It’s incredibly hard not to drink as a bartender. Completely sober bartenders; no drugs, no alcohol of any kind, are a rare thing. Now let’s be real for just a quick sec, I’m not saying all bartenders get trashed behind the bar. Drinking on the job is common, shots with guests, shots with your coworkers, and often shots with your bosses. (That Fernet Branca my friends.) Let’s say a bartender has an exclusive ‘no shots’ policy at work, but this doesn’t eliminate the idea of alcohol entirely. Depending on where in the world you work different laws apply to bartenders. This also depends on the company culture; some employers give out one or two free drinks a shift (during or after) to keep staff motivated.
There’s also the culture around grabbing a drink at the end of the night. What about going to that hot new place that opened up in Little Italy? You’ve never been you that whisky bar on Queen West? We gotta go for a drink sometime. Their Old Fashioned is pretty good. It’s a bonding experience with your restaurant comrades.
There’s also the education and creativity aspect to consider. Bartenders have to be constantly developing their palate. What if your bar added a new gin brand to the shelf? This new brand just hit the market, and you have to be able to describe it to your guests. Or maybe you’re developing a new cocktail for the menu? Can’t serve something you wouldn’t drink yourself right? The same could be said for bartenders submitting to cocktail competitions. Bartenders have to taste what they make, and adjust accordingly. To stop drinking entirely would cripple a bartender in this respect. The lifestyle in hospitality, especially for those of us behind the bar, is wrought with lasse-fare alcoholism. It’s perfectly socially acceptable.
So what if I was sober, as a working bartender, for thirty-one days?
- Drink behind the bar, shots with guests included
- Drinking after work with friends
- Drinks at home after work
- Participate in spirits, wine, and beer training for work
- Sample a new product on the bar
- Tastings at sponsored events
- Sample cocktails submissions for competitions
- Taste the drinks you serve to ensure consistency for the guest
This is partly a social experiment, and partly for my health.
I want to see what would change in my daily life if I virtually reduced my drinking habits. Thirty days isn’t long enough to have a huge impact on my health, but there are a few short-term benefits. The top three immediate health benefits for eliminating alcohol are
a) better sleep (more energy)
b) faster metabolism (reduce weight),
c) better skin (no more pimples)
So every day I’m going to track these rather subjective parameters, and see if I see or feel any differences. Wish me luck.