Common perception sees bartending as a lower skilled occupation. For some strange reason a room filled with young, attractive workers, serving alcohol for a living seems like a second class profession for most outsiders. However reality reveals that most bartenders, servers and waitresses develop sharp job skills that become very useful in their professional life; active listening, social perceptiveness, quick thinking and decision making, punctuality and efficiency under pressure are just a few of the skills bartenders develop to cope successfully with this demanding profession.
Emily Bekolay learned this after moving to Toronto from her native Ottawa to pursue a career in Advertising. She quickly realized there are few environments as useful to develop social and public relations skills as the services industry. Having worked different positions from hostess to server, Emily realized that her creativity demanded becoming a bartender as the next natural step for her.
The skill and presence Emily showed at the BartenderOne MasterClass made her an obvious candidate for the Blazers Challenge Competition (A real life challenge to see if she really was ready to be a bartender) along with another 14 brilliant graduates.
Emily passed this test with honours, her charisma cool attitude under pressure and ability to create rapport with her guests made her an absolute winner and earned her an invitation for the Blazers Challenge Finals where she will face 11 BartenderOne Champions from 2013.
What are the features that make Emily a great bartender? Eye for detail, patience and creativity combined with a passion for personalizing her cocktails to suit her guest’s preference. This is refreshing in an industry where more veteran bartenders become excessively focused on the volume and speed of their productions and forget the crucial element that is the guest’s satisfaction.
In love with the social aspect of bartending, Ms Bekolay plans to perfect her bartender techniques while she continues her career in advertising while enjoying the process. She will be bartending at The College Street Bar in Downtown Toronto, crafiting Cucumber Collins, Margaritas and much more. Make sure to stop by and ask Emily for one of her specialties, you will receive an amazing cocktail garnished with a dazzling smile. It can’t get better than that!
Shevonn knows what working hard means.
Working since age 17 to support her family, Shevonn has done a little bit of everything; from legal assistant to supervisor barista, she has experienced the ups and downs of the real world without ever quitting her dream to become a singer / musician.
On the search for a profession that offered her constant learning and possibilities, Shevonn decided to enrol in the prestigious Bartending MasterClass at BartenderOne Toronto where her easy going manners, speed and skill made her instructors put down her name for the Blazers Challenge along other top graduates like her. In this competition Shevonn managed to keep nerves of steel and executed a terrific performance, which added to her promotional efforts earned her a seat in the winter finals.
With a curious passion for White Russian despite her lactose intolerance, Shevonn thrives in fast-paced, interaction-filled environment and holds a mantra that defines her attitude towards bartending: Willingness to learn, Patience & Practice.
Shevonn’s goal now is to follow the path of learning from the best, honing her skills and making a reputation for herself with a signature cocktail that makes people tipsy and happy around the world.
Her advice for those wishing to follow on her foot steps?
“My main advice for those preparing to become a bartender would be to be confident in yourself and your abilities. Like anything you do make sure you are prepared to put in the time, the work and the effort to learn your craft. It may seem overwhelming at first but if you are confident in yourself, your ability and you work hard, you will reap the benefits and they are rewarding”
Shevonn is invited to spend a few weeks at College Street Bar to polish her bartending skills and learn the secrets of this profession with some of the brightest minds in the bar scene in Toronto. You definitely have to stop by and try her White Russian, she may not be able to share it with you without risking an anaphylactic shock, but we can bet that it will blow your mind!!!
See you at the bar!
When you meet Landon Logie the first thing you receive from her is a big warm smile which makes you feel immediately at ease. This alone is a priceless gift for anyone interested in becoming a bartender: a dazzling smile opens doors and keep the tips flowing.
A big fan of one of Toronto’s favourites: The Madison Avenue Pub Landon is one of the most promising bartenders coming to Toronto nightlife scene, Landon felt the call to join the fun, exciting but also demanding lifestyle known as bartending. After taking her first steps in this path at one of the busiest venues in Mississauga and following her passion for Cosmopolitans Landon made the decision to join the BartenderOne MasterClass, where her abilities and charisma made her instructor put her name down to participate in the Blazers Challenge.
In this competition, Landon overcame her initial shyness and nervousness and with a firm grip she mastered her station at the College Street Bar. Her performance and the effort she put in promoting her participation to her friends made her champion of the Blazers Challenge Qualifiers, earning her a seat at the final and a spot at the CSB team to polish her skills.
