Yes, I can bartend! I'm a bartender! I tend bar!
August 21, 2009 1:44 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a good, downloadable, Bartenders/Mixed Drinks/Cocktail cheat sheet. Preferably free.

I've been googling for an hour with no luck... See, I've got a bartending gig tomorrow and I'm waaay rusty, my bartending experience is minimal, my resume' padded, and I'm now sober. I'm kind of stressed about it, and normally would turn the gig down, but I need the $. Here's what I need: a free (hopefully), downloadable, bartenders cheat sheet, 1 or 2 pages, listing the top 50-60 popular drinks (the main problem here is "too many and it's useless"), including a few classics (i make a good martini, but i always forget whats in a manhattan). Everything i find on google is like "3000 recipes on one page!!1! Looking for free BARTENDER CH33t Sh33t? BUY NOW!, weight watchers cocktail points, art projects and the like...TMI
Does anybody know where my golden PDF is at?
posted by sexyrobot to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
There are several cocktails apps for the iPhone, if that's helpful.
posted by lakeroon at 1:58 PM on August 21, 2009

A little longer than what you were looking for, but a good mix. You could print multiple pages per sheet.
posted by mrsshotglass at 2:10 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't have a PDF handy, but you could make one easily. The International Bartenders Association has recipes for the 65 IBA Official Cocktails online (Wikipedia link), and I imagine you could go through them and compile them into a spreadsheet or similar format.

A lot of these drinks are very similar to each other (there are four variants of the martini, all listed separately, for example), so it should be fairly easy to remember most of the principal drinks and to use the list as an aide-mémoire if you get stuck. If someone asks for something not on the list, just confess that you don't know how to make it and ask if they could explain it in terms of another drink (e.g., Harvey Wallbanger =~ Screwdriver + Galliano).
posted by tellumo at 2:19 PM on August 21, 2009

Many liquor stores, and most book stores sell the Mr. Boston Official Bartender and Party Guide (some enlightened liquor stores even give the dang thing away, with any Mr. Boston purchase). Even if you have to pay for it, your time in hunting down other sources has to be worth something, and for $2 - $10, you can't beat Mr. Boston.
posted by paulsc at 3:09 PM on August 21, 2009

Via this "Ask me about bartending" thread, here are (in this guy's opinion) the drinks you can reasonably expect people to order:

Call Drinks (Vodka Soda, Rum and Coke, whatever)
Lemon Drop
Tequila Sunrise
Tom Collins
Sea Breeze
Bay Breeze
Cape Cod
Martini (and all common variations)
White Russian
Irish Coffee

(I'd add Long Island Iced Tea to that list, btw. Fell free to add to the list as you see fit- ie, if there's a drink that's popular in your area.)

Anyone who orders something more complex than these drinks will know what goes in it and tell you how to make it. In fact they will probably prefer to tell you, rather than risk you not "doing it right." But 95% of people will order one of the above drinks. In fact, 70% of people will probably just order a gin and tonic, rum and coke or vodka soda. Or a beer.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:26 PM on August 21, 2009

In the spirit of Ratio and from The Cocktail Renaissance comes this:

"Making these well is just something to master: like the sound of Bessie Smith's voice, how to carve a turkey, and the order of the Triple Crown races.

What's more, even these obey the simplest of principles:

One of Sour, Two of Sweet, Three of Strong, Four of Weak. This is a baseline ratio for all cocktails.

The weak is, of course, water--most particularly ice. You shake or stir not just to chill your drink, but to improve its balance with a bit of melted ice.

Strong is the liquor--in most cocktails at least two ounces of this good stuff, though varied to taste. I base all my cocktails on two ounces of the main spirit, as it keeps me from making mistakes as the accessories go in, but you can do just as well at 1.5 or 2.5.

Sweet is sugar, most often diluted in water as simple syrup. (Easily made at home by warming an equal amount of sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved, then storing in the fridge.)

Sour is just about anything from citrus juice and aromatic bitters like Angostura to vermouth and the complex bitter liqueurs of Italy.

Follow these principles, and you'll likely prepare a decent drink from the ingredients to hand. Just as you can sub parsley for any herb in cooking, you can substitute in cocktail making. Make a Martini with bitters instead of vermouth--it's called a Pink Gin. Make a Daiquiri with grapefruit instead of lime--sometimes called a Hemingway, though that name conjures as many cocktails as there are bars in the world. Make a Manhattan with brandy instead of rye--oft called a Charles Cocktail. Put a single splash of Angostura in a Daiquiri and then try one with orange bitters. It's all to the good. You're rolling your own."

Okay... maybe not so helpful but maybe interesting.
posted by bz at 4:46 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

thanks...these are all good...i'm probably going to type up my own cheat sheet from this stuff...i just want to make sure i know all the "current super-hip drinks that every bartender should know."
the most recent ones i know of are:
vodka and red bull (a no-brainer)
apple martini there anything else "new" that people are drinking?
posted by sexyrobot at 6:55 PM on August 21, 2009

I wouldn't even worry about mojitos- not sure where this gig is, but most places don't stock the fresh mint.

A bartender friend of mine is very into Old Fashioneds right now. Caipirinhas are big in some places (you can use light rum instead of the traditional liquor), but I'm not sure anyone would order it- but you could suggest it to people I guess. And maybe some type of chocolate martini?
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:18 PM on August 21, 2009

St. Germain, which is really delicious elderflower liquer, is getting pretty popular where I live, in NYC. I really like the drinks poured at Employees Only and the Double Crown. Generally speaking the latest drinks craze, at least in the bigger cities, is vintage, turn-of-the-century classic cocktails, or new cocktails made with old liquers.
posted by jacquilinala at 8:33 PM on August 21, 2009

I've heard people ordering recently:
fuzzy navels
buttery nipples
oatmeal cookie shot
sweet tea vodka and lemonade

The only reason I remember them after hearing them is because they stand out from the 99% of people who order beer, wine, or spirit and fountain drink mixes.

One of the best resources if you have about 2 hours is a chain bookstore. Just go and ask where the Bartender's Black Book is and grab some of the other drink books around it, sit at a table with a note book and copy them down. You don't even need to buy the book!
posted by WeekendJen at 12:55 PM on February 19, 2010

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