Basics of Mixology: Training

PAMA_bottleToday’s post is sponsored by PAMA liqueur.  Follow @PAMAPros on Twitter!

Go to most bars in any city, doesn’t matter if it’s New York, New Orleans or San Francisco. Chat up the bartender and ask them what kind of training they got when they were starting out.  Nine times out of ten, they will usually laugh and say, “none”.  It amazes me that a lot of bartenders who have been working for years, still get by with a minimal amount of knowledge and training  It doesn’t have to be that way.  There are several well-respected programs and organizations available to bartenders which will both increase their knowledge and understanding behind the flavor profiles of mixology; but also their skill behind the stick.  Better drinks mean better tips and returning customers.

I was lucky that my early efforts in bartending were helped by some of the luminaries in the cocktail world. Not only did I do a lot of reading, studying and practicing on my own, but over the years I’ve had the opportunity to learn from experts like Paul Pacult, Steve Olson, David Wondrich, Doug Frost and Andy Seymour from the B.A.R. (Beverage Alcohol Resource). Each brings years of practical experience, knowledge and insight into the world of spirits and mixology.  Without them, I would most likely not have started Good Spirits News or made my interest in the world of cocktails more than just a passing hobby.

Each year, PAMA recognizes the importance of learning in the field of spirits, liqueurs and mixology by sending three exceptional bartenders to the intensive five-day B.A.R. program in New York City which enables them to achieve the coveted B.A.R. diploma.  This year Chad Arnholt (Trick Dog, San Francisco), Joy Richard (Citizen Public House/Franklin Restaurant Group, Boston) and Pamela Wiznitzer (The Dead Rabbit, New York) all benefited from the 40 hour course.

In addition, PAMA holds an annual competition open to all professional bartenders which this year will be judged by B.A.R.’s Paul Pacult and Steve Olson, along with Clover Club and Pegu Club’s Julie Reiner, The Butterfly’s Eben Freeman and Heaven Hill Distillery’s Director of Marketing, Kate Shapira Latts.  You can enter your original PAMA cocktail here.

In the autumn of 2012 PAMA held the first Pamalympics in NYC where Josh Perez of Booker & Dax took home the gold medal. The recipe for his winning cocktail is below*.  As well, starting this month PAMA will debut a series of themed events entitled the Bar Star Media Series which will take place in major cities around the country. PAMA also regularly sponsors several cocktail events around the country including the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, New Orleans’ Tales of the Cocktail, Kentucky’s Camp Runamok and regional USBG (United States Bartenders Guild) Monthly Mixers.

It’s clear that PAMA actively supports the bartending community.  Reason enough to raise a glass to their ongoing commitment to helping bartenders bring their “A” game to their customers.  Cheers!

PAMA-Cho-Bana
1 oz. PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
1 oz. Bourbon
1 oz. Honey
1 oz. Chobani Greek Yogurt, whipped
Finely Ground Fennel, for garnish

Directions: Stir PAMA, bourbon and honey in a mixing glass with ice for approximately 15-20 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Float whipped Chobani Greek Yogurt on top and garnish with a dash of finely ground fennel.

Josh Perez in action

Josh Perez in action

GSN Alert: The USBGNY Seeks the First-Ever Pamalympian

NEW YORK (October 10, 2012) – The world may have to wait four more years for the Olympics in Rio, but the New York Chapter of the U.S. Bartender’s Guild, in partnership with PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur, re-ignites the torch and continues the Games with the first-ever PAMALYMPICS. On Monday, October 29, three finalists from the New York area will have their taste buds challenged, their ingenuity tested and will have to show they can draw a crowd of admirers.

WHO: James Menite, Crown Restaurant; Doug Miller, Culinary Institute of America; Joshua Perez, Booker & Dax

WHAT: This competition won’t test a finalist’s physical abilities, but will see if they can tastethe Gold by writing out the recipes of three PAMA cocktails in a blind tasting, get creative with a mystery ingredient and prove they’re the fan favorite after serving their qualifying cocktail to an audience of voters.

WHEN: Monday, October 29, 2012, 4:00-6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Demi Monde, 90 Broad Street, New York City

PRIZE: The Gold Medalist will receive $5,000; Silver Medalist will receive $2,000; Bronze Medalist will receive $1,000

JUDGES: Eben Freeman, PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur Brand Spokesperson; Reid Hafer, PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur Senior Brand Manager; Brian Quinn, FoodRepublic.com Cocktail Columnist