Bartending is a dynamic, exciting profession that has been around for two centuries. While bartending has evolved over the years, the core principles remain the same: crafting delicious drinks, creating an enjoyable atmosphere, and providing excellent customer service.
Interested in becoming a bartender or master mixologist? Let’s explore a day in the life of a bartender to understand what they do, the various tools they use, and what you need if you’re an aspiring bartender.
bartender pouring a cocktail

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What Do Bartenders Do?

At the heart of bartending is the art of crafting cocktails. Bartenders mix and serve drinks, provide customer service, maintain a clean & welcoming environment, and manage inventory– but a real mixologist can also create new recipes and manipulate flavors in classic cocktails.
One of the most important skills for a bartender is the ability to multitask. During peak hours, a bartender must juggle multiple duties simultaneously, such as taking orders, actually mixing drinks, and keeping track of inventory so they don’t run out of ingredients.
Bartenders really need to have excellent communication skills to ensure that customers’ needs are met, too. They play a vital role in creating a welcoming atmosphere for guests while keeping the bar clean and organized, restocking supplies, and ensuring that customers are comfortable. A friendly and engaging personality is an essential quality for a bartender.
head bartender pouring a cosmopolitan into a coupe cocktail glass

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A Day In The Life Of A Bartender

A bartender’s workday can vary greatly depending on the establishment they work in. Some bars are open during the day, while others only open at night. The shifts bartenders work also vary, with some working day shifts, others working evenings, and some working late nights. If you want to be a bartender, be prepared to work odd hours!
When a bartender arrives at work, they typically start by checking their inventory and restocking supplies and ingredients. They will ensure that the bar is clean and orderly and that all equipment is in good working order.
Once the bar is set up, bartenders open the bar and begin taking orders and mixing drinks for customers. They will also engage with customers, answering questions and making recommendations. During peak hours, bartenders may have to deal with impatient or unruly customers who want their drinks stat, which can be challenging.
After the bar closes, bartenders will clean and restock the bar, count the money, and report any inventory issues to management. This process can take several hours, depending on the size of the bar and the volume of customers served.
copper bartender tools set

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Bar Tools: What Bartenders Use & Why

One of the most important aspects of bartending is having the right tools. Bartenders use a variety of bar tools to create the perfect cocktail. Here are some of the most common bar tools that bartenders use:
  • Cocktail Shaker – A shaker is a must-have tool for any bartender. It is used to mix ingredients and create a frothy texture in a cocktail. Cocktail shakers are available in several styles, including Boston shakers and cobbler shakers.
  • Strainer – A cocktail strainer is used to remove ice and other solid ingredients from mixed drinks. The most common types of strainers are the Hawthorne strainer, the julep strainer, and the fine mesh strainer.
  • Cocktail Jigger – This is a measuring tool used to ensure the accuracy of the ingredients in a cocktail; you pour liquid ingredients into it and use the markings (such as 1 ounce) to make sure the amount of ingredients is exactly right. It is an essential tool for creating consistent, delicious drinks.
  • Cocktail Muddler – A muddler is used to crush ingredients, such as mint leaves or fruit, to release their flavor. It is a key tool for making drinks such as Mojitos and Old Fashioneds.
  • Bar Spoon – A long, thin spoon is used to mix cocktails, layer drinks, and create a “float” on top of a drink. It’s often used with a mixing glass.


14 piece cocktail set

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In addition to these essential bar tools, bartenders also use several other tools to create the perfect cocktail. Some of these include a citrus press, mixing glass, paring knife for creating twists of citrus peel, and a zester.
Bartending is an exciting and rewarding profession that requires a range of skills, from crafting delicious drinks to providing excellent customer service. The tools that bartenders use play a vital role in creating the perfect cocktail, and investing in the right tools can have a significant impact on the quality of the drinks you make.
bartender with three fun drinks, including 2 tropical drinks on a bar

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If you’re interested in becoming a bartender, take the time to learn the craft, practice your multitasking skills, and develop your customer service skills. With the right attitude and the right tools, you can be a successful bartender and create a memorable experience for your customers.