The Art Behind The Gentlemen’s Drink
This month, we’ve taken a step behind the bar to learn about the intricacies involved in the profession of bartending.
If you think it is simply about measuring a couple of ingredients into a shaker and pouring it out into a glass, you are sorely mistaken. We spoke to Jacques professional bartender and owner of Gqeberha’s very own speakeasy, Nineteen33, as well as, his top bartender, Jordan.
It takes a lot to craft the perfect pairing. In fact, these two gentlemen have taught us that the profession extends well beyond mixing a drink, it’s about creating the right atmosphere.
Here’s what they had to say about that:
1. What inspired you to become a bartender, and how did you get started in this industry?
Having spent more than 15 years in corporate I decided to follow my passion. I always loved spirits and the different tastes and experiences of cocktails. Having visited the US back in 2016 I had the opportunity to visit many Speakeasy Bars across Los Angeles and San Diego and fell in love with the concept – Jacques.
It started off just as a way to make money as a student, but as I’ve been working, I have fallen in love with the art of it – Jordan.
2. Tell us more about Nineteen33 and the inspiration behind this speakeasy.
As mentioned, spending time in the US, the country in which Speakeasies were born due to the Prohibition that lasted from 1920 to 1933, I decided to bring this foreign concept to my hometown. The fact that there is no other establishment of its kind in Port Elizabeth was a major driving factor. Having the freedom to create a unique, upmarket establishment that portrays quality, service and an experience to match was top of mind in creating Nineteen33 – Jacques.
3. What do you think are the most important qualities for a bartender to possess?
Social skills for sure. Being able to stay composed in a rush of drink orders and to always appear friendly and nice even if the customer is being rude. It definitely takes some practice – Jordan.
4. Can you describe the fashion style or vibe of the bar you work in, and how do you incorporate that into your own fashion choices?
As an exclusive upmarket establishment, our uniforms are typical of the era. Smart, waistcoats, ties and peaky caps, add to the experience that transports you back to a time that once was – Jacques.
The best way to describe it is to think of the peaky blinders. Bartenders dressed in ties, waistcoats, and paddy caps. Barrel tables with gas lanterns. It sets the tone of the 1920s. It has caused me to add a splash of old-school items into my closet – Jordan.
5. How do you think fashion and style impact the atmosphere and mood of a bar, and how do you contribute to creating that atmosphere as a bartender?
If you are going to be the part, you need to dress the part. As the Speakeasy is set in the Prohibition era it is important to create that brand extension into everything we do. Nineteen33 is an experiential bar and not just merely your walk-in neighbourhood pub. It is about the destination, and by having bartenders, doormen, and waiters dress according to the theme, it sets the tone from initial entry, where you need to give a password for the door to the red flight of stairs to enter an environment of perceived opulence, class, and richness – Jacques.
6. How do you use your personal fashion style to express your personality and create a unique brand for yourself as a bartender?
It all comes down to the finer details, especially since the major articles of clothing we wear make up our uniform. It's nice to add something with the choice of jewellery like rings and changing up the shoes or how I shave. It can really add a layer of uniqueness to my style – Jordan.
7. Tell us about some interesting bartending techniques (mixing drinks and combining flavours etc).
Making the perfect cocktail is all about balance. Having the knowledge of spirits and which flavour combinations go well with each other whether they are shaken or stirred is paramount to the perfect serve. The right amount of sweetness, acidity and flavour makes for a great cocktail. Cocktails need to be prepared with flair, it's in the way you pour, in the way you shake and to top it off the way it is presented. It's About the Experience – Jacques.
There is a term for bartenders flipping bottles and doing crazy tricks. It's called flair bartending and there are huge competitions dedicated to it – Jordan.
8. Tell us, in your opinion, what kind of cocktail do you see the G.H.BASS Lady and Gentleman drinking?
A distinguished drink for a distinguished individual. I would recommend Nineteen33's signature cocktail. The Old Fashioned. Prepared in a smoked American oak glass, Bourbon, Simple Syrup, and Bitters and garnished with an orange rind. Presented in a timeless highball crystal glass, on a black napkin with flair and precision – Jacques.
9. How are you liking your pair of G.H.BASS Footwear?
Premium Quality, well-designed and well-presented. Just like a Nineteen33 cocktail – Jacques.
I am loving them! They are awesome – Jordan.
So, for those seeking a classy evening where they may be transported back in time to another era, look no further than Nineteen33.
Step into this exquisite establishment, adorned in your favourite pair of G.H.BASS Footwear, and indulge in the art of cocktail craftsmanship. Immerse yourself in a world of sophistication and flavour, where every sip is a refined experience. Nineteen33 awaits, ready to create unforgettable memories in style, and you can find out more by following their social pages: nineteen33_za, Nineteen33