Coronavirus Effect on the Hospitality Industry, Part 1

March 12th, 2020

On Episode No. 294 we talk with Frank Ciulla, Educator, Scientist and Founder of Hudson Educational Services about COVID-19, commonly known as "Coronavirus".


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Jacob Briars - of the Bacardi Company

March 5th, 2020

Today we talk with the very interesting Jacob Briars - Global Advocacy Director at the  Bacardi Company. Sorry there may be a few weird audio dropouts. Seems like I need to buy a couple new mic cables. 

Tennessee was recently hit with a series of very destructive tornadoes. Nashville was hit very hard, which is a great town and one that has a lot of hospitality workers. 

Our love and thoughts are we those impacted by this tragedy, but we’d also like to provide information on relief efforts for industry professionals in need of assistance led by the Nashville USBG Chapter.

We shared the GoFundMe page and a list of businesses offering support and services on social media, we would also like to highlight two immediate avenues: the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program through the National USBG Foundation that provides emergency relief grants to bartenders, and a family charity partner, Core Gives, that provides assistance to service industry families.

Follow the Facebook page for Nashville USBG that provides up-to-date information on the list of places impacted and bars that are hiring for those displaced.


We, at the Bartender Journey, send our support and wishes for a speedy recovery. 

Bartender Journey Episode 293

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Tequila Town - Live from the Back of a Pickup Truck

February 20th, 2020

More from Mexico, as we drive around the Town of Tequila in the back of a pickup truck drinking Tequila Fuenteseca Reserva 18 year old Extra Anejo bottled in 1995.

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Tequila - Deep Dive

February 3rd, 2020

I have just returned from Mexico as a guest of Tequila Fortelaza. It was an amazing trip. I had such a great time but also learned so much about Tequila. 

Coincidentally, less than a week before the trip, I took a 6 Hour Tequila certification course sponsored by Hiatus Tequila and presented by the Tequila Regulatory Council or CRT

Listen to the Bartender Journey Podcast #291 for a Deep Dive into Tequila!

For this information in text form, see the blog post.


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Circle Hospitality Group

December 6th, 2019

We speak with Owner Stewart King and General Manager Jack Keane of Circle Hospitality Group in Cincinnati.

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Tribute to my Bartending Mentor

November 20th, 2019

There is a hole in the bartending community – Gary "gaz" Regan passed away on November 15, 2019. He was an inspiration and mentor to a huge portion of the bartender community. His book The Joy of Mixology in 2003 was groundbreaking..

In that book he encouraged Bartenders to measure, to consider the glasswear carefully, to chill the glasswear, when to shake and when to stir. These things weren’t talked about much back then, but help lay the groundwork for where we are now. Then there are more important lessons in the book about BEING a bartender.

He updated The Joy Of Mixology in 2018.

Cheers to you gaz. You are sorely missed.

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Chris Fletcher of Jack Daniels

October 30th, 2019

Hazel interviews Assistant Master Distiller at Jack Daniels, Chris Fletcher.

Check out the new book by host of this podcast Brian Weber:  Cocktails Made Simple!

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Cocktails Made Simple by Brian Weber & Amin Benny

October 17th, 2019

We are very excited to announce the release of Cocktails Made Simple written by Brian Weber and Amin Benny.  We wrote it to be easy to follow, clear and concise, and most of all useful and practical.  

On this episode of the podcast Brian and Benny discuss the book.

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September 26th, 2019

We speak with Chris Swonger, the President and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. and

Also what's the best way to cut citrus garnishes at the bar? 

I co-authored a book!  Cocktails Made Simple is available on Amazon.

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Cocktail Photography with Anthony Nader @52Chefs

September 5th, 2019

Bartender Journey Podcast #284


Today we talk about cocktail photography with professional food and beverage photographer Anthony Nader.  His company is called 52 chefs. He is a lot of fun.  

