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Being a bartender | Tyler Tries It

FOX43's Tyler Hatfield went to Bar 1888 in Lancaster to learn what it takes to be a master of cocktails.

LANCASTER, Pa. — Anyone can whip up a cocktail. But making it great... gets a little tricky.

In order to make the best drinks, people should usually leave it up to the experts.

FOX43's Tyler Hatfield decided to meet and learn from one of them at Bar 1888 at Southern Market in Lancaster. Jen Splain, a bartender at Bar 1888, was ready to teach Tyler to be a “master of cocktails.”

She said that many bartenders are tasked with memorizing dozens of drink recipes. For those learning the craft for the first time, it can get confusing.

Splain broke it down and said that all cocktails basically boil down to six drinks. 

So, we started with a basic and classic old fashioned.

Splain said making a drink like this helps new bartenders learn how to use simple ingredients to build a cocktail around a specific spirit.

“For an old fashioned, it’s the whiskey," said Splain. "You're taking that whiskey, and you don’t want to dull the flavors; you want to enhance them, fortify them.”

After learning the basics, Splain had Tyler take it up a notch and make some of the more advanced cocktails on the menu. When making more elaborate drinks, Splain said it's a person's eyes that will taste first.

“You're making sure that you’re making something that is presentable,” said Splain. “They're going to see something and they're going to formulate an experience, and from that first sip is going to be whatever they want it to be."

Splain said being a bartender is not just about making drinks for customers. She emphasized it's about creating and giving people an experience.

“People like watching you make the drink," said Splain. "That is essentially their first sip.”

Splain said that relationships with customers makes bartending a special and intimate experience for her too.

“We are the first place people go to before they go out for the night," said Splain. "We get to hear these really beautiful conversations and I get to see a part of the world that not a lot of people get to see.”

Many restaurants and bars are looking for more bartenders. To learn the art of mixology, Capital Bartending School in Harrisburg can get you prepared to work behind the bar.

Download the FOX43 app here.

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