Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bartending 101: Mid-Term Exam Prep

I finally decide that it's time for me to take the written exam.  Yeah, before that whole "12 drinks in seven minutes" practical exam, you have to pass the written exam -- which I am told usually takes around 2 hours to complete and is a complete bitch.

I interrogate Betty all week about what the test is like.  She says you have to get a 90% to pass the test, and that she has seven different versions of it.  More importantly, no one is allowed to take the test home, whether they pass or fail it.  Damn, no chance of getting an underground photocopy.  There goes Plan A.  

Plan B begins to take shape.  First I must keep grilling Betty about what's on the exam.  I get out of her that the first part is recipes, where you have to write out complete ingredients for 36 -- yes, thirty-six -- drinks.  Down to the ounce.  If you get anything wrong -- even a stupid garnish, it's a point off.  The next section is glassware identification, which should be no problem -- I've been using the glasses the whole time.  But then there's Liquor Dictionary.  Not only do we have to identify alcohol types based on brand names, but ingredients and how to make the stuff.  

Did you know there are four steps to making certain whiskeys?  And two ways to make champagne?  Me neither... When the hell am I going to need to know most of this stuff as a bartender?  When is someone going to ask for a Long Island Iced Tea and what the history of brandy is?  Just doesn't seem practical.  But since I don't have a choice, I have to develop a plan of attack.

Plan B has now developed into three steps/options: 
Research - must go out and try all sorts of different drinks.  It'll definitely help me remember what each of them are.  And it'll be a helluva lotta fun, too.  
Procrastinate - since I have no strong desire to work a second job, I'll have to put it off as long as possible.  At least until the credit card company threatens me.  
Cram like a mamajamma - last resort.  If step 1 and 2 aren't enough, I have to just sit and study all this stuff until it's all I can think, breathe, eat, and drink.

Although "Research" on the subject has essentially been continuous since high school, I plan on Researching into the holidays for best results.  Of course, the more research I do the more brain cells with valuable information disappear.  It's a vicious cycle, but I'll fight through it and keep you drunks updated!


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