In the vain of Manton's culinary school thread I thought I'd document this here. So a few months back, on a whim, I bought a Groupon for a local bartending school. I figured, hey, what the hell! It was 75% off and seemed like a good way to get some skills. I'd had the thing sitting around for a while, but since I might be moving in the upcoming weeks, I thought I best take advantage of it now since its already a good 30 miles from my current house and the distance will only get greater from there. Class started Wednesday night and runs M-Th 6-10. No breaks. I'm not going to have pics like Manton did but I did get some interesting information that you guys might enjoy. On Wednesday we learned the basic mechanics of the bar and positioning of liquors, tools, etc.. Underneath the bar you have your Jockey Box. This is where the ice is stored for making all your drinks. (its basically just a big stainless steel tub). Generally, the Jockey Box has compartments on the sides for storing bottles of juices and mixes. Those would include - Orange, Pineapple, Cranberry, Grapefruit, Sour Mix, Pina Colada, Bloody Mary, and Red Bull. In front of that you have your Speed Rack. The Speed Rack is where all your house (read:shitty) liquors go. From left to right or right to left they always go in order - Vodka, Gin, Rum, Tequila, and Triple Sec. Some variation of these five will always be in your speed rack. You will also usually have - American Whiskey, Scotch Whiskey, American Bourbon, Grenadine, Lime Juice, Sweet Vermouth, and Dry Vermouth. The Call Rack is where you keep a few of the premium or most popular name brand liquors. For instance, if your bar made a Margarita with Cointreau, and it was something that was very popular there, you'd keep it in the Call Rack. Call because people would have to "call" out the name to you. The under bar area would also include some sort of Three Sink System - from left to right or right to left it will always be in order - Hot soapy water, then a warm water rinse, and then a sanitizer bath. The hot soapy water basin usually includes a scrub brush or two to help with washing. The sanitizer bath is usually made with a sanitizer tablet of some sort. The top of the bar will usually have your Garnish Tray which will include - Lime wedges, lemon wedges, cherries, olives, onions, lemon twists, orange slices, mint leaves, and pineapple. We also learned the basis of the Free Pour - Free pouring is essentially a speed trick designed to help the bartender knock out drinks quickly. The system is simple - 4 seconds = 1oz. You can adjust accordingly from there. For example, if you needed 1.5oz you'd pour for 6 seconds. Now, all this is done through a pour spout, so if you don't have one on your bottle, none of this timing will work. The method is simple - the side of the index finger goes on the side of the pour spout (because its common for them to fall out of the bottle) and the rest of your hand grips the neck of the bottle. The bottle is held up with the hand and the motion is a twist of the wrist. 1, 2, 3, and 4, and then the bottle is brought back upright and put back in the Speed Rack. The bottle is kept at a 45 degree angle. Anything steeper than that will inhibit the pour flow out of the spout. NOTHING IS EVER LEFT ON THE BAR! (Drunks will take anything that's not nailed down). We also learned about how the bar is setup: The Top Bar - is the front top portion of the bar. Its known as the counter (basically, where your drinks are served to you). The back portion of this is known as The Rail. All drinks are mixed on The Rail Drinks are NEVER mixed on the top bar. They are mixed on The Rail and then served to the customer. The Under Bar - is located behind the bar and is where your sinks, drains, ice, and other equipment is stored. Your Speed Rack is back here as well. The Back Bar - holds your glassware and stock reserve. If the place your working doesn't have a Speed Rack or House Well section then they will usually be stored in the upper and lower portion of the Back Bar. The items there are usually grouped according to styles - Vodka, Gin, etc.. Next, we started to learn about making drinks and which glasses they go in. First - The Highball drinks. Highball drinks are 1 part liquor to two parts mixer but this can very in every bar from 1.5 - 2oz of liquor. For the purposes of my instruction (and this explanation) it will remain 1oz liquor. This is a good example of a Highball Glass: If someone asks for it "tall" that means more mixers and ice than usual and its then generally served in a Collins glass. Just for clarification, this is a Collins glass (they're taller and thinner than the Highball glasses): If someone asks for it "double" - that means 2x the amount of liquor used. Often, tall is confused with double, so they say to ask the patron which they want. ProTip - Highball drinks are "and" drinks. If someone asks for anything with and in the name, its served in a highball glass. Examples - gin AND tonic, vodka AND tonic, vodka AND cranberry, etc.. These drinks are always served on the rocks (unless specified) and with a garnish. Garnishes go as such: Tonic = Lime Grenadine = Cherry Fruit juices = Cherry and/or Oranges In the next post I'll go into the Highball recipes.