Food & Drink

10 Ways You Can Tell Foreign Bartenders From Americans

While we might imagine an American bartending standard that all the world ascribes to, cocktailing is actually different everywhere you go. Here, how foreign bartenders are different from their stateside brethren.

European Bartenders Aren’t as Chatty

“Whereas entertainment is usually higher level in the U.S., most EU countries have a more modest interaction with guests.” — Timo Janse, Door 74, Amsterdam

“The way we interact with our guests is actually very much inspired by what I have witnessed in the U.S., not only in bars but in shops, restaurants, at the deli. This means that we greet them and ask how they're doing, try to be as friendly as they'll allow us to be, introduce ourselves. French service is more distant, a little rude sometimes, and that's exactly what we want to stay away from.” — Joseph Akhavan, Mabel, Paris

But Australian Bartenders Interact with Customers Even More

“In the higher-end cocktail bars [in the U.S.], there seems to be a sense of complacency when it comes to customer interaction and ultimately keeping people at the bar. There's probably a few reasons for this. These bars are busy from open to close. When your venue is at capacity, the window of opportunity to stop and interact with guests is significantly diminished. That's perfectly understandable. But I also can't help but wonder how much of that complacency comes back to knowing that as soon as one group of guests leaves, there will be 10 more waiting to take their spot. I still feel that the level of customer service in Australia is one of the best in the world.” — Evan Stroeve, Shady Pines Saloon, Sydney

Many Foreigner Bartenders Are Career Bartenders

“[In America] bartenders often work in multiple venues. I guess this comes down to them being paid in cash and making most of their money in tips. This is something almost unheard of in Australia. As our wages are significantly higher, and tips smaller, and it is much more common to find career bartenders working on a full-time contract at one venue. Working with the same team day in and day out fosters a stronger camaraderie.” — Evan Stroeve

“We do not generally get much in the way of tips so that is never a driving factor in the way that we treat the guests in our bar. I think that bartending is generally taken pretty seriously here, possibly helped by the decent wage and penalty rates for working late hours that staff receive. I believe that this allows it to be seen as a more viable long-term career, instead of a stop gap job.” — Stuart Morrow, The Baxter Inn, Sydney

Every Australian Bartender Knows How to Make an Espresso Martini

“Espresso Martinis and Mojitos still reign supreme in a lot of places [in Sydney].” — Evan Stroeve

“Australians love their coffee and, as such, the Espresso Martini is always popular. At Baxter, we do around 500 Old Fashioneds a week, along with our Whiskey and Fresh Apple Juice.” — Stuart Morrow

Foreign Bartenders Might Not Know as Much About Classics

“Because of a shorter cocktail history, knowledge of the classic cocktails from bartenders can be lower. However, there is a large renewed interest in making bartending into a profession. Training is common, and more and more cocktail schools are popping up.” — Timo Janse

“New York seems to have one of the most educated clienteles in the world. If you are not a fundamentally sound bartender, you will be chewed up and spat out very quickly it seems. People know exactly what they want, and what quality to expect. Every dive bar, every local pub seems to have some form of cocktail offering and this is something that certainly is not mirrored in Australia. Our clientele and drinking habits are still a little underdeveloped by comparison. Australia is definitely coming to get you, though!” — Evan Stroeve

German Bartenders Don’t Use Jiggers

“My hometown, Munich, is the capital of no jiggering in Germany. I don’t know why, but I am sure Charles Schumann [of Schumann’s] was one of the most important factors. For me it was always more hygienic and [offered] more personality in the art of presentation and hospitality.” — Klaus St. Rainer, Goldene Bar, Munich

Australian Bartenders Always Use Jiggers

“All of our bartenders use jiggers for all of our drinks. I find this is generally the norm in Australia, as we feel it gives a more consistent drink. I see the other side of it as well. You have slightly more freedom in creating drinks when free pouring and it can be a lot faster.” — Stuart Morrow

French Bartenders Make One Drink at a Time

“We never shake more than one drink per shaker. Meaning if we get an order for two Blockbuster Daiquiris (one of our most popular drinks), we will prepare and shake them in two differents shakers to avoid dilution. You don't usually see that, as bars tend to shake three or four cocktails in one shaker sometimes.” — Joseph Akhavan

London Bartenders Know More About Gin Than Anyone

“It isn't a joke when one says that England is a country of gin. People here in London love gin and gin cocktails, preferably refreshing ones.” — Martina Breznanova of The Gibson in London

Foreign Employee Ranks Are Less Rigid

“In terms of technique and training, New York bartenders roll us up and smoke us for breakfast. This comes down to the competitive nature of the industry over there [in the U.S.].” — Evan Stroeve

“Usually you start from barback and waiter before moving behind the bar and eventually becoming a manager. However, at Mabel we do everything. A bartender can be on the floor one night, behind the bar the next night, on prep and cleaning duties the next day etc., so training involves being able to cover every ground that’s required. By doing so, we are all able to recommend a drink to our guests and describe exactly how a syrup is made.” — Joseph Akhavan

“Duties [of bartenders] are the same [as in America] I guess, not much difference, although our system is not as well organized as [America’s] is there. Moving up the ladder is way more chaotic, but this is due to the lack of a proper management system.” — Zoltán Nagy, Boutiq’Bar, Budapest