Category Archives for "Bartending 101"

9 Long Island Iced Teas You Should Know How to Make

Ahhhh, the Long Island Iced Tea.

As long as people have enjoyed vomiting in the bushes outside their neighborhood watering hole, they’ve enjoyed sucking down Long Island Iced Teas.

Just ordering a Long Island sort of defines your night right from the start and makes a declaration to everyone around you: I’m going to go from zero to humiliating just as quickly as I can.

Now, if you think people get excited by the Long Island, wait until you offer them a spin-off of the original and watch them jump around like a chimpanzee who got stung by a bee. I’ve been serving these variations for years, and if you want to be loved as a bartender, learn to diversify your Long Islands and watch them clutch at their drink excitedly like a child clutches an Otter Pop on a hot summer day.

But first, what kind of teacher would I be if I didn’t educate you on the beginnings of the Long Island and where it came from?


As with practically every cocktail with some time under its belt, the Long Island comes with debatable and uncertain beginnings. At first glance it appears as if it might have been inspired by the fruitcake: just throw anything you have in your cupboards into a container, mix it up and then ask yourself why in the hell you would ever ingest such a thing.

The original (and most believable) story comes from a small community called Long Island in Kingsport, Tennessee where it is declared that the Long Island was created in the 1920’s by an “Old Man Bishop” during the prohibition. Apparently, Bishop decided that combining vodka, whiskey, gin, tequila and rum with a little maple syrup was somehow a good idea.

For the purposes of creating a timeline here, in the 1960’s, Betty Crocker came out with a cook book that mentions the Long Island Iced Tea, though she gives no credit to Old Man Bishop.

Which brings us to the fraud, Bob Butt, who claims he invented the Long Island when he entered a cocktail contest so he could include triple sec as one of the ingredients.

And I only use the word fraud here because Butt is claiming to have invented something that was already invented. He even says so on his website:

The world famous Long Island Iced Tea was first invented in 1972 by me, Robert Butt, while I was tending bar at the infamous Oak Beach Inn. I participated in a cocktail creating contest. Triple Sec had to be included, and the bottles started flying. My concoction was an immediate hit and quickly became the house drink at the Oak Beach Inn. By the mid-1970s, every bar on Long Island was serving up this innocent-looking cocktail, and by the 1980s it was known the world over.”

Before Bob comes kicking down my door for calling him a fraud, I will say this: while claiming you invented a drink, when all you did was replace maple syrup with Coke, makes you a fraud, Bob Butt is most likely responsible for the modern day success of the Long Island. But as you’ll notice if you visit his website, nowhere will he mention anything about Betty Crocker’s mention of the Long Island a whole decade before he “invented it”.

What’s up with that, Bob?

With that said, let’s move on to the many variations of the Long Island, which I invented by the way. Because I said so. On my blog.

Before we start, let me remind you of this: before you pour a Long Island, only 2 oz. of booze is needed. Please don’t refer to online drink recipe websites that say to use 1 once of each liquor for a total of 4 – 5 oz. These people are idiots and they also don’t have to deal with your guests in your bar.

There, you’ve been warned.


TRADITIONAL LONG ISLAND (the modern version)

1/2 oz. vodka

1/2 oz. gin

1/2 oz. rum

1/2 oz. triple sec

Splash of sweet & sour

Splash of Coke

*Some still include the tequila, some don’t



1/2 oz. vodka

1/2 oz. gin

1/2 oz. rum

1/2 oz. triple sec

Splash of sweet and sour

Splash of cranberry



1/2 oz. vodka

1/2 oz. gin

1/2 oz. rum

1/2 oz. blue curacao

Splash of sweet & sour

Splash of Sprite

*Some put in triple sec AND blue curacao which is unnecessary since blue curacao is just blue triple sec



*My favorite “go-to” recipe. Also good if you shake it up as a shot

1/2 oz. vodka

1/2 oz. gin

1/2 oz. rum

1/2 oz. triple sec

1/2 oz. Chambord

Splash of sweet and sour

Splash of Sprite



1/2 oz. vodka

1/2 oz. gin

1/2 oz. rum

1/2 oz. triple sec

1/2 oz. Midori

Splash of sweet and sour

Splash of Sprite


TEXAS TEA (for those who think 5 liquors just isn’t quite enough)