I was lucky enough to be invited to his seminar recently that was specifically about taking great photos of cocktails with your phone.  It was sponsored by Tequila Avión - thank you very much for that Ms. Veronica Chaparro. It was at the roof top bar at the Park South Hotel, which is an awesome place, if you ever get a chance to go.  Bar Methods was going on while we were there, and I got a chance to say hello to friend Chris Bitmeed who runs Bar Methods which is a once a year, 3 day educational event.  I did it about 3 years ago, and I encourage you to look into that for next year - its an amazing educational opportunity. 

Anthony gave a great demonstration about how to take great photos, and then we paired up into teams of two - I pared with Hazel, and we had a photo and video competition.  There were lots of props and drinks. We had to submit one photo and one slo mo video. In the end my photo won the contest! It was a picture of a Tequila Avión Nigroni.  

We are excited to announce that the special project is our new book, Cocktails Made Simple: Easy and Delicious Recipes for the Home Bartender!  It’s coming out on October 15, 2019!

I think you'll find our book serves as a great guide to making drinks, with an explanation of tools and techniques, in addition to classic cocktail recipes.  

If you're a Home Bartender looking to entertain family and friends, you'll learn how to build a functional home bar with essential tools and cost-effective tips in order to craft cocktails in your own home.

It was a great experience writing this with co-author and our West Coast Bartender Journey associate, Amin Benny and a quick thanks to Hazel Alvarado for Back of House duties on this project.

The book is available NOW for pre-order on Amazon.  Click here to sign up for our email newsletter to keep informed about the book.  And please follow Bartender Journey on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Its @BartenderJourney on IG and FB, and on twitter I’m @BarKeepTips.

Cocktail Photography Tips:

  • Be sure to Clean the camera lens.  It gets dirty. You can clean it with a soft cotton t-shirt or any soft cloth.

  • Zoom in a little.

  • Setting the exposure and locking in the focus. Click on the subject before taking the picture - the subject will be locked into both focus and exposure  Also, next to the yellow box surrounding your subject, there is a tiny icon of the sun. If you slide that up and down, you can change the exposure.  

  • Display abundance - use props...use your imagination.  

  • Get close -  I had always composed my cocktail photos very neatly, displaying the entire glass and garnish - usually shooting from slightly above the glass so that the surface is visible.  I would center the cocktail. Try getting in very close. Art can be a little messy!

  • Focus on garnish - or on the little droplets on the outside of the glass or whatever - something specific in the drink - not the drink as a whole.

  • Bounce light. A white paper menu is one way to do that.

  • Use a friend’s phone with a white screen - I’d heard at other seminars, or maybe read somewhere, to us the flashlight from a friend’s phone for light when you are in a dark bar or something, but that light is harsh.  A white screen is softer - you can just go to for instance. And of course on iPhone you can go to Settings / Display & Brightness to control the brightness of the screen if you need more light.

  • Pay attention to other photos - what do you like?  When you see a picture that you like, think about what you like about it.  Some ideas for looking at great cocktail photos on IG, are Anthony’s stuff at @52Chefs and our friend Natalie @BeautifulBooze.  I would also encourage you to follow the #cocktails

  • Speaking of IG when you are editing your photo in the IG app before posting - don’t use the pre fab filters - edit the settings individually.

    • When you first get to edit mode in the IG app, above you photo there is a little icon of the sun that is white on the left and black on the right.  This is the lux setting. I did not know about this! Its awesome. I don’t know enough about photography to explain what lux is, but its related to exposure.  Do this first.

    • Then Anthony recommends adjusting the settings in this order:

      • Contrast

      • Warmth

      • Sharpness

  • Turn each setting all the way up to see what it does, then scale back from there.


I hope you learned something from the show today.  I’d love to see your cocktail photos, hopefully using some of the stuff you learned from listening.  Post your picture to IG and tag me @BartenderJourney.


I wanted to share one more thing with you - I just read an outstanding article on  Its called “What’s Malt, and Why is it Needed”.  It’s a really worth a read.  It not only does a great job of explaining the process of producing alcohol , but also some of the differences between scotch and bourbon and also the definition of a Single Malt.  I’ll have that link on We’ll have to try get the author of that article Mr. Henrik Brandt on the show sometime.

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