With the new attraction for mixology, bars are finding new life and bartender’s qualifications are developing. To demystify the vast world of alcohol, several schools have been started. But what exactly do they offer?
Previously considered as a simple student job, where the tasks consisted of mixing only one type of alcohol and a liqueur, the bartender’s profession has had renewed interest in recent years.
To get into the profession successfully, it is now necessary to develop your taste, creativity, rhythm and technique, as well as your knowledge of spirits, liqueurs and other creams.
“When I started, the bar environment was very focused on physics and contacts,” says Antoine Galdes, owner of the L’École du Bar de Montréal and the Le 4eMur bar. “The employee was a promotional vehicle, while he is now an operational tool. There is a real challenge in making cocktails and the customer experience.”
Learn and correct
Faced with an increasingly refined “art”, schools are beginning to emerge. Each of them has its own specifics and the courses offered range from creation to service, including technique and methodology. “People are taught how to set up, to be organized so their bar is efficient,” explains the owner to describe the L’École du Bar de Montréal. “It is training that is very focused on the professional and operational side.”
Well-established bartenders or young people eager to take their first steps – all are welcome. “The industry often requires one to three years of experience. For us, we try to be at the forefront and provide this first experience to people to be ready for the job market,” says Antoine Galdes. With jobs at events, in a refreshment bar or in restaurants, L’École du Bar de Montréal sees a placement rate of 65% in the year following training.
For their part, more advanced people find their place by refining their knowledge, or simply learning new methods. “What I am often told is that they have learned the technique, but they never knew why they had to do it that way,” says Antoine Galdes. “They are taught the principles to have a toolkit, so when they study recipes they are able to make connections.”
Finally, since the teachers themselves are bartenders, the students can see how the concepts taught are applied in the professional context.
Doing more with less
Antoine Galdes admits that the diploma is not a prerequisite to carve out a spot in the field. However, the courses help to become better organized. “It’s an organizational supplement more than the knowledge itself – how to apply the steps in order to get the more results with the least resources,” explains the bartender.
A good way to stand out with owners, who often have to juggle with a lot of customers… and only a few employees!