Chris Tunstall, (seasoned Mixologist, Bartender, and drink creator) and his wife Julia (experienced cocktail consumer) pair up in this podcast to help you understand the tips, tricks & techniques needed to create great drinks. This podcast is for experienced professionals and folks new to the cocktail scene, and will teach you all about cocktails. From the ingredients in the drinks to the bottles behind the bar and interviews with industry professionals, this podcast will help you make great drinks! We're all about mixology, cocktail creation, craft cocktails, liquor, spirits, alcohols, beverage programs, restaurants and bars, bartending, and the business of the bar. Learn how to make a fantastic drink and have some fun along the way!
|1||CleanGrowing a Business while Bartending: A Chat with Jennifer Colliau of Small Hand Foods||You may have heard of Small Hand Foods. But did you know its founder, Jennifer Colliau, started the business while working full time as a bartender?||2/28/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
|2||CleanGum Syrup: The story of This Old-School Cocktail Ingredient||You may have seen “Gomme syrup” listed as an ingredient in some very old cocktail recipes. What is it, and why was it used in cocktails?||2/14/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
|3||CleanCocktail & Bar Trends 2018: What’s new and Noteworthy Now||What’s new and happening in cocktail bars in 2018? Here’s what we’re hearing and seeing today.||1/31/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
|4||CleanHow to Effectively Work With a Bar Consultant||Surprise! Your boss hired a consultant. How do avoid frustration and make the most of this opportunity?||1/17/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
|5||Clean116 - How to Become a Better Bartender in 2018||http://www.mixologytalk.com/116 It’s the new year and things are (finally) slowing down. Here’s how you can use your downtime to grow your skills and career!||1/4/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
|6||Clean115-Bartender to Consultant: An Interview with Matthew Seigel||http://www.mixologytalk.com/115 Listen in to hear Matthew Seigel’s crazy story - from Music producer to bar consultant.||12/20/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|7||CleanHow to Quit: Making your Exit without Burning Bridges||Time to leave? It happens! Here are some tips for giving notice and moving on without making enemies along the way.||12/6/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|8||CleanA Chat with the Beertender: Chris Cohen, Advanced Cicerone||This guy knows his beer. Join us this week as we’re chatting about choosing beer and getting certified as a Cicerone!||11/22/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|9||CleanBartending before 21, Single-Ingredient Cocktails, and Chilled Mixers: It’s another Listener Questions Episode!||What are your options for learning to bartend before it’s legal? How do you make vanilla bitters? And should you chill your carbonated or uncarbonated mixers? Listen in for all of the above!||11/8/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|10||CleanGetting Great Online Reviews with Matt Hayman||Online review sites can be such a thorn in your side. This week Matt Hayman from ReviewMiner is here to give us some tips for getting great reviews (and avoiding the bad ones!)||10/25/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|11||CleanHow to Ask for a Promotion||Looking for the next career move? Here’s how to prepare and how to ask!||10/11/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|12||CleanThe Fernet Branca Story, with Erik Ginther||What’s the big deal about Fernet Branca among bartenders?||9/27/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|13||CleanVideoAvoiding Drama Behind the Bar||It’s human nature, and it’s everywhere behind the bar. But how can you stop drama from taking over and making your bar a bad place to work?||9/13/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|14||CleanVideo“Rewards are on the other side of fear” - An Interview with Thor Berquist||For Thor, it’s all about finding your passion and doing the work to make it happen - no matter what everyone else says.||9/2/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|15||CleanHow to Train a Waiter to Bartend||Cross-training can be great for everyone - this week we’re talking about cross-training a waiter to become a bartender - and doing it well!||8/16/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|16||CleanNext Level Hospitality with Enrique Sanchez||This week we’re chatting with Enrique Sanchez and learning Tips and tricks for taking hospitality to a whole new level||8/2/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|17||CleanListener Questions: Flavored Vodka, Selling your Cocktail Recipes and Pricing Consulting||Forgiving flavored vodka, getting paid for your cocktail recipes, and pricing cocktail consulting - it’s another listener questions episode!||7/19/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|18||Clean103 - Bartender to Entrepreneur - Interview with founder of Cocktail and sons||http://www.mixologytalk.com/103 This week on the podcast, hear Max Messier’s story of reinvention, fortitude, and turning his scrappy notebook into a thriving business.