1/2 oz. vodka

1/2 oz. gin

1/2 oz. rum

1/2 oz. triple sec

1/2 oz. tequila

1/2 oz. of whiskey

Splash of sweet and sour

Splash of Coke



1/2 oz. vodka

1/2 oz. gin

1/2 oz. rum

1/2 oz. triple sec

1/2 oz. peach schnapps

Splash of sweet and sour

Splash of cranberry


SEX WITH SATAN (what a great name!)

1/2 oz. vodka

1/2 oz. rum

1/2 oz. triple sec

1/2 oz. sloe gin

1/2 oz. cherry brandy

Splash of sweet and sour



1/2 oz. vodka

1/2 oz. gin

1/2 oz. rum

1/2 oz. triple sec

1/2 oz. amaretto

Splash of sweet and sour

Splash of Coke


That’ll do it folks. Now go out there and make people sick. Just kidding. Serve responsibly please.

Cheers, until next time,

The RB


7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Bartending School

The #1 question I have been asked throughout my career by people who want to become a bartender and who are considering signing up for TheRealBarcourse is: “Should I go to bartending school?”

Followed by the second most asked question: “How do I choose the right one?”

Just to make things clear, I am not anti-bartending school as long as you can find one that does it right. Problem is, I have yet to find many that qualify. In fact, I have yet to find one that does it right from beginning to end, which is why I created TheRealBarCourse. If you want more details, CLICK HERE.

However, each little squirrel must find his/her own way, so when you’re out there researching, here are 7 things you should consider when choosing the right bartending school or course for you.


We all know this is the first question on everyone’s mind, so let’s get right to it. As with anything you purchase, you should consider if what you’re buying is worth the cost, and with bartending schools and courses, I wouldn’t look at anything that’s more than $250. They aren’t any better than anything else out there. With that said, I am highly amused by the people who drop $150 on a pair of basketball shoes or $400 on a new car stereo without blinking an eye, but when an opportunity arises to invest in themselves to make their lives better, they tremble at the thought of spending a few hundred dollars even when it will lead them to a $60,000 – $70,000 per year job. Stop thinking and living a small life. Consider the cost, but focus on the quality.


Although I listed the cost question first, it’s only because I know it’s first on everyone’s mind, but this is where you’re inner Sherlock Holmes should don his magnifying glass and start investigating. And I know all of you are blinded by the skills part of it. How to pour, how to shake, how to stir, etc, etc, but this is simple shit, believe me. Not that you don’t have to learn it, but it’s the easiest part to teach. You need to find out what they teach beyond the basic skills and drink memorizing techniques, such as: do they help with cover letter and resume creation (very important), do they help with interview tips and what the interview questions will be (even more important), and do they provide a plan for you to go out and land the job (MOST important). Many schools and courses promise “job placement assistance” but what in the hell does that mean exactly? You need to find out details about what that entails and then decide if they have an EXTENSIVE program to help you get a job.


These are two very different. Brick and mortar bartending schools are often more expensive because they have to rent the building and pay bartenders to teach you how to make drinks. The advantage is that they do usually have a simulated bar where you can practice. This is very cool, but also a bit overrated. There is no difference practicing pouring at a kitchen counter than there is pouring at a bar. Online courses, on the other hand, allow you to move at your own pace. Finish in three days or take 30 days. The flexibility is a big advantage, not to mention no traveling to the school every day. The main difference is that you have to discipline yourself to practice because there is no instructor. But again, what matters most is the course CONTENT, not the venue.


NO! NO NO NO NO NO! This is a mirage that bartending schools use to tempt you into signing up for their course. I’ve stated it several times and I will state it again. Bartending licenses and certificates are WORTHLESS. The only bartending license that holds value are the alcohol awareness classes that are required by some states for safety and liability reasons. These actually do hold value, but bartending school licenses hold no merit. Do not base your decision on this.


