Bone up on classics, worry about the rest later: Classics (Daiquiri, Old Fashioned, Rob Roy, Martini, Margarita…) teach you balance. After that, our bartenders say it’s surprisingly easy to learn billions of modern recipes on the job.
Prepare to keep your cool: “If you don’t have the ego strength to be unflappably, almost psychotically nice to everybody 100% of the time, there’s no future for you in this industry.” It won’t be easy -- you’re going to be shocked by the... er... unpredictable demands of your customers. Some tricks for dealing:
- Focus on process: you’ve got drink orders, food orders, and processing to handle in the order patrons have been waiting. Finger-snappers and money wavers will just have to wait.
- Work on your “polite with undertones of wryness” voice. You’ll be amazed at how being the wittier one can stymy rowdy behavior.
- Pretend unruly people are close friends or relatives who you always show patience with, even when they’re terrible.
Prepare to be totally uncool, man: Cutting someone off will be the hardest thing you’ll have to do (“To this day, I still have a hard time telling a grown man he’s done”), but adulthood and responsibility aren't always attached at the hip, and when they're not, laying down the law's 100% on you.