||7/5/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|19||Clean102 - Episode #102: How/why we started A Bar Above||mixologytalk.com/102 A listener recently asked us about how A Bar Above started - and we realized we’ve never actually told the story on this podcast! So here it is - the story of where it all began||6/21/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|20||Clean101 - From Dishwasher to Bar Sustainability Consultant: An Interview with John Pomeroy Jr.||http://www.mixologytalk.com/101 Listen in as we talk about his journey and learn a few things we can do in our bars to be a little “greener”||6/7/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|21||Clean100 - Big News for A Bar Above!||http://www.mixologytalk.com/100 Listen in for an update on a new “baby business” as well as what to expect in future podcast episodes.||5/24/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|22||Clean99 - Skills You’ll Need Before Your First Bartending Job||http://www.mixologytalk.com/99 So you’ve decided to give bartending a try, and you’d like to do your homework. How can you study up before stepping behind the bar?||5/10/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|23||Clean98 - A Chat with Nick Fisher from Cocktail Chemistry||http://www.mixologytalk.com/98 Want to learn to smoke cocktails or make your own cocktail videos? Listen in!||4/26/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|24||Clean97 - Buying Strategies to get Better Deals for your Bar||http://www.mixologytalk.com/97 This week we’re going over some more advanced tips for buying for your bar while getting good deals and building strong brand partnerships.||4/12/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|25||Clean96 - The Inside Story: What it’s like to compete in a National Cocktail Competition with Kala Ellis||http://www.mixologytalk.com/96 Go behind the scenes of the competition, hear about how Kala prepared, how the competition went, and her advice for bartenders entering their own competitions||3/29/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|26||Clean95 - All about Craft Beer with Joe Pfeifer and Andrew Perroy from Hopsy||http://www.mixologytalk.com/95 We’re learning all about craft beer - how to find them, how to choose them, and how to help your guests pick something they’ll like.||3/15/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|27||Clean94 - Pony Glasses, Cocktail Competitions, Experimentation and Melon Liqueur - Listener Questions||http://www.mixologytalk.com/94 Another listener question this week! Glassware, competitions, experimentation and keeping your melon liqueur tasty through the winter.||3/1/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|28||Clean93 - Want to move to the US? Immigration tips and tricks for non-US Bartenders, with Mark Deal||http://www.mixologytalk.com/93 Ever considered taking your bartending skill and moving to the US? In today’s episode I’m chatting with an immigration expert to discuss your options.||2/15/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|29||Clean92 - A Craft Entrepreneur Story: An Interview with Jordan Silbert of Q Drinks||http://www.mixologytalk.com/92 Ever thought about selling your homemade mixers? Jordan did, and founded Q Drinks! Hear his story and advice this week on the podcast.||2/1/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|30||Clean91-Relationships Outside the Industry: How to Make it Work||http://www.mixologytalk.com/91 Are you in a relationship with someone in a 9-5 job? It’s a tricky balance, but it can be done - here are some tips!||1/18/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|31||Clean90-Staff Retention: Keeping the Good Ones Around||http://www.mixologytalk.com/90 So you’ve got great people working for you. How do you keep them around?||1/2/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|32||Clean89-Making it Right: What to do when Things go Wrong||http://www.mixologytalk.com/89 Eventually, something is going to go wrong behind the bar. Here’s how to recover.||12/21/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
|33||Clean88-Interview with Erick Castro: The man behind the Bartender at Large Documentary||http://www.mixologytalk.com/88 Erick Castro joins us in this episode to talk about his documentary, Bartender At Large||12/7/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
|34||Clean87-Decompressing After a Shift: The Healthy way||http://www.mixologytalk.com/87 It’s 3am and you just locked up the bar. How do you decompress without spending all your tips and harming your health?||11/23/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
|35||Clean86-Dinner Parties, Smoked Cocktails and Frustrating Bartenders - it’s another Listener Questions Episode!||https://www.abarabove.com/podcast/listener-questions/ Preparing for a dinner party, smoked cocktails and struggling with bad service.||11/9/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
|36||Clean85- Attracting Great Staff: How to find good people in a tight labor market||http://www.mixologytalk.com/85 In many markets, the demand for great staff far exceeds supply. How can you compete in a tight market?||10/26/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
|37||Clean84 - Avoiding & Treating Bartender Injuries: An Interview with Physical Therapist Dr. Karena Wu||http://www.mixologytalk.com/84 We’ve talked about the occupational hazards of bartending before - but today we’re talking with an expert!|
Here's the short version:
Crazy things happened. New flair bartending website is up and running. Tons of new videos, much better quality. Subscribe to the Flair Bartending TV YouTube channel, friend FBTV on Facebook, tweet it up on the ol' Twitter-ma-jig.
