Bartending: Where it All Started

Alcoholic beverages, otherwise known as liquor, have somewhat made its name for itself since the day it was introduced to people. When the topic of a conversation is liquor, people cannot help but think of bartending. This is not as surprising as it seems as bartending is a way of entertaining.


  1. When and Where Bartending Started

    The latest findings of most researchers this decade unraveled the most interesting fact as regards the history of bartending – which started way back in the ancient times, before anyone sought out to become a bartender, per se. Everyone knows that alcoholic beverages already existed during that time but the existence of bartending is somehow baffling. Historical documents show that the professions can be found at public places, most notably those that are situated in the main navigational roads. Even the oldest of inns have shown that they too have bartenders attending to their customer’s needs.

    In most countries in Europe, said public places are made as meeting places for business, travelers and even lovers. Here, they chat, talk about business or even just hang out. Surprisingly, some data points out that even prior to the ancient Greeks’ time, a few places has provided pubs, inns or bars where people can freshen up, entertain themselves and drink. Almost all of these places have bartenders. That’s why it would be safe to say that since time immemorial, the trade of bartending has been in practice.

    In the early years of the 15th century, it was known that most bar, pub or inn owners were the ones who bartended. Some of these owners would even have their own wine cellars to create their own liquor, thus saving money on expenses. In addition to that, it was shown that these so-called owners/bartenders were not mere citizens of the community. They are members of the higher class of society and this could only mean that their economic and social statuses are not merely average. Some people would even call them as members of the wealthiest group in the community.

    As you can see today, a lot of people visit these pubs, bars or inns, whether at day or at night, to enjoy. Others make it a place where they can discuss and transact business while others make it a place of recreation and entertainment. Most probably, people in the olden days used to by-stand in such places during a trip or a night out but today, people have expanded the nature of their meets there.

    How is Bartending Done?

    Many people think that the nature of the profession is just like a waiter or a food server – serving drinks. No, it’s more than that. Bartenders undergo rigorous trainings – even in the old days – to know how to perfectly mix drinks and satisfy customers. The profession also entails customer handling, bar management and sometimes even handing out advices just like what psychiatrists do. People drink for various reasons; they drink to have a good time, they drink to relieve stress, they drink because they are drunkards and lastly, they do it because they have problems. If the customer is the latter, the only person who would hear his emotional outburst would be the bartender. Here, the bartender in turn hands out some suggestions to fix the problem. Wouldn’t that be tantamount to being a freelance psychiatrist? Only you have the answer to that question.

    Who is the Father of it All?

    Again, there is no exact person who can be pointed out as the father of bartending. However, to have an idea about who those personalities were it is but logical to discuss one person – Jeremiah “Jerry” Thomas. Jerry is an American bartender who was born in the Sackets Harbor of New York sometime in 1830. He was regarded as the father of Mixology in America. This is quite a feat because judging by the circumstances surrounding his lifetime, there was not much to learn about bartending. Nonetheless, he got his bartending skills in New Haven, Connecticut and after learning such skills, he wanted to hone them so he decided to migrate to California. Aside from being a bartender, he also worked as a show manager and a gold prospector.

    Time came when Jerry wanted more under his belt so he travelled to Europe. There he got to show off his fancy bartending skills bringing with him mixers, juggling bottles, and cups among others. He toured across the European continent in search of fresh alcoholic combinations so that he can use it when he gets home. He did not stay long in Europe and travelled back to the US.

    When he got back, he worked in a hotel somewhere in San Francisco. There he got to enjoy a weekly salary of $100. Take note, that money is quite huge back in the day. His salary during that time was even higher the Vice President of the US’s salary. It could only mean that Jerry had it in him to make it into the big stage.

    Modern Bartending

    Nowadays, in most parts of Europe and South America, you can still see the traditional way of bartending. In contrast, in North America, there is this so-called flair bartending where the bartender flips bottles and juggles them while he is mixing the drinks. This is what kept bartending alive in the modern age. It also serves as entertainment for people who dine and spend time in bars and pubs.

    Bartending today has expanded as numerous house parties are now attended by skillful bartenders. Of course, the hygiene and etiquette of the profession inside and outside a bar is the same. Meaning, although he is working outside the workplace, he should still act as if he’s in a normal bar attending to the needs of customers. Hopefully, this brief history of bartending has shown you some light as regards the profession.