It has a slice here, so I’m going to spread it as I’m bringing it up so that I can put it directly on the glass.

Ok, and then touching the bottom of the glass. Do not touch the area where people drink. Ok, do not touch this area with your hands. The bottom of the glass, pick it up and serve it to the customers. Ok, so that’s the full presentation. You probably have some napkins or coasters, this is just a service bar here.

If you haven’t seen the first one, watch HOW TO POUR DRINKS part 1 HERE

Free Pouring Using Bartender Pour Count System

How to Free Pour Using One One-Thousand Pour Count System

Free pouring means pouring alcohol or mixing drinks without using any type of measuring device. As a bar consultant, I would never recommend bartenders not to use some type of measuring device however it is still an essential skill for every bartender to know.

There are times when you’re going to need to use the bartending pour count free pouring technique and you can’t always rely on a shot glass or jigger to tell you how much an ounce to free pour using a count system

Learn how to freepour using the 1-1000 count system. If your bar doesn’t use a jigger, shot glass or other measuring device, you still need to know how much to pour each and every time. Learning how to free pour a shot is an essential skill for any bartender to learn.


[Transcript] Free Pouring Using Bartender Pour Count System | How to Free Pour

Hey there, Reese Richards from! All right, so we’ve already done a video on what is a jigger, and how to pour, so in this video, we’re going to show you how to free pour, ok, but using a count system. The most popular count system is a one/one thousand, two/one thousand, three/one thousand system…. one one/ thousand, two/one thousand, three/one thousand. So. You want to use a count system in your free pouring in your bar, and you want to make sure that you have the metal pour spouts, ok, because the plastic ones they pour at a different rate. So, all the metal ones tend to pour at the same rate. Ok?

So, what we’re doing here is we have a shot glass, ok? And this measures out millilitres on one side and ounces on the other. And we have a half ounce, an ounce, and an ounce and a half. Ok? So, I’m going to show you, using the count system.. .and we’ll pour into the shot glass so that you can see where the measurement is. So, we’re going to come up at a forty-five degree angle into the shot glass, and when we stop we’re going to turn our wrist to cut, ok? We don’t want to just back off, because it will trail out some liquid. So, we want to turn our wrists to cut when we stop pouring, ok?

So, let’s get a shot here. So, we’re going to count now… as soon as it starts, we’re going to count one/ one thousand, two/one thousand, three/one thousand, ok? So. One/one thousand, two/ one thousand, three /one thousand, and cut! Ok? So, we’re right on the ounce line, ok? Right on the ounce line. And again, we go up and one/one thousand, two/ one thousand, three/one thousand, and I cut. I had to spit the other thousand out there a little faster so I can tell you “cut!” at the same time, so… So, uh, I’ll do it without this again… we’re right on the ounce here. And, uh, if you want to do an ounce and a half, you’ll go up to four, but don’t include the thousand, ok? So one/one thousand, two/one thousand, three/one thousand, four, and I won’t say “cut” because if I say cut then I’m going to over- pour on myself.

Ok, so I’ll stop and I’ll do an ounce and a half here. So again, we’re up at a forty five degree angle, and one/one thousand, two/one thousand, three/one thousand four, and then I cut. Cut, ok? So, we’re right on the ounce and a half line here, ok? Exact ounce and a half. And you want to practice this at home, and just keep… uh… this is a bottle of water. Obviously, it’s not Bacardi here, so just use a bottle of water, and you can keep on practicing and practicing. Ok? And, uh, to see how accurate you are, after you are finished using the shot glass or the measuring shot glass, what you want to do now is empty out your glass, ok? And then try it into your glass as if you were free pouring at work. So, again, whether it’s an ounce or an ounce and a half… I prefer to use an ounce, so I count to three one thousands. Ok? So, one/one thousand, two/one thousand, three/one thousand. Stop, ok? And now you want to see how accurate that is, so you want to measure your pours back.

So let’s pour this back into our measuring shot glass, and we’ll see how accurate we are. Ok? And in this case the line is just above an ounce, ok? So, it was a tad above an ounce. So, keep practicing that. There’s some liquid in the glass still… anyway, keep practicing that, and you should be within like a tenth of an ounce. Ok? Uh, again, one/one thousand, two/one thousand, three/one thousand, and just measure… keep on doing it until you measure exactly how fast you have to go for. And, uh, if you work at a bar that has jiggers.. ok, we have one ounce here, one and a half on the other side… so, again, we’re doing one/one thousand, two/one thousand, three/one thousand, stop. Ok? A full ounce. And then the other side… one/one thousand, two/one thousand, three/one thousand, four. Ok? Stop. A full ounce and a half.

Ok, so practice on your own. Put it into the cup, measure it back into a measuring shot glass or a jigger if you have it, and that’s how you do the one/one thousand, two/one thousand, three/one thousand pouring count.

