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World Bartender Day: 5 mixologists on how to order a drink

‘Speak to your bartender the way you’d like to be spoken to’, and other insider tips to have a good time at a bar

(From left) John Leese, Vicky Thakur, Pearl Fernandes, Tobias Carvalho and Fay Barretto
(From left) John Leese, Vicky Thakur, Pearl Fernandes, Tobias Carvalho and Fay Barretto

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Bartenders shake and stir tens to hundreds of drinks on busy weekends, by standing on their feet for countless hours. All they need is a little respect. On World Bartender Day, Lounge spoke to five mixologists to find out how to order a drink: 

John Leese, Group Beverage Manager, Bastian Hospitality Pvt Ltd, Mumbai

If it’s a quiet evening, have a chat with the bartender, and ask him for suggestions. If you notice something that you haven’t seen before, ask to have a look and maybe request for a taster.

On a busy night, there is nothing more frustrating for both sides of the bar than having to wait. I see this every week; bartender asks, “What would you like?" The guest turns around and asks his 10 friends what would they like. The bartender is now standing waiting for an order, unable to move on to the next guest for fear of offending the current guest. Have your order ready to go and relay it to the bartender so he can prepare your drink faster. Rather than having to make multiple trips for glassware and ingredients, if you can relay every little detail of the drink, it will make the job easier. They will only pick up a bottle once and serve 3-4 drinks at the same time. Guest receives their drink quickly and the bartenders are able to serve more guests.

My drink of choice at a bar: On a quiet night, I like a Daiquiri. This is a great refreshing classic cocktail that when made well encourages me to try more cocktails. If it’s a busy night, I steer clear of cocktails and would look at a bottle of wine or a beer and shot.

Vicky Thakur, Brand ambassador for Pass Code Hospitality (PCO), New Delhi

At PCO, we try really hard to recommend drinks according to our guests' preferences and it’s a real pleasure to make a bespoke cocktail when they know exactly what they want in terms of flavor and spirit. It is easier for us to help our patrons if they order a drink in a clear and concise manner. 

For example, while placing the order for a drink, one should mention the flavour preference, sweet, sour or bitter, whether they want ice or not—this basic information helps a bartender understand the guest's preferences better and enables them to make a perfect drink. At our bars in Mumbai and Delhi, we offer a mood cocktail which encompasses the mood, spirit and flavour preferences of our guests. Also, a smile goes a long way. It's a bit of a ‘give respect, get respect’ situation. 

My drink of choice: An Old Fashioned

Pearl Fernandes, bar manager at Sorrentina, Mumbai

Call out to your bartender the way you'd like to be called out to. Snapping your fingers to get their attention is not okay. Bartenders like to be called by their name and the acknowledgement would only motivate us to give you better service.

Don't be shy in complimenting the bartender for a good drink. While guests often dole out compliments to the chef, they often forget the mixologist. We want your feedback too.

The bartender knows the measures better. Once you've placed your order, trust that we will make you exactly what you've ordered for. Don't ask us to 'fill your glass all the way to the top' or coax us to pour you a little more. All drinks have measures and recipes, and your bartender is simply following them.

My drink of choice: Negroni

Tobias Carvalho, brand ambassador at Terai Gin

If you are at a busy bar, know what drink you want to order beforehand. If you are drinking a straight up drink, don't ask for the menu. The bar display is your menu. If it's a slow night, make sure you speak to the bartender and get to know them and their cocktails. Trust me, it will go a long way. Finally, never ask a bartender to add extra alcohol to your cocktail. They are just employees and any shortage of alcohol is usually charged to the bartender.

My drink of choice: I would start the night with a nice chilled lager, move to a good G&T, and close off with a Negroni.

Fay Barretto, Mr Bartender & Crew

Be nice and don’t shout. Ordering in a loud voice will not get you your drink fast. If you are in a place with blaring music, try to make eye contact with the bartender. The moment you catch their attention, it's easier to tell them what you want. 

My drink of choice: Tequila, preferably reposado, on the rocks with a little lime. 


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