I will continue to educate aspiring bartenders on this fact: you do not need to memorize 500 drink recipes. It’s kind of cool that you get a CD-Rom of 2,000 drink recipes, but you’ll never use it. Once you start bartending you’ll find that you make the same 50 drinks and shots over and over.I have about 250 memorized and it’s about 150 more than I need. Memorize the most popular ones and memorize new ones as you go and you’ll do great.


This is probably the most overlooked factor when considering bartending schools. Not just the bartenders instructing you, but who is the master behind the plan? When you pay for a course, you want it to be run by not only a competent and experienced bar industry person, but a competent and experienced bar owner or manager who knows what in the hell he/she is talking about when it comes to hiring bartenders. Sometimes this isn’t always easy to determine, but make sure to ask questions when you call about how they plan on helping you actually land the job after they teach you how to pour liquid into a glass and put styrofoam limes on as a garnish.



And as a follow-up questions? Do they make you pay for them? And for how much? If you are going to take an online course, you should be able to take the knowledge you are learning and put it to practice. These actions are necessary for you to achieve your goal. If they don’t offer bar tools or there’s a big cost involved, I’d think twice about it. They aren’t really providing you with great instruction if they aren’t asking you to practice what they are preaching.

If you have any other questions or want to know more about TheRealBarCourse, CLICK HERE.

Whatever you choose to do, I wish you the very best of luck.


The RB




Meet Bot-Tender: The Most Boring Transformer of All

If you’ve every wanted to know what it’s like to have a cocktail made by the Chrysler corporation in their assembly line factories, your wishes have been granted.

Check out the Bot-tender. It’s just like an Erector Set, except not exciting or fun. It’s about as warm and friendly as the cop from Terminator 2 and quick as a sloth.

If I ever take this long to pour some brown liquid into a cup and serve it to a guest, please take a jack hammer, place it on my throat and turn it on, because I don’t want to live anymore.


The Online Bartending School to End All Bartending Schools?

bartending schools

Before you say anything. I’m fully aware that I’m a walking contradiction. I tell people who ask my advice about bartending school not to go, and yet I vehemently tell people to sign-up for my online bartending school/ bartending course.

You can find out more about my course here.

Seems like an self-serving thing to do, doesn’t it? And technically it is, because I get paid for it, but trust me, it’s a very difficult position to be in.

What it comes down to is that all other bartending schools and online bartending courses are very different than mine. The truth is they are teaching their students the wrong things when it comes to helping them become a bartender. Or maybe not the “wrong” things as much as they are leaving out 70% of the lessons necessary to help people actually land the job.

If you really want to know what I think about bartending schools, watch my video.

My point is, imagine if you were Lebron James, and you taught basketball lessons on shooting, dribbling, passing, rebounding and defense, and there were 100 other people out there teaching lessons on just passing and dribbling and left out the other three, but they were promising their lessons would get you a division I scholarship in basketball if you signed up for their classes.

Then people come to you and ask your advice: “Lebron, should I take lessons on basketball from these other guys?”

What do you say without sounding self-serving when you know that the other guys aren’t getting it done, but what you’re offering actually helps people get to where they want to go?

Ok, I’m not comparing myself to Lebron James. I don’t even like Lebron James (he’s a ring-chaser), but the truth is, I have the #1 book on Amazon on how to become a bartender with no experience, and now my new course is quickly climbing the ranks, so I’m tired of beating around the bush.

Allow me lead you down this path of blatant transparency:

Should you go to another bartending school?


Should you sign up for my online bartending course?


Do I get paid when you sign up for my course.


Is it worth it?

Most definitely!

Why is it worth it?

Because I don’t just teach you to memorize drinks. I lay out a step-by-step plan that gets you the job every time.

Why should you trust me?

Nearly 3 decades of experience in the bar industry, including 8 years as a bar manager/GM and 6 years as a bar consultant. I have interviewed, hired and fired more bartenders than you have hairs on your body. And let’s not forget my students, who are right now earning millions of dollars in tips as we speak.