The internet is littered with blogs that have been abandoned over the years, with authors who make excuses as to why they've been too busy. You'll never believe my story for the last two years. And normally I'd tell you not to believe everything a bartender tells you but I swear every word is true. It's been a bizarre two years.
Here's the long version:
Get comfortable. It’s a long one.
It’s been so long since my last post that I’ve actually had a few readers email me to ask if I was okay. One YouTube viewer said he held a mock funeral for me (thank you, btw.) Where did I go? What the heck have I been doing? Did I forget about you, my wonderful readers and video-watchers? Not a chance. But I completely let you down. Let me explain the two inconceivable things that have happened since August of 2010.
First of all, something kind of shocking started happening in early 2010: people started watching my videos. I know that tends to be the whole point of writing a blog and people should be so lucky to have someone actually read what they write and watch what they upload. But it kinda freaked me out. For a guy who started blogging in 2007 simply as a way to pass the time while I waited for a friend to finish coding a project we took two years to never finish (BarSpecials.com – the domain is still up for sale!) – I didn’t expect anyone other than a couple friends to see my site. Hell, that’s why I put up filthy bar jokes, so I could entertain my friends. Then one day I was teaching a small flair bartending class in the basement of my bar and as I was handing out the syllabus it occurred to me that these students, smart though they were, might not remember exactly what a “Shadow Pass” is, or the “Push Down Pop Up.” So later that week I stood in the spare room of that god-awful apartment I lived in with that god-awful roommate at the time, flipped open my laptop, and hit record on the built-in camera. I figured if my students had questions throughout the week while they were practicing on their own, they deserved to be able to watch a video of me reviewing the flair move. They were paying me $20 for each two-hour lesson. I figured I owed it to them.
About two weeks after posting my first flair video on YouTube I got a comment from someone in Sweden saying “thanks for the video.” I kept on uploading videos for my students and started getting comments from people in the Philippines in really wonderful broken English saying “Flair you Good! Teach well! Thanks much! I learn!” (Trust me, their English was still light-years better than my Filipino.) I thought it was pretty cool to be able to teach something to someone I’d probably never meet in another country on the other side of the planet, so I kept adding the videos even after my flair class in the basement had concluded. Eventually my first YouTube video hit 1000 views! One day I saw I had 100 subscribers. Later, I decided to use a digital camera so the videos would have a little better video quality (have you seen those first few videos – they’re terrible!).
Realizing I had people from all corners of the world watching my videos, I started to get really picky about their quality. Like, weirdly picky. I wanted the audio/video quality to be top notch so I invested in an HD camera and a wireless microphone - only to discover the wireless mic didn’t plug in to my camera. Seriously. So I bought another camera. I spent 8 hours filming new tutorials at the bar on my day off – only to discover that the batteries in my microphone were dead, so all my footage turned out to be a silent movie. That actually happened twice, believe it or not. And I still didn’t give up hope, though I really wanted to make quality flair bartending tutorials available online. I “let perfect be the enemy of good enough” as a friend of mine once put it. I really wanted my tutorials to be just as good as any DVD you would spend money on, even if they were free on YouTube. This circus sideshow of a production went on through much of spring and summer 2010.
Finally, one day in August 2010, I filmed a few hours of content just days before a planned vacation to visit some friends in Panama for a couple weeks. I really thought I’d spend part of my vacation editing those videos and putting up some awesome new content on my website. And I truly think I would have if something else had not happened…
Part Two: Here’s where it gets weird.
Before I left for my Panama vacation, I happened to be at the bar while there was a Stella Artois promotion going on. It had to do with the Stella Artois 9 Step Pouring Ritual, which I had never heard of and just assumed to be part of the wild world of beer marketing. I managed to take 1st place in that competition, which won me a place in the regional competition a few weeks later.
I’m not a competitive person, generally, but I discovered that the winner of this regional competition would win a trip to New York City. I’ve got a few friends in New York I hadn’t seen in a while so I buckled down and decided to do my homework: I wanted to win this competition, I wanted to see my old friends, I wanted the trip to New York.
As fate would have it, I not only won the trip to New York, but I won the New York competition, which earned me a trip to the US finals in Boston. It seemed a little surreal to me but I was now a competitor in the US Stella Artois Draught Master Competition. It was close, but when the dust settled I won the competition, the title of Stella Artois US Draught Master, and a trip for two to London to compete in the 2010 Stella Artois World Draught Master competition. The chance to compete against 30 other countries in a beer pouring competition, to represent my country – like the Olympics – was all a bit surreal. Seriously surreal.
