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Bartending is well-known for being a fast-paced role. One minute you’re finishing a customer’s cocktail and the next, three more people are waiting to be served. To help save time, here are 10 genius bartender life hacks to make shifts go smoother.




  1. 1. Organise Your Workstation


Arrange your equipment and tools behind the bar in a way which you find easiest to work with. Becoming familiar with the layout and structure of where you’re working makes shifts so much easier and smoother.


When you get a (rare) quiet moment, try to use the time you have to do tasks like restocking the fridges, ice boxes and any bottles looking a little low.



2. Include Important Ingredients


Use simple syrup. This ingredient can be vital in rescuing a drink which a customer liked the sound of but aren’t keen on the flavours in it. Instead of having to completely remake it and waste valuable time, try a quick fix by pouring in some simple syrup to add sweetness.


You could even make your own by following this easy recipe.



3. Categorise Cocktails By Their Bases


Rather than attempting to remember every ingredient involved in each drink, try to group them depending on which spirit is the base. This can be a great way of feeling prepared for any drink orders which may come your way and can increase your speed, efficiency and - as a result - customer service and satisfaction.


bartender behind bar


4. Find a Distinguishing Feature


At peak times, there may be lots of people all trying to order a number of drinks at the same time. This can be stressful and difficult to deal with. 


A trick to make it easier to remember who has requested which drink is to try to find a distinguishing feature about each customer and link it to their order. This will help to keep it in your mind and relate each order to the appropriate customer.



5. Chill Bottles in Minutes


Everyone knows the frustration of being served a warm beer! If you find your beers aren’t sufficiently chilled but don’t have hours to wait for them to cool in the fridge, wrap them in a wet paper towel and put them in the freezer for 15 minutes. Their temperature will drop significantly - just in time for those thirsty customers.


6. Use Garnishes


When it comes to creating cocktails, garnishes can be your best friend. Adding extra ingredients as simple as mint leaves or a mixture of berries can transform any drink from being a standard cocktail to a photo-worthy creation.

alcoholic drinks


7. Add Flair and Flavour at Once


As mentioned in the previous point, fruit makes a great garnish for cocktails. But to add something a bit special and make your concoctions different to everyone else’s, strike a match and lightly burn the rind of a spiral of orange peel before adding it to the drink.


It will add an amazing smokey, citrus taste which goes with any cocktail.

8. Frozen Fruit 


There is little worse for customers than a watered-down drink. Filling glasses with ice cubes may seem like standard practice but is a sure way to disappoint customers and lose business. 


An alternative way to cool down drinks is to freeze slices of citrus fruits (e.g. lemons, limes, etc) and add these. Not only do they keep drinks nice and cold without diluting the taste - they also add more flavour as they melt.



9. Salt/Sugar-Rimmed Glasses


To add some flair to the presentation of your drink creations, wet the glass rim with water or juice before dipping it in sugar, salt or sweets. Choose the ingredient based on the cocktail.


For example, a dry drink such as a martini would have a salted rim but a sweet drink like a mojito typically benefits from a sweet, sugared rim. 


A great way to do this effectively is to use a plate instead of a bowl or container. This ensures the ingredient being added to the rim doesn’t end up in the glass itself and affect the taste of the cocktail.




10. Create Signature Syrups


Creating some of your own syrups is super easy and a great unique selling point.


To do this, make some simple syrup by combining an equal amount of sugar and water over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Then add whatever flavouring you like! It could be anything from gingerbread or cinnamon for some festive fun to strawberry or orange for everyday use.


A useful hack is to add a small amount of vodka to your syrup creations to make them last longer. The added alcohol prevents mould and extends the syrup’s longevity! 


These life hacks are sure to improve your shifts and give your service some style and flair, but that’s not all you need to perfect your performance in bartending. From customer service skills to appropriate behind-the-bar attire, there is so much more to discover about the art and how to progress through a bartending career.  


Learn the Ultimate Bartending Tips With Our Guide


To discover more tips on how you can make your bartending skills and tasks as slick as possible, click the link to download our Bartender Success Guide. With tips on how to work as a team, thrive under pressure and much more, you’ll learn valuable information to help you throughout your bartending career.


Download the 5 Steps to Bartending Success