Intelligent Bartender

Tag: bartender training

Bartending Certification Success Stories… finding Toronto’s new talents: Shanelle Munjal

by on Dec.18, 2013, under Bartender Stories



Life is a complicated maze of decisions that take your life through different paths depending on where you want to go. During that decision – making process there are stages in everyone’s life where you try something outside of the box while you make up your mind about the next step to take. Bartending is one of those stages for a lot of people; a profession that allows you to make a respectable sum of money every week while working part time is many times the perfect option to make a living while you finish school.

This is the story of Shanelle Munjal, which shows that  sometimes the road to become a bartender is very different than what you could expect.

An Assistant Store Manager at McDonald’s for the past 7 years, Shanelle has found time to combine pursuing her dream of becoming a veterinarian with her passion for travelling. Like many of our students, Shanelle had already some experience bartending in a small pub back in 2008, but she felt she wanted to do something more than just pouring beer and preparing Caesar’s.  So, after coming back from an enlightening gap year travelling through Australia and New Zealand, Shanelle found out the BartenderOne Breaking The Ice Workshop where she got a glimpse of what real bartending training could do for her and she decided to immediately enroll in the MasterClass. Her ability in class caught the attention of her instructors and Shanelle received an invitation to participate in the Blazers Challenge and demonstrate her skills in the real world at The College Street Bar

At the Blazers Competition, her attitude, charisma and creativity were the key factors that made the jury chose her as one of the three winners to participate in the Winter Finals.

A beautiful smile, an open personality and an absolute willingness to be happy are the features that make Shanelle a great bartender. She pays attention to details like listening carefully to her guest to create rapport -which many big mouth bartenders could learn from- and having what he/she wants before they even order. This is the kind of skill that you won’t learn at school but by paying attention and Shanelle has it

Shanelle doesn’t want to plan too far ahead yet but instead enjoy everyday, nevertheless when asked she confesses her dream is to create her own signature cocktail that encompases all the flavours from a Canadian treat just like one she discovered in New Zealand.

Her advice to aspiring bartenders is simple; find out if this is what you want and let this passion drag you along. Just go for it and you will find out you actually know how to do it

Shanelle will be shaking and stirring cocktails at College Street Bar (574 College St.Toronto) we definitely recommend you stop by and get one of her Killer Koolaid’s. Believe us; you’ll be glad you did.

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Bartending Training Success Stories… finding Toronto’s new talents: Jess McMillan

by on Oct.23, 2013, under Bartender Stories, IBC


Jess McMillan story is particularly unusual among bartenders. Her profession and passion speak a lot about her personality: if her work supporting people with disabilities doesn’t show a noble person oriented to help others, her reasons for bartending totally do. A party girl at heart, Jess had to face a Pancreatitis consequence of this lifestyle which propelled her to switch from being the party to make the party amazing for those around her. Her first big step in this direction was to take proper bartending training which besides making her develop a whole new respect for bartenders, helped her realize she wanted to become one.

With an infatuation for Amaretto Sour (despite the first impression of an egg being part of the recipe) and for layering shots –another rarity among new bartenders- Jess was invited to participate in the Blazers Challenge, where her terrific performance, combined with the huge support she got from her friends and fans in the selection process made the jury chose her as one of the 3 finalists for the competition. This means that Jess will be at the legendary College Street Bar, stirring and shaking her way through bartender wisdom for four weeks.

For Jess, being in contact with different people every night is one of the most enjoyable aspects of this profession (opposed to how much she hates cutting celery). In her opinion, the main skills that every bartender should possess aside from the knowledge of recipes are personality, confidence and at least a little flair.

Flair is Jess, next big goal, after tasting the pleasure of throwing garnish, glassware and bottles with style, she is now looking forward “killing it” in some flair competitions.

Finally, her words about her experience at the B1 Blazers:

“B1 Blazers was a great experience.  Stressful and overwhelming at first but so worth it.  Bartending at one of Toronto’s finest bars was a huge learning opportunity.  All the staff were so helpful, patient and knowledgeable.  The atmosphere in the bar was great.  It was very welcoming.  Good DJ, Great drinks, wicked people”

Stop at College Street Bar and try on of Jess’ masterpieces, her Amaretto Sour will make you come back…

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Bar Chef Finals – Fall 2011

by on Apr.25, 2011, under IBC, Mixology, Raising the Bar, Worlds Best Bars

Have you wished you could jump behind a bar with hundreds of ingredients, tastes, and ideas and be able to create the cocktail of your dreams?

On April 4th, 2011 the BartenderOne Bar Chef Finals took place at Empire Lounge in Toronto in Yorkville. As students, the mixologists had completed tasting over five hundred different spirits, bitters, liqueurs, sweeteners, types of citrus, infused foams and spirits, along with homemade syrups.

