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5 Ways To Make Your Bartender Love You

By Liana Lozada

Paula Echevarría Zamora is the head bartender at Virgin Hotels New Orleans, but her spirits career began on the other side of the stick as a food and cocktail writer. So when she decided to make her career transition, Paula was baffled by the same behaviors she did as a patron.

“One of the biggest eye-opening events in my life was when I crossed the bar and went from being a food and cocktail writer to bartending,” says Paula.  “Remembering [some of] the behaviors I displayed were plain ole’ amateur hour, even though I considered myself a savvy drinker and a friend to these people.”

So Paula teamed up with us to help right some of her bar faux pas. 

She graciously lent us five bar tips (not the ones you leave after you close your tab, please don’t forget those) that help make everyone’s night a bit smoother. She practically guarantees that if you follow these simple steps, you’ll leave with your bartender’s admiration (and their kind memory of you for next time!)

1. Love bartender’s choice? Bartenders do too, preferably on slow nights. “We love to play this game if it’s a slow night, especially if you’ve worked up a rapport with your bartender, perhaps even discussed a rare amaro or the history of the cocktail you are drinking."

2. Bust out these types of questions: “We worked hard to curate all the drinks on the menu, so we like to think all the drinks we’re serving are good—so sometimes the “what’s good on the menu” line might throw us. Go for a question or statement we can build from, something like “I like to drink tequila. Is there a drink you’d recommend?” If you ask us what we like to drink you’ll get a shot and a beer.”

3. Got a big group? Open a bar tab. “If you plan to hang out, open a bar tab—especially if the bar is busy. Closing out after every drink is very time-consuming.” 

4. Embrace vermouth. “There is no right or wrong way to make a martini; specs differ from person to person, whether you like it with vodka or gin, dry (a bar spoon of vermouth), very dry (a swirl of vermouth), dirty or filthy, up or on the rocks. The martini will always vary. But it doesn’t have vermouth, you are not drinking a martini; you’re drinking your shot chilled or dirty in a fancy glass. So don’t be afraid of vermouth—it’s delicious and deserves recognition.

5. Keep the service well area clear. “You’ll usually spot it by the printer (it’ll be nearby, making a lot of noise), and there’s often a bartender there that isn’t making eye contact with anyone because he’s running the service well, and that space is for the servers to run drinks to tables, it’s not an empty spot at the bar. We would absolutely love you if you helped keep that area clear.”

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