Butler & Bar – Hand in hand

The professional Butler is associated with many tasks and duties. Being a bartender is one of them, as the Butler often arranges cocktail-parties and sets up the bar.

Here are some basics every Butler and bartender needs to know.

Bar setup: It is essential to be able to set up a cocktail bar and a full party-bar. Glasses, liquor, liqueurs, cordials, mineral water, mixers as well as the basic equipment; shaker, bar spoon, mixing glass, cloths, towels, jigger, ice-bucket & spoon, hawthorn-strainer, garnish pinch and an opener.)

Stocking up: The Butler rule about 10-20% extra is always a good repeater when it comes to bar stocking. Vodka, Gin, Rum, Tequila, Whiskey, Brandy, Cointreau, D.O.M. Benedictine, Angostura, Martini Rosso, Campari, Aperol, Drambuie, Amaretto, dry vermouth, wines and sparkling wine is crucial for a cocktail bar.

For an ultimate party-bar, a range of herb and fruits liqueurs, cordials, syrups, and a range of mixers is important. The Butler/bartender needs to anticipate and stock up according to the house or hotel standard.

Garnish: Always to be prepared. Lemon, Lime, Orange, cherry and orange is basic. For a wider selection, apple, pear, grapes, mint, pineapple, physalis, mangue is a good start. It is also important to prepare the garnish. Clean, cut, make zests, wedge, slices and peels.

Glasses: Must be said and repeated; polish and check all glasses. Have enough glasses available and ready. Anticipation – Preparation – House/guest history.

Menu: A bar should always have a menu ready for the guests. Cocktails: Dry Martini, Manhattan, Godfather, Sidecar, Margarita, Negroni, Rusty Nail, Cosmopolitan is basic. Longdrinks: Tom Collins, Horses Neck, G & T versions, Vodka Fizz, Screwdriver, Tequila Sunrise, Cuba Libre is ABC. Today a lot of guests also expect Kamikaze, Mojitos, Caipirinhas, Fruit Daiquiris, and more modern, fresh drinks.

It is all settled with the manager or principal, but the Butler/bartender should know the ingredients and mixing techniques.

Household manual: Always – always – always check the household manual before a cocktail party or party-night. A professional always remembers the regular guests cocktail and drink preferences.

Alternatives: There will always be surprises and challenges in a cocktail party: Sugar-free alternatives, special needs and of course, non-alcoholic questions.

Be prepared, especially non-alcoholic choices are crucial.
Wine and sparkling: Consult your principal or manager for wine and sparkling selections. This is both an economic and a guest demand question. One white, one red and one sparkling is normally enough.

Again, see the household manual also before consulting.

Bar counter talk/small talk: A professional bartender in a bar or hotel will always be a small-talker and ‘invitational’ person. The Butler should be more discrete.

This is one of the few acts that separate a Butler from a bartender. Even though they both have a discretion policy of course.

Bar-work: Hygiene – Calmness – Elegance – No stress factor – Work-technique. Five rules for being behind the bar counter.

A bartender is just a pharmacist with a more limited inventory…

Albert Einstein

An cocktail from the Bartender-Butler
«Aquahoney Vitae»
4 cl Norwegian oaked Aquavit
1 teaspoon of Acasia Honey mixed with 2 teaspoon hot water. (Then cool of)
6 cl Freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 cl Sprite
Shake everything but the Sprite and strain into a long drink glass with large ice cubes. Garnish with a lemon wedge dipped in honey.

Written by Tore Berger: F&B Consultant & Professional Butler founder of Berger Consulting 

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