Do I guarantee the results?

You’d better believe it. How does a LIFETIME guarantee sound? Not good enough? Ok then, 2 LIMETIMES (in case you start out poor in your next life and want your money back, or if you come back as a banana slug or something).

There, I said it. Now you can go ahead and make your own choice and I can be at peace.

If you want to learn more about my course and how I help people, click on the link below to see if registration is still open.

If not, I wish you the best of luck in whatever you choose to do in life. I really do.

CLICK HERE for TheRealBarCourse Details

Cheers, until next time,

Dave, The RB


Do You Need a Bartending License or Certificate to Bartend?

This is the 2nd most question I get asked, right after, “Should I go to bartending school?”

Here I explain the scam that bartending schools try to pull with licenses and what you need to know.

If you’re truly serious about Becoming a Bartender, you can look into TheRealBarCourse, the #1 online bartending course as far as getting REAL results. You’ll need to see if registration is open at this time though, as we only open it every few weeks so I don’t get overwhelmed.


In the meantime, enjoy the video.

See you next time,



2 10 Awesome Novelty Drink Ideas For Your Bar

If you haven’t read WHY you should find a novelty drink for your bar, go back and read 7 REASONS YOU SHOULD CREATE A NOVELTY DRINK FOR YOUR BAR.

If you don’t need any more convincing and are ready for some ideas so you can get started creating buzz at your bar, let me share with you the best 10 novelty drinks I have had that I couldn’t stop thinking or talking about with other people.

1. The Big Ass Mule.

I have to put this at #1 because it’s the one we chose for our bar. Not to mention Moscow Mules popularity has spread faster than the zombie population on The Walking Dead. The way we do it is to fill the 96 oz. cup with ice, add 4 oz. of lime juice and empty a 12.68 oz. bottle of Tito’s into the giant mug. Then top with ginger beer. One of our biggest sellers, especially on the weekends.



I have a blog post on this on the website you can read if you want which gives examples of awesome novelty Bloody Mary cocktails.

The 5 Best Bloody Marys on the Planet

The point of this is to create an outrageous Bloody Mary with a great recipe and then pile food that is unique to your place on top. This is definitely one of the most effective and memorable novelty drinks you can serve at your bar. People will talk about it constantly and you will be known as THE place to go for a fantastic Bloody Mary.



Las Vegas is the yard stick’s native home. You see these things everywhere. Frozen drinks in a skinny tube with a wide mouth up top and a giant straw to ensure you acquire the most painful brain freeze possible.

Most of the yard sticks you find have frozen drinks inside, so you’d need a blender or a slushy machine, but the more practical way to serve them would be on the rocks.



You can order these glasses online and put about anything you want into them: Lemondrops, Cosmos or any fruity martini that people would love to share.



These are native to New Orleans and usually involve some sort of hurricane or zombie-type cocktail. These work great in New Orleans because people can walk down the street with them and everyone says, “Where did you get that,” and then they tell them the name of the bar which sends people there.

Problem is, you can’t do that in most places, but people will still talk about and remember the blinky-mug cocktail they saw on Facebook.



This is a bit different because we’re not talking about the container for once. The advantage is that you can put them in just about any cocktail to liven it up which gives you more flexibility on which drinks you want to highlight, and they have the same effect as the blinky mug and the string of yarn your cat can’t ignore.



The skull bowl is perfect for any bar with that hard core rock n’ roll ambience and image. There’s nothing more badass and tough as nails than drinking a Fuzzy Navel out of a skull.


Beer towers are a major novelty attraction. In this day and age of draft and craft beer popularity, if you can serve beer towers that people can take back to their tables, you will be the talk of the town. Not to mention it makes your bar more efficient and the service faster because your bartenders won’t have to pour pint after pint. Simply hand out a tower and that group of four is good for an hour. You can actually do the same thing if you serve sangria in your bar.



Yep, you can serve these with actual fake goldfish in them. This creates terrific novelty. And I have a bonus idea for you: in my e-book, The Big Black Book of Bar Promotions, I mention gold fish races as one of the promotions, which was one of our biggest successes at my bar.

