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Bartending Course Outline

Table of Contents

            About this Course
            Becoming a Bartender

Serving Drinks
            Responsible Serving
            Earning Tips
            Taking Care of Your Bar
            Mixing Well with Others

Tending the Bar
            Setting up
            Closing Down

Beverage Components
            Hard Liquors
            Wine, Champagne and Beer
            Mixers and Garnishes

Terms, Tools and Techniques
            Serving Styles and Techniques
            Tools and Supplies
            Liquor Brand Types

Mixed Drinks Family Trees
            Common Highballs
            Vodka Family and Manhattan/Martini Family
            Cream Drinks and Irish Cream Drinks
            Rum Drinks, Tropical Drinks and Tequila Drinks
            Sour Drinks
            Brandy, Gin and Coffee Drinks

Mixed Drinks List

Mixed Drink Recipes

Sample Exam Questions

Homework and Exam Information



          One of the most important parts of being a bartender is mixing drinks so they taste good. Another skill is to make sure that successive drinks complement each other so they don't run the risk of making people sick. The difference between being just a bartender and being a mixologist is that a mixologist is aware of how different alcohols mix and which ones do not. As we go along, you will begin to see patterns in the way drink recipes come together or evolve.
          The hard liquors are divided into whiskeys, clear spirits, and liqueurs & cordials. The clear spirits are the substances that have the most impact on the potency of the drinks, such as vodka, gin, rum and tequila. These are usually 80 proof (40% alcohol) or stronger. The liqueurs are the substances that are most responsible for the characteristic taste of particular cocktails, like Kahlua, Irish Cream, amaretto, triple sec, and flavored liqueurs - orange, cherry, apricot, banana, coffee or berry. These are usually between 30 and 60 proof (15% to 30% alcohol). The whiskeys are most often served unmixed or as a simple highball, and are not often used in cocktails. Most whiskeys and brandies are distilled from 76 proof to 86 proof (38% to 43% alcohol). Most people will drink either whiskeys or drinks mixed with clear spirits exclusively, and will not switch back and forth between the two types.           Generally, it is harmless for a drinker to change what they are drinking over the course of the day or night, but it is not wise to change several times to several different types of liquors or alcohols. If a guest is having trouble deciding what to drink, you should ask them what their last alcoholic beverage was. Whether they had their last cocktail a few minutes ago or a week ago, the answer will tell you what their tastes are and give you a basis for suggestions.
          If you are working in a party atmosphere, where it is anticipated that many of your guests will be consuming several beverages over the course of the evening, then your suggestions should be towards related beverages. Check the Family Trees in this course. If someone is consuming several beverages over the course of the evening they shouldn't be jumping from juice drinks to cream drinks to carbonated mixers to beers and shots of whiskey, nor should they be jumping from vodka to gin to tequila to red wine. More subtle alterations could be more helpful. For instance, someone who starts out drinking vodka and juices could move on to rum and juice drinks, or stay with the vodka and go to vodka and 7-up or cream drinks.

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       Setting Up

Cut fruit for garnishes
        The fruits most bars stock for garnishes are oranges, limes and lemons. Citrus fruits are usually cut in wedges, slices, wagon wheels or twists. Different establishments will decide how they want their fruit cut.

        When cutting into wedges, slice the fruit down the center from top to bottom, the long way, then slice each piece in half the long way again. Finally, turn the wedges face up and gently slice a cross cut in the meat of the fruit but not through the skin. This cut is to put the wedge on the rim of the serving glass.

       When cutting slices, you should cut the orange in half down the center from top to bottom, the long way, lay the half face down and slice off the ends and discard them, then slice the orange into several thin slices, usually six or seven.
       To cut a wagon wheel, slice the fruit into circles cutting across the sections. When cutting wheels, you should remember to make a rim cut halfway through each center.
       To cut twists, first carefully cut the ends off of the fruit. Next, cut lengthwise through the peel but not through the meat; repeat until you have gone all the way around the lemon, making fifteen or so strips of peel attached to the fruit. Peel each strip from the fruit at the time you serve it to keep the twists fresh. Twist the peel before placing it in a drink.

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Liqueurs and Cordials

Generic Liqueurs and Cordials

Amaretto                   Made from almond extract.
                                 Drinks: Toasted Almond, Amaretto Sour, Godmother
Anisette                     Made from anise.
                                 Drinks: Jelly Bean, or mixed with coffee
Banana liqueur           Banana flavored. Can also be banana brandy.
                                 Drinks: Banshee, Banana Daiquiri
Butterscotch              Butterscotch flavored. Often served as a shooter.
schnapps                   Drinks: Copper Camel
Cherry liqueur           Cherry flavored. Usually mixed in drinks with several spirits.
                                 Drinks: Singapore Sling, Mai Tai
Crème de cassis        Made from black currants.
                                 Drinks: Kir, Kir Royal
Crème de cacao        Made from cocoa and vanilla.
                                 Drinks: Grasshopper, Root Beer Float.
Crème de menthe      Comes in white or green varieties, made from peppermint.
                                 Drinks: Grasshopper
Curacao                    Blue and orange varieties, made from orange peel.
                                 Drinks: Antifreeze, Blue Hawaiian
Irish cream                A thick, creamy liqueur. Often referred to as Bailey's.
                                 Drinks: B-52, Brain Hemorrhage, Slippery Nipple
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       Serving Styles, Terms and Techniques

Chilled Chilled with ice in a shaker and then strained into a glass straight up.