Dealing with Difficult Customers

Dealing with Difficult Customers –
Killing Rude Customers with Kindness

Dealing with difficult customers is not an easy task by any stretch.  If you’re sarcastic by nature though, this will come easy to you – you’re able to be over-kind to rude customers and still get the last laugh. And its a win-win situation for the bar / bartender and the customer.  Let me explain….

So say you get some guy who starts pounding his fist on the bar, screaming “Service, Service!” Then you go over to take his order and he doesn’t know what he wants and says “Make me something good…and STRONG!”

From this point on, it could go two ways.

The first is to give into your temptations and put this guy in his place in front of all the other customers – causing irreparable damage to his ego. There are a couple of problems with this path however.

First, you don’t know who this guy is and for all you know, he could be some ViP who was college roommates with your boss.

Two, you’ve now put a challenge on the table and whatever happens next is probably not going to be good. Maybe you don’t serve him, maybe you kick him out, maybe a bouncer comes over and escorts him out, maybe he swings at you; likely he says something back and instigates further problems. And he could genuinely be a good customer who is just having a bad day or wanted to show off in front of his buddies or just doesn’t have any bar etiquette. Or maybe he lives on an isolated farm and the only bar he knows is the mini-moonshine operation in his Uncle Billy’s barn.

Any which way, you’re the bartender and its your job to serve and educate your customers – about certain drinks, rules of the bar, bar etiquette, etc…

Try this instead: “Hey buddy, how you doing tonight? I know you’ve been waiting, I could hear you pounding while I was busy serving other customers. Sorry about that, what can I get for you?”

And say he still responds with “Make me something good…and STRONG!” So you reply “Sure thing, how about a double whiskey and coke, easy on the coke?” Whatever he decides, when you give him the drink, say “Here you go pal. If you need anything else, just put some money on the bar in front of you and I’ll be over with another drink as quick as I can.”

More often than not, the guy will be happy that he got his drink, ego intact. And 9 times out of 10, he won’t pound on the bar for the next drink since you’ve now explained the ordering process. The other 1 out of 10 is likely just an all-round prick. Punch him out…..just kidding 😉

We hope this helps you in dealing with difficult customers in the future.  If you have a certain way that you deal with rude customers, do let us know in the comments below.


Cutting Someone Off From Drinking

Cutting Someone Off From Drinking –

How to Cut Someone Off at the Bar

Cutting someone off from drinking can be a painful experience. For some reason or other, cutting someone off, meaning telling them in some way or another that you are not going to be serving them another drink, is tough for bartenders to do. Even if the guy is a prick, it doesn’t make it any easier. Sometimes, it makes it worse, as these are usually the guys that are going to argue about why they’re being cut off.

Some bartenders have trouble cutting people off because they are intimidated by the customer, don’t know how to say it properly, are afraid of what the customer (especially a regular customer) might say, worried about bar sales, repercussions from the owners etc etc.

The reality is, however, that none of the above matters. Countries around the world are adopting stricter liquor laws. In Canada, it is illegal to serve someone past the point of visible intoxication. If you over-serve a customer and that customer say, falls, trips, slips, gets caught driving drunk, or, heaven forbid, hits and kills someone while driving drunk, YOU, the bartender, will be responsible. And if you don’t live in a country with strict liquor laws, you still have a moral responsibility towards your guests and their safety.

Cutting the prick off may just be the best thing that you can do for him. No one

wants to be cut off; but when done correctly, it saves face and lives. And, more often than not, the person you cut off will apologize for their behaviour the next time they come into your bar.

That being said, here are a 4 tactful and professional ways to cut someone off at a bar.

Choose one that works for you and change it to fit your style.

1.  Using the Law: “Sorry sir, but, by law, I’m obligated to tell you that I can’t continue serving you. It’s apparent to me that you are visibly intoxicated and therefore, I have to cut you off. Here, take this bottle of water, go enjoy the rest of the night but don’t let me catch you trying to order another drink or you’ll be asked to leave.”

2.  Deflecting Blame Upwards: “Sorry, but my boss / manager / owner thinks that you’ve had enough and told me not to serve you another drink. Here’s a bottle of water on the house – you don’t have to stop enjoying your evening, but we just can’t serve you another drink.”

3.  On Your Own: “Listen, I think you’ve had enough to drink already. I wasn’t going to give you the last one but I did because you seem like a nice guy / girl who just wants to unwind and relax a little. But I can’t serve you another one or I’ll lose my job. Here, take a bottle of water and go enjoy the rest of the night with your friends, just don’t let me catch you sneaking drinks 😉

4. Straight Talk: “Sorry buddy but I think you’re at your limit. We have two options from here. I can give you a bottle of water and if you promise not to sneak drinks or try to order from another bartender, you can stay and enjoy the rest of the night. Or, if you choose to argue with me about it, you’ll be asked to leave.”


