SELF KNOWLEDGE (adapted from Mark Twight)
Assess your personality before learning mixology. Are you an engineer or are you an artist?
Some people approach bartending like an engineering problem, solvable step by step. They create drinks in a quantifiable way, investigating multiple recipes, flavor compounds found in wild vs. store bought strawberries, trying multiple recipes and weighing the proportions, and interviewing others to discover the best way to approach a cocktail. They map the recipes out on napkins, sketching the proportions, and research garnish, ice, and proper water creation/preparation. They analyze customers, determine motive, and suggest drinks based on temperament. time of day, season, and past history.
Other bartenders behave like artists. They look at a drink and intuitively know what type of berry shrub would work best. They BELIEVE it will work. They’ll create a drink with what they think will work, and upon tasting it, they know whether those proportions and ingredients mean success or failure. They menu plan casually. They learn just enough. They act flexibly, often probing with tentative forays in obscure and untested ingredients: Bonito flakes, ghost peppers, sour yogurt, before committing to a drink.
Most bartenders possess some of both traits, one more dominant than the other. Learn which speaks loudest within you, and obey it.
(Image Credit: Bartender, Fabian Perez)