Fruit flag An orange and a cherry are speared together to make an orange and cherry flag. First you push the cocktail spear through the orange slice, then through the cherry and then again through the other side of the orange slice.

Jigger A small liquor-measuring cup, usually two-sided with a 3/4 ounce and a 11ž4 ounce measure, but can come in many different sizes. To use a jigger effectively, hold it next to the serving glass, fill and dump with a twist of your wrist.

Snifter A large round glass with a stem used mostly for sipping brandy. All sizes.
Wine glass A stemmed glass with a rounded shape. Shapes and sizes vary. A red wine glass has a shorter, wider bowl. A white wine glass is more fluted. 4-5 ounces.
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Mixed Drink Family Trees

       Vodka Family

Manhattan/Martini Family

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After Five
            3/4 oz. coffee liqueur
            3/4 oz. vodka
            3/4 oz. Grand Marnier
            Combine ingredients with ice in a rocks glass and serve with a stirrer.

Alabama Slammer
            1 shot Southern Comfort
            3/4 oz. amaretto
            3 oz. pineapple juice
            3 oz. orange juice
            dash grenadine
            garnish with an orange slice
            Combine ingredients in a Collins glass or similar. Shake and serve with a straw.

Amaretto Sour
            1 shot amaretto
            3 oz. sour mix
            garnish with orange and cherry flag
            Straight up: Combine ingredients with ice in a shaker. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.
            On the rocks: Combine ingredients with ice in a lowball or Old Fashioned glass. Shake and serve with a stirrer

            1 shot vodka
            3/4 oz. blue curacao
            2 oz. sour mix
            3/4 oz. vodka
            3 oz. 7-up
            garnish with a lime wedge
            Combine ingredients with ice in a Collins glass or similar. Shake and serve with a straw.

Apple Blossom
            1 shot brandy
            2 oz. apple juice
            dash sour mix
            garnish with a lemon slice
            Combine ingredients with ice in a shaker. Chill and strain into a cocktail glass.


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           There are two parts to the OnlineBartendingCourse.com training course. The first part is this course book, which should be studied thoroughly and used for reference once you have become a bartender.
           The second part is the practical experience component. The best way to become a skilled beginning bartender is to practice. It is better to practice with other people so that you can get feedback on your techniques. We suggest that you have a "study session" with several friends to get your practical experience. There will be a section of the exam devoted to the practical experience component of this course.

          Practical experience requirement:
      1.  Choose five different drinks from the drink recipes in this course. Try two that are similar to each other and
           several that are different from each other so you can get practice with different types but also see how
           varying one aspect of a drink can change its character.
      2.  Mix each of the five drinks for three different people and get feedback on how you are doing.
      3.  If possible, go beyond the five-drink requirement to become comfortable with mixing drinks.
      4.  Keep a list of the drinks that you mixed for reference during the exam.

          In order to practice at home effectively, there are certain tools you should have. The basic tools needed are a set of shakers, speed pourers and a jigger. You can obtain bartending supplies through a link on our website at OnlineBartendingCourse.com. Once you have obtained a speed pourer, practice until pouring for a count to three equals 11ž4 oz. Put the pourer on the top of a bottle that is of the same approximate size as liquor bottles and filled with water. Pour the water into several different styles of glassware while keeping a silent count to yourself. Pour the water from each of the glasses into the 11ž4 oz. jigger s o you can see how close you are to finding your perfect count. Usually about three seconds will equal 11ž4 oz. of liquid. Different people count differently, so you may have to speed up your count or slow it down till your timing is accurate. Practice your timing until you can do it five times in a row accurately. Some of the thicker liqueurs may pour a little slower than water, so you may want to buy some Bailey's Irish cream or Kahlua and practice your free pour with that also.
          Once you have read the course book and completed your practical experience, go to the OnlineBartendingCourse.com website and request a copy of the exam under the "order exam" button. The exam will be automatically emailed back to you. Print the exam and choose your answers from the multiple choices for each question. Then send your completed exam to CompletedExam@OnlineBartendingCourse.com. You may send back just the number of each question and the letter chosen as the correct answer. Once your exam has been graded, we will send you a certificate of completion.


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Course Book
Published by
a division of McFarling-Sockey Trading Company
Salem, New Hampshire U.S.A.

© 2001 Glenn Sockey and Emily McFarling
All rights reserved
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