Keep in mind that no approach works every time. You are going to get some people that just don’t want to be cut off, don’t think they’re drunk, or are too drunk to know what’s good for them. If there are ever any problems cutting off a customer, get the owner or the manager to handle it – that’s what they’re there for. They will get better results and it’ll free up your time to continue providing outstanding service to the rest of your guests.

We hope this has given you some insight and confidence the next time you have to cut someone off at the bar.  Cutting someone off from drinking is not always fun but 9 out of 10 times, the person will thank you for it later (and the 1 out of 10? He just can’t remember what happened at all – otherwise he’d apologize profusely as well we’re sure).

If you have an experience to share cutting off a patron, share it with us in the comments below.  If you learned something, please share this page and our site so that other bartenders may learn as well.


How to Order Scotch

How to Order Scotch

It’s good to know how to order scotch whether you like the stuff or not.  It just makes for a more socially well-rounded individual.  Here are some scotch terms that you can learn before you head out to your next fancy event.

Scotch – scotch simply implies that the whisky was produced in Scotland. Other countries that produce whiskies are Ireland, Canada, America and Japan.

Peat – a moss common in Scotland. It is dried and used to fuel the fire to dry the malt. The peat fire gives the scotch a strong smokey aroma and taste. Some scotches are known for being peaty.

Blended Scotch – a bottle containing two different scotch whiskies. Blended scotch tends to be of lower quality.

Single Malt – a single malt scotch is like a purebred. Aged in one barrel and not blended with any other distillery’s whiskies. Although most distilleries do mix different batches of different ages together.

Malt – Malt indicates that barley grains were used during the germination and fermenting process.

Vatted Malt – a blend of single malts. This is done to control and produce specifics and desired flavors.

Age – Indicates the age of maturation of the youngest component in the scotch whisky.

Cask – Scotches are aged in various types of casks or barrels. Consulthow to taste scotch for a full explanation.

Neat – served in a rocks glass at room temperature with no ice.

Rocks – serve with ice cubes. Some scotch connoisseurs may specify how many rocks they’d like.

Water Side or Water Back – served neat with a small glass of water on the side so water can be added to desired taste.

Splash of Water – served neat with a splash of water already poured in. A splash would be approximately half an ounce of liquid.


So now you know if you hear a guy order “Scotch. Neat.” he’s not commenting on how cool it is that the bar carries scotch.  And that’s how to order scotch.


Scotch Terms

Scotch Terms / Scotch Terminology

Like wine, there are scotch terms and scotch terminology that you’re going to need to know if you want to, well, be in the (scotch) know.  With that in mind, here’s a list of the most common scotch terms that you’ll encounter.

Dry – a feeling of astringency on the tongue.

Full-bodied – strong tastes and smells and heavy on the tongue.

Rich – high intensity with sweet flavors and aromas.

Thin – lacking aromas and flavor and watery in characteristic.

Green – clear marks of grass or moss aromas.

Mellow – aromas and flavors are smooth. Usually from maturing longer.

Robust – strong aromas, flavor and personality.

Neutral – lacks any aromas and has little flavor.

Light – delicate intensity of aromas and flavors.

Round – well-balanced aromas and flavors.

Heavy – high intensity and flavor.

Sharp – prickles the nose and tongue.

Clean – free from most smells and tastes.

Bland – lacks personality.

Soft – pungent alcohol yet light aromas.


A Little Extra Scotch Terminology…

Dram – Scottish for a wee drink. It basically means the amount that is normally served in a drink, approximately one and a half ounces. Now, awee dram would be one ounce. A dram is an old unit of measurement in Scotland.

Angel’s Share – the amount of scotch that evaporates while it is aging.

Slàinte mhath (slawn je vah) – Scottish for CHEERS! It translates to “good health”

Uisge Beatha (oosh-ka bay-ah) – Scottish for “water of life”, similar to Latin’s “aqua vitae”. The word ‘whisky’ is derived from ‘Uisage’.


Those should be all the scotch terms you need to know to start enjoying some great scotch (well, to be honest, you didn’t really need to know all this scotch terminology just to try some nice single malts – but you should if you plan on making it a habit.)




How to Taste Scotch

How to Taste Scotch

This ‘How to Taste Scotch’ page is a continuation from our Hosting a Scotch Tasting Party article.  Once you have everything set up for your scotch tasting event and you have all your supplies and you’ve downloaded and printed copies our our scotch tasting sheet, you’re ready to learn all about how to taste scotch.
As we go through learning how to taste scotch, there will be 2 stages of tasting with 5 levels to complete. The first level will be to explore the scotch neat – meaning no water added and at room temperature. The second level is to explore the scotch diluted – with a little water added (approximately 1-1½ ounces of water).