The kind folks from Stella Artois sent my friend Jesse and I to Belgium for a week before heading onto London for the competition. Making him my +1 was the least I could do to thank him for letting me crash at his pad in Panama for 2 months (if you travel at all, check out his Hotel Comparison site.) My first time across the pond was an absolute blast discovering Belgium, Belgium beer culture, delicious food, and friendly people.
It was also a huge realization to discover that the Stella Artois 9 Step Pouring Ritual wasn’t just a gimmick like I had originally suspected. Turns out, it’s simply how they pour beer in Belgium. The Belgians have a special reverence for beer – it has a central role in Belgian culture – and they have a method for serving it that was new to me. Was totally worthwhile to see that the 9 Step Pouring Ritual was Stella Artois’s way of codifying a Belgian tradition.
Then came four days in London for the competition. The 2010 Stella Artois World Draught Master Competition brought 30 competitors from 30 countries together, to meet, to celebrate, and to compete for the world title. Meeting bartenders from Chile, China, Australia, Ukraine and everywhere in between was an experience I never would’ve imagined being a part of, truly. This was a big deal, so big two of my brothers flew over to London to cheer me on. It must have helped because as fate would have it, on October 26, 2010, I beat all the other countries and won the title of the Stella Artois World Draught Master.
Needless to say, the following year was a bit of a whirlwind. I didn’t forget about this website and all the improvements I wanted to make, I just didn’t want to step on any toes at Stella Artois. They had selected me to be the Stella Artois World Draught Master and I dedicated myself fully to it. I put ChrisTheBartender.com on the backburner, knowing that I would improve it when the time was right.
In the meantime, I got to travel the world, teaching people about Stella Artois and coaching bartenders in the 9 Step Pouring Ritual. In 3 months time, I visited 12 countries across 5 continents, from Australia to Argentina, from China to Canada, Ukraine to New Zealand. It. Was. Insane. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Ultimately, my year wrapped up at the 2011 Stella Artois World Draught Master competition in Buenos Aires where I passed on my title to the next winner. You can read my journal during from world tour, but I’ll post my favorite entry – the last one:
TODAY IS THE DAY
"The day I pass the crown onto the next Stella Artois World Draught Master. It was 364 days ago in London that I had the most incredible surprise of my life, competing against 30 other countries and winning the title of Stella Artois World Draught Master. If someone would have told me 365 days ago, the surreal experiences that I would have, I would never have believed it in a million years. In the last year I’ve climbed the Great Wall of China and the Eiffel Tower, shared Stella Artois with Ambassadors and Mayors, seen Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, explored islands in New Zealand and 1000 year-old monasteries in Ukraine, seen the home of the world’s best brewery in Leuven, Belgium, danced the Tango in Argentina, and lived like a King. It has been, in a word, spectacular. Wow. Simply, wow.
Today, as bittersweet as it might be, it is with the utmost pleasure and excitement that I wish all of the contestants of the 15th Annual Stella Artois World Draught Master Competition the best of luck, and I look forward to crowning my successor, whomever he or she may be. I recall fondly the excitement of last year’s competition in London and the incredible joy of standing on the podium, the winning trophy held high above my head. I look forward immensely to seeing the same excitement and emotion in this year’s winner. May you have the most exceptional year and continue the proud tradition of Stella Artois Draught Masters. Stella Artois: she has been, and will continue to be, a thing of beauty. Take good care of her."
However, fate didn’t end there. After my whirlwind year I went back to bartending but not for long. I was offered a job with the F&B Partnership as a beer consultant, which I happily accepted. That once-in-a-lifetime experience has been extended via F&B; now I get to travel North America and Europe, teaching people about beer and focusing on beer and food pairings.
The best part about my job – other than getting to travel around teaching people about beer (!) – is that it leaves me time to dedicate to teaching flair bartending. So, finally, in the summer of 2012 I got back to filming new flair bartending tutorials – this time in a studio with proper sound, lighting, editing, the whole bit. Rather than add to ChrisTheBartender.com, I spent some time building a new website and launched FlairBartending.TV in December 2012. If you’re looking for flair bartending lessons, I’ve got over 50 new videos up on FBTV’s YouTube channel, with new ones added every week. We’re just about to move into exhibition flair and get a little crazy. Be sure to subscribe!
So that’s what I’ve been doing. If you made it this far, I’d love to hear from you. Tell me what you think, what you’ve been doing, how your flair is going, and anything you want to share. I promise to respond to any and every email I get. I’m turning over a new leaf. We are going to flip some bottles.