But I did get behind a real bar last night to mix a few Dirty Shirleys for customers who had no idea it was my first time with a shot glass.
Seriously, it's amazing how people take for granted you're a professional if you look the part and fake it. I was wearing black and happened to be on the serving side of the bar.
The highlight, after using the cheat sheet and crossing my fingers behind my back half the time, hoping no one would send a drink back, was when I got to make up a new one. It's nothing fancy, but I'm a writer, not a bartender, so it was all about the name: the Screwycolada. Yes! Instead of a plain old screwdriver you mix equal parts orange and pineapple juice. I would have put some coconut in if we'd had it, but alas. We also didn't have milk, so I didn't get to make any White Russians; another favourite, and the only other cocktail I knew how to make.
(Side note: it turns out people enjoy a cocktail no matter how you make it at 11:47 p.m. on New Year's Eve as long as it's got a shot or two of liquor in it. This is doubly true if they're already smashed.)
Anyway, I did learn a few tidbits of pouring, bottle opening, and general alcohol wisdom. What the hell is a Lotus? A Greyhound? How much wine do you pour into the glass to serve? Not as much as I wanted to, let me tell you. Holy Christmas it's not cheap to get a few drinks in your system, especially on the official alcohol night of the year. That being said, we were offering $5 bottles of beer, which happened to include my favourite, the Stanley Park lager. And for my service for the night, I got a nice Orchid (some kind of vodka, ginger thing) and a Stanley Park (oh, and a few sips of bourbon from the bar manager's personal flask).
Bartending is as much fun as I'd expected it to be. People you serve are happy (unless they're very sad) and sometimes they flirt with you because it's expected that bartenders should be hit on. Also, you get tips.
To be able to serve (or work within 100 metres of any alcoholic beverage) in B.C. you need to get the Serving It Right certificate. While it sort of seems like a good idea, I think it's mostly just a government cash grab. You have to pay $35 to do the course online. It's a multiple-choice quiz, 30 questions, and because you do it at home on your own, you can totally cheat by just opening up a new browser window and finding the answers on the website as you go. But sssshh, don't tell anyone. I still managed to get three answers wrong, thereby just squeaking in with the necessary percentage to pass. So now I have the confirmation code that verifies I've got the certificate (which, strangely, never expires) and I'm good to go as a bartender or sales person at a liquor store.
So I'm hoping to get some more bartending experience at Wild Rice, maybe weekly, and then once I'm as good as Tom Cruise in Cocktail ("When he pours, he reigns.") I'll be able to get pay-eeeed. Booyah.
For now, though, a coupla free drinks, maybe some yam and rosemary potstickers and a bowl of hot and sour soup is A-okay in exchange for the mad skillz I'm picking up.