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A bartender is just a pharmacist with a limited inventory.

Albert Einstein

The bartender might be just about everyone’s favorite person on a night out! Bartenders are able to keep people well supplied with tasty beverages – most likely those of an alcoholic variety – at any bar or pub they happen to visit, as long as they have enough money to pay for it and aren’t too drunk to be served!

More than just serving drinks, though, bartenders often offer a listening ear, a bit of information, or even some advice. Some people even consider a bartender to be their unofficial therapist! It’s time to celebrate those men and women who work behind the bar. It’s time for World Bartender Day!

History of World Bartender Day

Bartending is considered by some to be one of the oldest professions known to man. It is said to have appeared on the scene several thousand years ago in various geographical locations such as Ancient Rome, Greece and even Asia. At the time, these would have been the innkeepers and owners of alehouses who would make their own ales, brews and liquors, as well as wines, that they would serve to patrons. Because of ethical and legal issues, the profession wasn’t always held in high esteem.

Then, during the 15th century in Western Europe, those who created and served drinks at their establishments may have become more accepted in France, Germany, Ireland and England. Or, at the very least, they were likely making quite a bit of money compared to their peers!

It wasn’t until the 1800s that the perception of being a person who tends bar began to develop into something more of a craftsman. As certain types of alcohol developed over the years, mixed drinks became more popular and bartending became more about creating and mixing than just serving.

This was when American Jerry Thomas, sometimes considered to be the “father of mixology”, became popular for the special cocktails he created in his bars in New York City. In fact, Thomas literally wrote the first book on bartending, called The Bar-Tender’s Guide, alternatively referred to as How to Mix Drinks or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion which was published in 1862. Many of the principles set out in this book have continued to be the standard for those learning to tend bar, even today.

Since the 19th century, the profession of bartending has begun to gain more respect for the creativity, skill and attention to detail that is involved in creating, making and serving up drinks–often to no-so-pleasant customers! While the trade had a bit of a hiccup in the 1920s and early 1930s when the United States went through a period of prohibition, these tenacious characters were emboldened and came out stronger than ever on the other side.

In fact, it was after the end of the Prohibition Era, when Americans were allowed to buy and sell alcohol again, that the demand for bartending schools began. Previously, owners of establishments had tended their own bards or trained their employees to do it. But in the mid-1930s, bar and restaurant owners began needing bartenders to be pre-trained, so the schools were opened to meet the need.

Celebrating the creative genius and talents of those important people tending bars all across the globe, World Bartender Day was created in recent years. It seems to have started with a cocktail competition that happens in Australia and New Zealand, called The Perfect Blend. Since its creation, the day has only gotten more popular and the impact has grown like wildfire all over the world.

World Bartender Day Timeline

700-500 BC

Ancient Greek and Roman bartenders

Likely related to serving wine or brewing their own ales, many bartenders of this time were business owners of their own inns or ale houses.[1]

15th Century

Bartenders are elite in Western Europe

Considered a bit of an elite job, bartending makes some German, Irish, English and French people very wealthy.[2]

1832

Taverns are legalized in the United States

While it was originally necessary for a patron to be staying the night at an inn, The Pioneer Inn and Tavern Law is passed allowing service of alcohol even to those who are not renting a room.[3]

1862

First book on Bartending is published

Written by Jerry Thomas, the “Father of American Mixology”, this book is first known as How to Mix Drinks and is later called The Bar-Tender’s Guide. This book becomes the essential guide for American bartending over the next 100+ years.[4]

1933

Prohibition is repealed and Bartender schools open

After 13 years of “dry” America, the demand for alcohol and Bartenders was high. Bar owners didn’t have time to train their own staff so the first schools to train Bartenders opened in the United States.[5]

How to Celebrate World Bartender Day

This can be a great day to celebrate as it almost assures that a person can go to the bar! Join in on the fun by coming up with some clever ways to celebrate, or use some of the following ideas to get things started:

Show Appreciation to a Local Bartender

World Bartender Day is the day to appreciate the staff in your local bar. They work hard to keep their customers happy and often don’t get paid very well! Remember to always be friendly to the bartender, especially by being patient when it is necessary to wait to be served. Give the bartender a smile and say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ – the bartender will appreciate it and the group is more likely to get better service next time they buy a drink.

Leave a Great Tip

Most importantly, for those who are in a country where tipping is expected, it is vital to make sure they know what is expected to tip appropriately and generously to show how much their service is appreciated. As it turns out, at least in the United States and other tipping-related countries, approximately 55% of a bartender’s income comes through the kind tips of customers. Be generous and give something a little extra in honor of World Bartender Day.

Celebrate with The Blend

The Blend is a bartender engagement program meant to inspire and innovate those who are already bartenders or those who aspire to be. In honor of World Bartender Day, The Blend website hosts a variety of games, interviews, bartending secrets, video content and more. In fact, they tend to celebrate for a couple of weeks running up to the day, so there’s plenty of opportunity to get connected and involved!

Try a New Kind of Cocktail

Keep your bartender on his or her toes by ordering something that is unique and interesting. Of course, it’s best to try not to annoy them with weirdly specific requests, but they just might appreciate the opportunity to make something out of the ordinary. Or, just ask them to make whatever they want and make it a mysterious surprise!

Practice Bartending at Home

If going out doesn’t sound interesting, get behind that bar and start mixing up some drinks at home in celebration of World Bartender Day! The best way is to find recipes of drinks online that sound interesting or tasty.

Collect the different types of liquors, liqueurs, juices, salts, sugars, garnishes and other necessary items. Head to the liquor store to test out a new brand of vodka, rum, tequila or other mixables. Try to use the proper glass–or at least something comparable. And enjoy the beauty of being the bartender on World Bartender Day!

Offer to Buy a Drink for the Bartender

How often does the bartender get someone buying them a drink? It’s a kind offer in honor of World Bartender Day. But remember, some bartenders don’t drink on the job so they may have to wait until their shift is over to enjoy it.

Spread the Word About World Bartender Day

Grab a few friends or coworkers and head out to a bar for an after work drink. And don’t forget to share the day on social media so that other people know about World Bartender Day too. Get the word out so that everyone has the opportunity to thank and appreciate their bartender on this all important day!

Anyone want a drink?

World Bartender Day FAQs

What is World Bartender Day?

World Bartender Day was created to celebrate the craft of mixing and creating drinks. The day focuses on appreciating and honoring those around the world who develop, mix and serve drinks to thirsty customers.[1]

When is World Bartender Day?

World Bartender Day falls on February 24 each year and is celebrated all over the globe. Another related day is National Bartender Day (or sometimes known as Bartender Appreciation Day) is celebrated annually on December 3.

How to become a Bartender?

The best way to get a foot in the door as a Bartender is to attend bartending school, although it isn’t required. It’s also possible to learn how to pour drinks while working at a restaurant, then get a license/certification (where needed) and try to get some work experience.[2]

Are Bartenders licensed?

Most of the time, a license is not required to work as a Bartender. Some local laws may require Bartenders to get a permit or certification and this changes based on the city or state where the bar or restaurant is located.[3]

What is Bartender Appreciation Day?

Another way to think about World Bartender Day is to think of it as a day to show appreciation and affection for the local bartender! Be sure to thank them, give them a big tip, or just be more patient when waiting for a drink.[4]

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