We briefly contemplated taking one of those cool-sounding bartending courses from the back of the local alt-weekly, but then we got really drunk the night before the first day and we missed the orientation. We decided to cancel the whole thing. And now we’re the ones ordering the drinks.
Where she presides: Gonzales y Gonzales, East Village Favorite drink: Stoli Vanilla & pineapple
No, I didn’t go to bartending school. I actually learned at Mustang. Mustang’s Bar on the Upper East Side. I started there as a waitress, and I got to be really tight with the bartenders, so they let me go behind the counter every so often. Then I started doing it more, and I picked it up that way.
Where she presides: Grand Saloon, Murray Hill Favorite drink: White wine
Actually, I started because a friend of mine was dating a guy who owned some bars, and she said he needed someone to bartend one night. I told her that I didn’t know how to bartend. She asked me if I knew what was in a rum and coke. “You’ll be fine,” she said. I don’t know anyone who went to bartending school. No one ever comes in and asks you to make a “blue whale.”
AARON Where he presides: Local 138, LES Favorite drink: “Lemonade” (vodka, bitters and tonic)
I took like a two-week bartending class. Then I just sort of shot my resume around. Actually, how I got my first bartending job was that a friend of mine told me his boss had an opening because they’d had a fight with their other bartender. So I went by to talk about the job. And the owner meets me and takes me upstairs to a room and says, ‘We need you to bartend for a private party up here tonight — our other bartender doesn’t have enough experience to do it.’ Nearly two hundred people were at the party that night, and it was insane. And I have to say, there were some things people ordered that I wouldn’t have known how to make. But I suspect going to bartending school usually just gets you laughed at if you tell people.
Where he presides: Tonic East, Kips Bay Favorite drink: Jameson with a Blue Moon
I didn’t go to bartending school. I learned when I was 18, but then didn’t do it for six years. There was a bar in my hometown, and I learned there. [Was it tough to memorize all the drinks?] No. 90% of bartending is dealing with people, only 10% is making stuff, at least in my experience. I’ve had to deal with all kinds of people here. [Note: Jason, striving to get “the full experience” of being interviewed by The L, gave this intrepid reporter a free beer. Please return the favor and give him the full experience of being tipped extravagantly.]