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Bartending Icons: Reggie St. Paul

As time passes, drinks change, styles change, tastes change, but one thing that never changes is the service that bartenders give their customers. Licensed bartenders through the ages - such as Reggie St. Paul - have always had to focus on responsible alcohol service. A bartender for more than 40 years, Reggie St. Paul of Cambridge, MA has poured drinks for celebrities like Miles Davis and St. Louis Cardinals Hall-of-Famer Bob Gibson.

St. Paul has watched people change, times change, and consumer tastes change over his bartending career. A former school teacher, who's served tens of thousands of customers, St. Paul says he still enjoys coming to work at The Blue Room’s ash bar in Kendall Square.

“I know every day is going to be different,’’ says St. Paul, “And I like it because I work with people who are young.’’

An article on Boston.com notes:

Through the decades, he has watched drinkers rediscover cocktails and seen smoke-filled rooms consigned to the ashtray of history.

... He remembers when drinking was serious stuff, when tastes were dramatically different, and a bar could go through eight to 10 bottles of whiskey and bourbon a night, compared with only one bottle of gin and one bottle of vodka.

Drinking habits have changed dramatically since then, often circling back to decades-old tendencies. Cocktails are popular once more, wine is nearly a given, and bartenders must learn or reacquaint themselves with the mechanics of an intricately mixed drink.

“We’re doing cocktails of the ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s,’’ St. Paul says. “It’s become exciting.’’ One big difference, he says, is that “to some people now, the glass is more important than what’s in it.’’

But some things never change for bartenders, including their interaction with customers, the social psychology they develop, and their ability to defuse potential confrontations. And then there are the physical demands.

At America's Alcohol Certified Education Association, we tip our hats to certified bartenders like Reggie St. Paul, who continue to provide responsible alcohol sales and excellent customer service.

AACEA provides alcohol server training that promotes responsible alcohol sales and service. For more information on Washington alcohol certification and bartender licensing, or to take your class from the comfort of your home visit www.aacea.com.

Be the Best Server You Can Be and Provide Responsible Alcohol Service

Responsible service of alcohol is just one aspect of the job in the hospitality industry. What does it take to be a really good server? In order to be a successful server, you have to have a good memory and be able to think fast. Having a positive attitude is key in dealing with the ups and downs of the restaurant business. Dealing with the kitchen and sometimes impatient guests, requires you to be engaging, accommodating and professional. But first things first, learn the menu and learn it fast! When guests ask questions you want to have a knowledgeable answer ready. By knowing your menu you will quickly be able to identify opportunities to up sell and therefore increase your check average.
  • Learn your guests’ names and use them
  • Anticipate their needs and be there when you are needed
  • Remove plates, glasses and other used items promptly
  • Learn your wines and know what to offer with each menu item
Most importantly, know the signs of intoxication and how to deal with kindly and properly cutting a guest off. Get your manager involved and stay cool. AACEA provides alcohol server training that promotes responsible alcohol sales and service. Get your Washington alcohol permit online. For more information on Washington alcohol certification and to take your class from the comfort of your home visit www.aacea.com.

