Vincentian bartenders told “Know your product as a bartender”

| August 30, 2014
CaribDirect writer Robertson Henry

Robertson S. Henry. Sports and Cultural Contributor

Caribbean news. A two-day training seminar Wednesday and Thursday August 06 and 07 2014 respectively, was held for Vincentian bartenders at the Paradise Beach Hotel, through a partnership arrangement between LOG Enterprises of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Angostura of Trinidad and Tobago.

Daniyel Jones is currently the House of Angostura Global Brand Ambassador was the resource person at the seminar, attended by about fifteen practicing bartenders from St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Jones is an eight-year veteran in the bartending business, the 2013 GCC Champion, and is currently the managing director of Martini Makers Ltd.

Addressing the trainees, Jones told them that “everyone has a real good technique in shaking cocktails,” but he cautioned them about adding flair and style to what they do when preparing drinks, for “the guests are coming for a drink experience.”

Jones who has been blessed to travel to many countries with varying cultures, has seen how the foreign bartenders work. He spoke of not having that good feeling that at these events, he is the only Caribbean bartender present, but he always seeks to promote the Caribbean product and Caribbean flair in bartending.

Daniyel Jones (standing) discussing an issue with a participant (photo by Kingsley Roberts)

Daniyel Jones (standing) discussing an issue with a participant (photo by Kingsley Roberts)

“You must develop a personality as a bartender, and must know your product,” he stated. “Knowing your products in your bar is very important. You have to read to develop your knowledge base and you must do research on the various rums and spirits to further your development as a bartender.”

This he pointed out is crucial “because as a bartender, we have a platform to introduce new drinks to our guests, and by understanding your guest’s palette.”

He implored them to develop the ability to always make eye contact with the guests, maintain good lines of communication without being overbearing. The trainee bartenders were told by Jones to be responsible to their guests and establishment by handling any bad or potential bad behavior in a professional manner by utilizing all resources available such as their supervisors or manager, to placate any unruly guests.

Jones told the seminar that Caribbean bartenders have been, and continue to be labeled by their counterparts from other countries, as being “mixers of pink drinks.”

To that he advised, “Be a trendsetter, do not be afraid of creativity in using different fruit drinks. Market your drinks and learn to use any and all ingredients to sell a truly Caribbean drink experience to your guests.”

By being creative, he told the trainee bartenders, they would be in a position to use substitute ingredients, which would allow their guests the best drink experience possible.

Daniyel Jones explaining another aspect of bartending (photo by Kingsley Roberts)

Daniyel Jones explaining another aspect of bartending (photo by Kingsley Roberts)

The final session consisted of the participants each mixing a drink selected by Jones to test how much they acquired over the two days of lectures and demonstrations.

Additionally each of them had to submit a recipe for a drink, and the one he selected came from King Fields, a free-lance bartender, who was introduced to bartending by Mr. Mac of Calliaqua who has since died.

Added to his development was his stepfather who brought him into the bar atmosphere, teaching him how to mix various drinks, especially the old-fashion rum punch.

In assessing the bartenders, Jones said that Caribbean bartenders tend to think that they are not as advanced as they should be. He disagrees pointing out, “We have a product that is different from an international platform. We have what is called a tourism orientated product, and that is what we have to capitalize on.”

According to Jones when people come to the Caribbean, “We have to give them what they want.”

Meanwhile Managing Director of LOG Enterprises Lynton Greaves though not pleased with the turnout, is confident that the combined efforts of LOG Enterprises and the House of Angostura in training Vincentian bartenders is a positive one as the island seeks to improve upon its tourism product.

He said that with the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines having embarked on the construction of the Argyle International Airport, a decision was taken into the second year of development to host a bartenders’ training workshop.

“If the airport is coming we will have a lot of tourists coming into St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” stated Greaves. “In that case we wanted to train all bartenders so when a foreigner comes here they will be able to say I need a cocktail of this name or that name and the bartender would be proficient enough to mix that cocktail the tourist would have ordered.”

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