Confidence, an outgoing personality and a good memory are Landon’s necessary elements to succeed as a bartender. The speed, versatility and pressure this industry offer, are to Landon irresistible reasons to pursue her dreams in bartending and opening her own bar.
Finally, Landon’s advice to all that considering becoming bartenders and participating in a competition like this is to have fun with it and just do it!
Remember to stop at 574 College St. in Toronto to get a drink from Landon, the smile included is free.
Analyn’s story destroys one of the most common myths around bartenders; that most service industry staff are high school or university dropouts. A successful Marketing Coordinator, Analyn came into bartending looking for an alternative for her 9 to 5 office job, something that pushed her out of her comfort zone and allowed her to meet new, interesting people everyday. Unlike most bartenders, Analyn enjoys the pressure and challenge of this career to which she adds her communication skills and the ability to deal with numerous people she’s got in her regular job. A passion motivated professional, Analyn looks forward new challenges to beat and new horizons to reach.
At BartenderOne Analyn discovered the secrets of Gin and fell in love with the Tom Collins or its College Street Bar version the cucumber Collins. Noting her skill and charisma behind the bar, she was selected by her instructors to participate on the Blazers Challenge where she ranked among the top contenders.
In Analyn’s opinion, every bartender should have the charisma and a distinct personality that can easily be loved not only by the customers but their co-workers as well. Aside from charm, every bartended should have the persistence to strive to be better every time
With her superb performance at the Blazers Challenge, Analyn earned a place at the elite group of graduates that will keep on being part of the College Street Bar team. In her words, participating on the Blazers Challenge she felt “Excited. Nervous. Happy. Scared. Fulfilled. Awed. Surprised. Challenged. Negative and Positive”
Keep an eye on Analyn, she will be Toronto nightlife scene in the months and years to come and you better stay around to taste her creations.
MxMo XLVI takes place Monday, February 22. Hosting this round is Sonja at Thinking of Drinking, and Sonja has chosen Absinthe as the theme. Certainly one of Toronto’s best MxMo’s to date, and a thoroughly enjoyable excuse to get together and have some tasty beverages. Some of us chose absinthe as a modifier, some as a base… some chose citrus and some cream, then we finished off with some fresh espresso and macadamia syrup to cap the night… Enjoy from the t-dot
Elan Marks presents
“Two in the Pink”
1.5 oz alize red passion
1.5 oz absinthe
1 oz ameretto
1 oz egg whites
2 oz cranberry juice,
squeeze one fresh lemon wedge …
in a tin with ice add all ingredients, shake the shit out of it, till its nice and frothy
strain and enjoy,
Scott McMaster (aka Evil) presents “The Purp”
60ml Zoladkowa Gurzka Bitter Vodka
10ml Hills Absinth
2-7 inch rosemary branches (no stems). 3 barspoons of blueberry jam
Muddle vodka, jam and rosemary in boston glass. Add absinth and ice, shake, fine strain in to tall thin glass. Flute would work as well as pictured glass. Top with Absenth foam.
Ghostface Killah Cocktail aka Pretty Toney Tipple
Inspired by San Francisco bartender Camper English’s adaption of the Absinthe Suissesse Cocktail, I added a few changes of my own. Remake of a remake so to speak. I hope you enjoy.
50ml Hills Absinthe
15ml Macadamia Nut Syrup
1 egg white
60ml heavy cream or half-and-half
dash orange blossom water
pinch of 6 spice powder(5 spice plus ginger)
Combine liquid ingredients in boston glass, Fill with ice and hard shake. Strain over crushed ice in oldfashioned glass or straight into a chilled coupe glass. Sprinkle with 6 spice powder.
Not bad for a first run, but needs tinkering:
Pour la Premiere Fois
1.25oz Calvados De Boulard
.75oz Italian Vermouth
.5oz Pernod Absinthe
.25oz Pama Pomegranate Liqueur
2 dashes Peychaud Bitters
1 dash Angostura Bitters
*Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Nishan Chandra busts out the Snowbird
15mL Hills Absinthe
30mL Domaine de Canton
Juice of 2 Fresh Limes
3 dashes Fee Bros Lemon Bitters
Shake all ingredients over ice, strain into 3 tall shooter or coupe glasses.
Add one dash of bitters to garnish.
Gavin MacMillan presented the GF Twizzler
45mL Juniper Green Organic Gin
30mL Hills Absinthe
60mL Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
2 dashes Peychauds Bitters
Brulee the outside of the glasses with absinthe for aromatics, then shake and strain into bruleed glassware.