Extra Dry or Brut? A Primer on Champagne, Part I

"Come quickly, I am tasting stars..." Dom Perignon, after his first taste of Champagne,
Do you know the difference between an extra dry and a brut champagne? Can you tell a Cava from a Prosecco? Do you know what bubbles from Napa are called, or what makes it bubbly in the first place? If the answer to any of these questions is NO, you're not alone. The confusion may stem from the bubbly elixr's ubiquitos misrepresentation (not all sparkling wines are champagnes), and the confusion between the name, and the taste. Champagne Campaign! Champagne is a sparkling wine that comes ONLY from the region of Champagne, France. Champagne, France courtesy of Drinknectar.comAny other bubbles calling themselves champagne that do not hail from the region north of Paris are not. They're generally considered "sparkling wines". As Drinknectar.com notes, "While it might sound like French snobbery to some, they developed the process, so I think they deserve to lay claim to the name." We agree. For sparkling wines that come from outside the Champagne region, the French have reserved the terms "Mousseux", "Crémant" and sometimes "Blanquette". Blanquette is generally a white from Limoux and the sparkling Blanquette actually pre-dates champagne. When buying, look for the words "méthode champenoise", which means the wine has a second-fermentation in the bottle. This extra fermentation is where the bubbles come in. This is in opposition to the charmat method (and most any other kind of fermentation), which actually requires a large tank. Here, the carbon dioxide is injected while the wine is in stainless steel tanks (rather than fermented in its' own bottle), and is bottled under pressure in a continuous process. Dry or Brut? These terms often confuse bubble-buyers. Many would think of a dry wine as being just that - not sweet. However, when it comes to champagne and other sparkling whites, this option is often the sweetest. When looking for a drier bottle, keep this in mind:
  • Extra Brut (The driest - Pucker up! Many enjoy this extra dry sparkling wine)
  • Brut (Highly recommended)
  • Extra Dry (Which is not as dry as Brut)
  • Dry/Sec (Much sweeter than Brut)
  • Demi-Sec (A great dessert wine)
  • Doux (Maximum sugar)
Most champagne is made as a "cuvée" - a blend of 3 types of grapes, typically 2 white and one red. A Blanc de Blancs will be made entirely of white grapes, and is generally more delicate, while a Blanc de Noirs is a white wine made of red/black grapes. The Blanc de Noirs is generally more robust, with a golden color. You may also see bottles of Rosé Cuvée which means just a touch of red wine is added to give it the pink color. Rosé Cuvée is not to be confused with rosé wines. Serving Recommendations Champagne is best served cold - between 43 and 48 degrees Fahrenheit. To get your champagne to this temperature, leave it in the fridge for a few days before opening. Never put champagne in the freezer, since contents are under pressure and bottles have a tendency to explode in freezers. We've also read that the quick chill can ruin the aromatics. If you need to chill champagne quickly, put it in an ice bucket filled with half ice and half water for about a half hour. When pouring, always pour the glass 3/4 full, in tall champagne flutes. America's Alcohol Certified Education Association provides online alcohol server training - to get your alcohol server's permit or to take alcohol server training classes in Washington and Oregon from the comfort of your own home, visit www.aacea.com.

Glass Shapes Confuse Even Experienced Bartenders

According to a recently published study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), many people misjudge volume based on the shape of the container into which it is poured. This phenomenon, often referred to as "portion distortion," specifically relates to the unintentional pouring of more alcohol into a short, wide glass than into a tall, thin glass. In some instances a cocktail in a short, wide glass contained as much as a quarter more alcohol than the pourer intended. The BMJ study investigated whether training and experience could correct this tendency by comparing the pouring habits of a group of students and a group of experienced bartenders. All participants were asked to pour 11/2-ounce shots from a bottle into one of two types of glasses: short and wide and tall and slender. The students poured 30 percent more into the short glasses than the tall glasses. The experienced bartenders also overpoured, placing 20 percent more alcohol into the short glasses than the tall glasses. AACEAprovides alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol. To get your alcohol servers permit in Washington visit www.aacea.com

What Glass Should I Use for Different Beers?

We reported a while back that bar glass shapes confuse even the most adept bartenders from time to time. The right glass can definitely enhance the drink you're serving - for example, red wine glasses are built for maximum surface area, letting the wine "breathe".

So how well do you know YOUR beer bar glasses?

