As this lovely picture to the left demonstrates, I was very fortunate to be among the 120 bartenders attending the NYC edition of the Pioneers in Mixology roadshow, an exclusive program extended to graduates of the BarSmarts WIRED and Advanced certification programs. Sponsored by Pernod Ricard USA, the program for bartenders featured many of the industry’s world-class presenters speaking on topics of interest in advanced mixology and technique.
So what exactly does one get educated on when in the good hands of host Gary Regan at a Pioneers in Mixology program? Here are some of the highlights and key takeaways from my experience:
- Starting the day with a 5-minute silent meditation led by Gary is the perfect way to brush all the day-to-day craziness aside and get in the zone (even after a hectic early morning commute of cabs, trains, and automobiles).
- Aisha Sharpe (Contemporary Cocktails) and Dushan Zaric (Employees Only, Macao Trading Co.) taught us that a confident Bartender is a balanced union of three equally developed parts: sage, mixologist, and rock star. Each of these skills has a unique set of characteristics to make us more mindful of our performance behind the bar.
- Molecular Mixology guru Tony Conigliaro (69 Colebrooke Row, London) taught us that you can in fact infuse flavors into eggs, among my other progressive scientific techniques that are well over my head so please forgive my poor wording. In simplest terms, Tony explained that letting eggs sit in a sealed container with essential oils lets the eggs absorb the scent through its penetrable membrane.
- A champagne cocktail is a lovely mid-afternoon treat amidst all this education. Do I really need to explain this any further?
- Nick Strangeway gave us innumerable suggestions on incorporating local ingredients into our cocktails and the great sense of community it can influence as a result. Remember, way back, when the bar or pub was the center of the community? There’s lots of ways to start finding, or even growing yourself, local ingredients in your area, such as starting a community garden or even “guerrilla gardening”.
In addition, Pernod Ricard has indicated that proceeds from all Pioneers in Mixology events are being donated to the charity Wine to Water, an aid organization focused on providing clean water to those in need throughout the world.
Many thanks again to the fantastic presenters along with the team at Pernod Ricard USA for developing this phenomenal education program to continue bartender education. If you have not yet participated in BarSmarts, I highly encourage that you do so; more information is available on both the BarSmarts WIRED and Advanced programs online. Registration is now open for both programs.