The water used for diluting the scotch should be free of heavy minerals. Bottled spring water is the best option.


The 5 degrees of scotch tasting is the same for both stages.

Step 1:  Once each guest has been poured a “dram” of scotch (approxiamately 1½ ounces), instruct guests to hold their scotch glasses by the stem. Have everyone hold their glasses up to the light to observe its color. The color of the scotch will reveal what kind of cask it matured in and how long it matured for. They may refer to their scotch tasting sheet to identify the cask.

Step 2:  Have your guests tilt and rotate their glasses to coat the sides of the glass with the scotch and look at the legs. The legs are what we refer to as the liquid that runs back down the side of the glass. How the legs move and the speed at which they run indicates the maturity of the whisky. Slower legs equates to older scotch.

Step 3:  Before tasting the whisky, have your guests nose their scotch to detect the complexities and aromas. During each of these steps, your guests should consult their scotch tasting sheet and write down what they observe.

Step 4:  Now comes the actual tasting. Guests should only take into their mouth enough scotch to coat their tongue. They should then let the scotch sit on their tongue for a minute so they can scrutinize its flavours and texture.  Now instruct your guests to swallow the Scotch and observe and assess its finish. Get your guests to make note of the flavors that linger on their tongue.

Holding the glass by the bowl will warm the scotch up and change the taste and aromas. Tasters may want to try an extra tasting using this method and compare their observations between the two.

Step 5:  Lastly, add a little water to enhance the characteristics of the scotch. Now repeat the steps of observing, smelling, feeling, tasting and assessing the finish.


Now everyone can compare notes from the first neat (no water, no ice) tasting and their second tasting where water was added.


Once each selected scotch has been sampled, serve some desserts and have your guests mingle and share their findings with each other, discussing what they liked best.

Ideas for scotch and food pairing:

Cheeses (soft brie and/or a hard, sharp cheddar)

Flavored Chocolates (cayenne flavored, orange chocolate and/or sea salt chocolate)

Citrus Fruits (oranges and grapefruit) and Orchard Fruits (apples and pears)

Unique flavoured Potato Chips or Pretzels (honey-roasted, worcestershire, mustard)

Appetizer Meats (bacon wrapped chicken, meatballs, ribs or rare-beef on crackers)


We hope you enjoyed How to Taste Scotch and you’re brimming with ideas on hosting a Scotch Tasting Party of your own.  Don’t forget to download and print out enough copies of our Scotch Tasting Sheet for your party.

If you liked the article, please show some bartending love by liking, commenting and sharing.   Cheers!



9 Steps to Pouring Stella Artois

9 Steps to Pouring Stella

There are 9 steps to pouring Stella.  This may seem like a bit much but the Belgians take their beer – and its pour and presentation – very seriously.  Most of the bars in North America aren’t equipped with the proper systems to serve Stella using the 9 steps outlined below.  So if you want your bar to stand out and serve Belgium beers the way they are supposed to be served, you’ve just uncovered your establishments USP (unique selling point/proposition).

Enough with the bar marketing talk and on with the detailed 9 steps to pouring Stella.



The trademark Stella Artois chalice is specifically designed to release the flavour and aroma of the beer.  The purification step starts out by rinsing the chalice under cold, high pressured water to allow the glass to reach the chilled beer temperature.



So called because you want to allow the first burst of beer / foam from the tap to go down the drain as this will cause a heady beer if you don’t.  This sacrifice shouldn’t be more than about 30ml / oz of beer.



Once the first burst of beer is sacrificed, the Stella chalice is then placed into the stream of beer, held at a 45-degree angle.  This angle will ensure that the proper proportion of foam to liquid as the chalice fills.



The chalice is then lowered and / or straightened as the pour proceeds to ensure that just the right amount of head.  The amount of head on the beer is important as this acts as a barrier between the air and the beer, as contact with the air will cause the beer to start losing flavour.



When the exact amount of beer has been allowed to enter the chalice, the tap is quickly closed and the chalice moved away.  Any droplets that may be hanging or dripping out of the tap after it’s closed should be avoided!  The droplets of beer coming out of the tap after its closed are hitting the air and immediately oxidizing, and we don’t want these to ruin our perfect Stella pour.



While the head is flowing over the edge of the glass, cut it gently with a skimmer on a 45-degree angle thus eliminating the larger bubbles which are easier to burst and cause the head to dissipate.



The proper amount of foam amounts to about two fingers thick or approximately 3cm (1.2 inches).  This perfect amount of head acts as a barrier, preventing your Stella Artois from getting stale.



The bottom and sides of the glass are then rinsed so that the chalice is clean to hold.



And lastly, your Stella Artois is served with the drip catcher resting on it’s base and presented to the customer on a Stella Artois coaster.

Behold the perfect glass of Stella Artois.

Cheers to you, and for your patience, a refreshing reward.

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