Beers are generally served in the standard pint glasses you see at every bar. However, besides the standard pint glass, you may encounter:

Pints: Come in 2 shapes - regular pints and pub pints. They're beer glasses with slightly tapered walls, and a pub pint has a ridge around the top. Pint glasses come in two sizes: Imperial 20 ounce glasses or US 16 ounce pints.

pub pint glass

Pilsner Glasses: A long, narrow glass with walls that taper towards the base. Used to consolidate volatiles and support delicate heads of pilsners and other lagers. These may be tall (imperial pint size) or short (weisen glasses). They may also feature a short stem and be "footed".

pilsner glass

Seidel or Stein: German-style mugs, often 1/2 liter volume, with handles and thick walls that maintain a cool temperature. An earthenware, ceramic, or metal version is called a stein.

seidel or stein

Goblet, Schooner or Chalice: Wide-mouthed, bowl-like, stemmed glass, generally used for serving abbey-style ales. Like tulip glasses, they are often etched to stimulate carbonation. These are also considered schooner glasses - which are often confused with the shorter pilsner or weisen glasses.

schooner chalice goblet

Tulip glass: These are much the same shape as the above schooner or goblet - bulbous with a smaller mouth and short stem, that support large heads of artisanal Belgian ales, or any beer you might "swirl". These glasses have etching on the bottom of the inside of the glass, that help stimulate carbonation which allows the beer to keep its head.

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AACEAprovides alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol. To get your alcohol servers permit in Washington visit www.aacea.com

What is a Mamie Taylor?

"...The Mamie Taylor was named after a Broadway singer and appeared around the turn of the last century, but within a few years it fell completely out of fashion. In 1900, it was the most popular cocktail of it’s day, and more than a century later, few people have ever heard of it—or Miss Taylor for that matter. Yet this drink has led to many variations that we do remember."

-SummitSips.com

The Mamie Taylor is a base for many popular drinks today and follows a simple formula that any bartender will recognize: Spirits + ginger ale or ginger beer + lime juice and garnish. Mamie Taylor is specifically made with blended scotch, and is said to be one of the most "deceptive" drinks out there, since it is so refreshing as a warm-weather drink. Here are a few news snippets from the turn of the century, regarding the Mamie Taylor: "The News", 5th July, 1900 "The latest hit on these hot days is a nice cool "Mamie Taylor." They are delicious." "Kansas City Star," August 12th, 1900 “The Mamie Taylor, for whom a certain seductive summer drink was named by an admiring bartender.” "Washington Post," 26th January, 1902 "With the dawn of a hilarious New Year there has been evolved for the delectation of New Yorkers a new form of liquid exhilaration. It has not yet reached Broadway, but seems to have been wafted from the chilly West and found an abiding place on Park Row. In whose brain the great idea originated is still a mystery, but when he discloses his identity his fame promises to eclipse that of the inventor of the Mamie Taylor..." "The Post Standard", 7th March 1902 "It was while Miss Taylor was the prima donna of an opera company playing at Ontario Beach, near Rochester, in 1899," he said, "that she was asked with a number of other members of the company to go out sailing on the lake. As the day was hot and the breeze rather strong, the party returned after a few hours longing for some cooling refreshments. When Miss Taylor was asked what she would have she expressed the wish for a long but not strong drink--in fact, a claret lemonade. When the drink was served it was very evident that it wasn't a claret lemonade, for it looked like a delicious long drink of sparkling champagne. On tasting it Miss Taylor found itmuch to her liking, but asked to have the flavor softened with a piece of lemon peel. When this was done the new combination drink was declared a complete success. Bystanders had been watching the proceedings and noticing the evident enjoyment with which Miss Taylor and a few of her friends relished in new drink they finally asked the hotel keepr what drink it was that was being served to them and without hesitation the hotel man replied "a Mamie Taylor" and the name seemed to meet with instantaneous favour and has become famous all over the country." Drinks similar to the Mamie Taylor are the Moscow Mule and the ever popular Dark and Stormy. Part of becoming a better bartender is being knowledgeable about your drinks. Thinking of becoming a bartender? AACEAprovides alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol – sign up today and you’re eligible to win $100 fromAACEA and Len Riggs. To get your alcohol servers permit in Washington visit www.aacea.com.