As mixologists, the students were asked to create an original cocktail from each of the 5 spirit categories. The cocktails could have been made with anything that the mixologists could think of; but were required to hold dear the traditional balanced cocktail theory. While they did have guidelines for balance, there were none for flavour profiles or presentation. Mixologists could incorporate elements that were taught in class such as: infusion, fatwashing, bruleeing, molecular mixology, spherification, custom foams, misting and much more.

As the student mixologists watched tentatively, their cocktails were tasted by three of Toronto’s top mixologists; Rob Montgomery, Gavin MacMillan and Scott McMaster. The students were were delighted to see that their hard work and development had paid off. The judges were impressed by all of the thought and effort that was incorporated into the final cocktails. The mixologists showed that they weren’t scared to test some boundaries in coming up with their very own recipes, and here are the top cocktails entered:


Strawbarb Bullets by Krissy Calkins

Strawbarb Bullets by Krissy Calkins

STRAWBARB BULLETS – By Mixologist Krissy Calkins

2/3 oz Strawberry reduction (no sugar added)
1/3 oz Rhubarb reduction (no sugar added)
1 oz Vodka
Shaken on Ice
Strain into Chocolate Cups
Float – Vanilla bean infused simple syrup on top
Served on a bed of Gram Crackers

Rainbow 1943 By Elizabeth Saad

Rainbow 1943 By Elizabeth Saad

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Flair Bartender Profile – Justin Keane

by on Apr.25, 2011, under The F Word

Justin Keane

Fancy some flair?

Justin Keane

Age: 29

Nationality: U.S.A

Employer: Carnaval Court at Harrah’s Las Vegas

Years Flairing: 6

I asked Justin A few questions and found out some interesting facts.

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Raring to Flair?

by on Apr.20, 2011, under The F Word

Burn baby burn

Burn baby burn

Where do I start?

One of the challenges that people face when learning how to become a flair bartender, is figuring out where to start. People are very eager to start juggling 4 bottles off the start, but that is bit of a stretch. Begin with easy, high impact – low risk moves that you will be able to execute with confidence with a little practice.

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A Lesson in Bar Etiquette

by on Apr.15, 2011, under Bar Etiquette

Tips please!

Tips please!

Tip literally stands for To Insure Promptness.

Most people who work in the service industry rely on tips as a major part of their income. Because this is a known fact, most servers and bartenders are paid minimum wage if not less.

That being said, we all have to keep in mind that a tip is a gratuity and is not mandatory.

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Do you Dare to Flair?

by on Apr.14, 2011, under The F Word

Flair in action!

Flair in action!

It seems every bar you go to these days, you will see someone throwing bottles in the air, jumping up on the bar, or lighting something on fire. Flair bartending is the term used to describe these actions. It is showmanship mixed with bartending to enhance the guest’s overall experience.

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Sweet Sweet Vermouth….

by on Apr.13, 2011, under IBC, Mixology, Mixology Mondays

The finished product mmmm...

The finished product mmmm...

What makes a Negroni stand out above all other cocktails for me is the variety of flavors that hit your tastebuds as soon as the liquid enters your mouth. The sweet sensation that jolts you back to reality after that first sip is the sweet vermouth which is also present in that manly martini named the ‘Manhattan’.

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A Lesson in Marketing (no, not that kind)

by on Apr.08, 2011, under Mixology, Raising the Bar

The amazing fresh produce at St. Lawrence Market, ripe for the picking.

The amazing fresh produce at St. Lawrence Market, ripe for the picking.

Not all freestyle mixology sessions need to start with a trip to the liquor store! Local markets packed with farm fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and fantastic finds can be your first destination for inspiration.

Here in Toronto we are particularly blessed with access to several excellent open and indoor markets. St. Lawrence Market and the Kensington District both offer fantastic selections of fresh produce, bulk goods, and specialty shops with every imaginable ingredient under the sun. You can almost always track down specific spices and preserves, thanks especially to the diversity of background in our city. However, at least half the fun of a trip to the market is the item you didn’t expect to see! Preserved Marasca Cherries, anyone? A hidden find at one of these well stocked purveyors could spark your next great cocktail idea!

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Spring Ahead, Kick Back!

by on Feb.10, 2011, under IBC

Cocktail caviar is a fairly simple, yet effective way of impressing your guests while hitting taste/texture sensations they've never heard of!

Cocktail caviar is a fairly simple, yet effective way of impressing your guests while hitting taste/texture sensations they've never heard of!

Spring is just around the corner, and it’s time to shake things up – or stir things up, depending on the drink!  Here are some completely random recipes that have crossed my lips this month.  If you or your staff have recipes you think might be of interest to Behind Bars readers, please drop me a line!
The Montgomery
Named by Ernest Hemingway in honour of the British general who, he claimed, would fight the enemy only if he had 15 soldiers to their one – that was also the proportion of gin to dry vermouth in the martinis Hemingway ordered.
(Source: The Harry’s Bar Cookbook, Arrigo Cipriani)
Adapted recipe for a 60ml “Montgomery” martini

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