The Pour Test

If you’ve read my other article on Pouring, you’ll know that I don’t get down with idiots that build their drinks in tin cups and have no damned clue how much they’re pouring (and wasting). Furthermore, an overwhelming number of bartenders don’t know what the fuck an “ounce and half is,” the predominant measure of 80 proof spirits that is contained in most mixed drinks (according to N.Y.S. at least).  It’s a damned shame.  If owners had even the slightest inkling as to how much money they are pissing away every single day, they’d fire every last bartender and manager.

Put in perspective, in a busy spot, it’s really, really easy to throw away a case of top-shelf booze every single day of the year.  Now you can look at it in terms of “cost of doing business” or actual dollar cost.  In reality, what owners are losing is far, far greater – that is: Lost Revenue.  Lost Revenue will actually be 4 – 7 times greater than Actual Cost.  Yikes!

How do you prevent such catastrophic bleeding? Wait for it – quit hiring airhead bimbos (only).  There are drop-dead gorgeous bartenders out there who do have a clue what they’re doing.  The owners/managers doing the hiring are either (1) on an endless pursuit of some easy ass at all costs or (2) out to “promote” the business and “enhance” the bar’s draw by continually putting pretty and brainless nincompoops in the Front Of House.

In my recent pursuits, I’ve had a couple of interviews where I was required to complete a Pour Test.  What that means is that the management treats their business seriously and is into consistency amongst bartenders and follows a discipline of hard-core Loss Prevention. It may seem a bit insulting to a veteran bartender at first, but in effect, it’s a fantastic sign that you’re in the right place.

I was asked in those couple of joints to repeatedly (in my glass mixer, a.k.a, pint glass) pour various measures from a mock liquor bottle – amounts like 1 1/2 oz, 3 oz, 6oz, 3/4oz, etc.  I was ecstatic when asked because I’ve been doing this so long, and doing it the right way, that I excel at it like nobody’s business.  I can pour those amounts, plus or minus 3% or so, each and every time and I can do it blindfolded if need be.

Every one of my pours in each bar was measured against a graduated cylinder and each was spot on – the first time.  Needless to say, but I’ll state it regardless, I passed each test, every time on the first go-around with flying colors.

Do yourself a huge favor in this business and come correct with your pours.  If you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, practice at home with water.

By the way, the photo above is one I took at one of my previous engagements while demonstrating pouring techniques to a junior hire.  From left to right, you’ll note: 6oz, 3oz, and 1 1/2 oz.

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