When Enough is Enough

We've lost so many lives recently to addictions - especially alcohol addictions. With headlines decrying car crashes and binge drinking, and newspapers talking about the dangers of mixing drinks with medication, some may start to ask how to prevent these type of events. And accusations start flying at the bartenders that continue to serve and over-serve these clientele, who quickly become a danger to themselves and others. At AACEA we educate alcohol servers on how to serve alcohol responsibly and how to become a better bartender. We feel it's important to look at these cases of driving under the influence, and assess where we can do better. Our students at AACEA are the first line of defense against drunk driving. As an article on the Ryan Dunn incident suggests,
Bartenders across the country face the same challenges all the time. Whenever a person is in a car accident, especially a fatal one, it is natural for family and friends to want to point fingers, and police typically investigate the bartender to see if anyone was selling to an openly drunk customer. “We often get the question of what should bartenders do,” Sgt. Wayne Bush of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement says. “First, don’t serve a person to that point — shut them off. If they slur their words, stand and are wobbly, hold on to the bar, are nodding off or have trouble getting money out of their wallet, they’ve had enough. Don’t wait for them to puke on the floor or to pick a fight. That’s too late.” In the case of more experienced drinkers however, it isn’t that easy. “The bartender and wait staff have the obligation not to serve someone who is visibly intoxicated,” Bush said. “What they have to realize is that someone can be drinking and not appear to be intoxicated because the last drinks haven’t hit his system. It all depends on the person; someone who is a regular drinker will be able to drink more.” To make things more difficult, some people won’t take no for an answer. Someone who is cut off from a bartender can easily go to a table of strangers and beg a drink from them.
When dealing with experienced drinkers, it can be difficult to tell when to stop serving. You might be tipped off by either excessively loud or excessively withdrawn behavior. Your customer may not be able to completely focus on the task at hand, or may lose a little hand-eye coordination. You may be able to tell by rambling conversation or offensive language. Part of being a good bartender is knowing your clientele and being able to quickly spot those who may be under the influence. AACEAprovides alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol. AACEAis hosting a raffle for students enrolled in our alcohol server training classes – sign up today and you’re eligible to win $100 from AACEA and Len Riggs. To get your alcohol servers permit in Washington visit www.aacea.com.

Woodinville Driver Breaks State Blood Alcohol Content Record

A former Seattle police officer, Deana F. Jarrett, of Woodinville, was charged last month with driving under the influence with the highest blood-alcohol reading ever recorded by a Washington state driver. Jarrett's blood alcohol level was 0.47 percent, which is almost 6 times higher than the legal .08 percent blood alcohol level limit. A blood-alcohol level above 0.40 percent is potentially lethal - "Most people black out at between 0.35 and higher," said Detective Tim Gately of the Redmond Police Department. Jarrett is approximately 5 feet 5 inches and 130 to 140 pounds — it would take about a fifth of liquor, 25.6 ounces, in a short period of time, to reach that blood-alcohol level. Five empty four-ounce plastic bottles of vodka and two empty 12-ounce cans of beer were found on the front passenger seat, according to a trooper's report. Washington State Patrol maintains records on all individuals who submit to a breath test in Washington. According to state records, thirty-five of the approximately 356,000 breath tests given since 1998 have registered above 0.40 percent. An average of 42,000 to 45,000 breathalyzer tests are given each year by all law-enforcement agencies in the state. Until now, no one had registered over 0.45 percent on a breath test in Washington. In our Alcohol Server Training we teach our students how to look for signs of intoxication – one of the basics of responsible alcohol service and sales. AACEA promotes responsible alcohol service and sales and offers online alcohol server training in Washington. For more information about your alcohol permit visit www.aaccea.com. If you're working in the Hospitality industry and are currently enrolled or enrolling in college, tell us what it means to you to be the first line of defense in drunk driving and you may win a scholarship for $500 through the Len Riggs and AACEA Scholarship to Save Lives Contest. Entries will be accepted until July 1st.

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