You can marry these two together to have gold fish races and gold fish cocktails to go with it. If you organize this, you will create an incredible draw. I promise you that.



In order to pull this one off, you’ll need to order plenty of watermelons, but people love this giant cocktail for sharing. What type of cocktail you put in it is up to you. You can also pump a watermelon full of vodka and serve the pieces, followed up by serving a cocktail in the bowl, so you’re able to double your profits by using all of the watermelon.


That’s all for this edition on novelty cocktails. If you have any awesome novelty cocktails you want to add, let me know.

Cheers, until next time,



1 7 Reasons You Should Create a Novelty Drink For Your Bar

For those of you new to the subject of novelty bar drinks, they are the equivalent of a cat chasing after and swatting at a piece of yarn you dangle in front of it.

Stupid cat. I own one myself (not by choice) She sits there with that superior-to-the-rest-of-us attitude, yet the moment there’s movement, she just can’t help herself. She tries to pretend she doesn’t care, but like an addict with a line of cocaine sitting on the table, she eventually can’t stand it anymore and pounces on it.

It’s quite entertaining to watch, and in the same way my cat is attracted to it’s precious yarn, people are enthralled and fascinated by novelty drinks.

First off, let’s define what “Novelty” actually means. Novelty is defined as:

  1. The quality of being new, unique or unusual
  2. A small or original toy or ornament

Novelty drinks fit both of these definitions. They are both unique and a sort of toy for your guests to drink from.

If you have never considered adding a novelty drink to your cocktail menu, I’m here to give you 7 reasons why you should.


7 Reasons You Should Create a Novelty Drink For Your Bar

1. They are flat out fun. It’s true. Like the cat with her yarn, it seems like a pointless endeavor, yet when people are drinking out of a novelty drink, everyone around them seems to be laughing and enjoying themselves. Why is that? It’s because of reason number 2.

2. They are unique and unusual. Something that all of us have in common is the need to break away from the monotony of life. This is why we go on vacations or try new restaurants. Or have a baby. We want excitement and something that breaks us out of our normal routine.

3. They give us identity. What does that even mean? It means people love to stand up and announce to the world who they are. It’s why they put idiotic bumper stickers on their cars that will never come off (“Don’t blame me, I voted for Bush”, “Teachers do it with class”, etc.).

It’s why they wear the clothes they do and drive the cars they drive. And it’s why they choose to drink something that they can post on Facebook that says, “Look at me, I’m outrageous and fun.” (See number 5)

4. They give your bar identity. It’s true. For instance, at my bar, we are Home of the Big Ass Mule. When people talk, they say, “Where were you drinking that Big Ass Mule last week?”

“Oh, that was McGah’s Pub & Pianos. Awesome drink, great times. We should go there tonight.”

5. They will be shared on social media. Think about it: people LOVE to tell everyone what they’re doing every single minute of the day on social media sites: “Picking up some heart-worm medicine for Buster at Walmart.” These same people won’t be able to wait to show everyone the cool and unique drink they’re sipping at your cool and unique bar. This is free advertising. Which leads us into number 6.

6. They will create word-of-mouth marketing. Not only will people share their experience on FB, they will talk about it the next day or even week to people they know: “OH MY GOD! I was at The Rusty Nail on Friday and they had this giant hurricane that four of us were drinking out of. It was SOOOOO awesome!”

7. They are profitable. That’s right, even though it would still be worth it based on all the attention your bar will get for serving something so cool, you don’t need to spend a bunch of money to make it happen. Giant drinks (or even regular drinks) can have controllable portions that will make you as much or more profit as your regular cocktails. This reason alone should get you excited to bring on novelty drink. Profits are the main reason we’re in business in the first place.

If you’re foaming at the mouth now to find a great novelty drink you can use to create an identity at your bar and you need some ideas, check out 10 AWESOME NOVELTY DRINK IDEAS FOR YOUR BAR.

Cheers, until next time,

Dave, The RB