Just the Tip?

February 22, 2015 § Leave a comment


There has been much fuss recently about doing away with tipping in restaurants all together and replacing it with an extremely vague “service charge.” While many people seem to be happy to hear this, I am one of those who see it for what it too often is….a cash grab by ownership to unethically divert the income of their bartenders and servers and use it to pad manager and staff salaries.

After all, why should the owners of the establishment continue paying manager bonuses when their own hard-working employees can do that for them? It seems to good to be true, right?

Now don’t get me wrong if the fee tacked onto bill is labeled as a “staffing fee” than I suppose that could be seen as slightly more forthcoming, although I strongly believe that the average customer has no idea to whom their server’s “tip” is now being redirected. Is it subsidizing manager salaries? Kitchen payroll? Overnight cleaning crew? Maintenance staff? Who knows.

In other words, money actively earned by the servers is now going towards paying labor expenses that have historically been paid for by ownership. After hearing this, it is no wonder that so many operators are eager to take this path.

On the flipside, if the fee tacked on says “gratuity,” yet this money is still being diverted toward ownership’s labor costs, I would go so far as to say this is dangerously close to consumer fraud and that the customer is being taken for a ride.

Granted there are a few places that are legitimately using an automatic flat gratuity as a means of distributing funds between the service staff, but that practice hasn’t been picking up as much steam.

Another fair, but less popular route is to incorporate the cost of all labor into the price of the food and compensate employees via higher hourly wages.

This practice is the norm in Europe and eliminates tipping entirely. However, many restaurants in the US are wary due to the fear that it might make their prices look higher than competitors.

As for the wise consumer, if you wish to avoid being duped by a potentially dubious establishment, I would encourage you to go ahead and ask your server or bartender how the fund works. After all, it is your money and you have a right to know where it is going.





California Labor Law has this to say about service charges: “Such charges are considered as amounts owed by the patron to the establishment and are not gratuities voluntarily left for the employees. Therefore, when an employer distributes all or part of a service charge to its employees, the distribution may be at the discretion of the employer…”

Feliz Naughty Dog!!!

December 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

The drink we have on today’s, Follow The Liter, is called the Naughty Dog and it is a play on the Colorado Bulldog, which is essentially a White Russian with cola. This one uses aged rum instead of vodka and Root Beer in lieu of cola.  The result is an easy to make creamy cocktail that fills the gap between a Cuba Libre and a Root Beer Float.

Alright, Who Forgot the Damn Pour Spouts?!

December 21, 2014 § 1 Comment

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After working too many events where the bartenders were left lacking something, either because someone forgot it or because we never thought that we would actually need it.  I finally went ahead and put together a checklist for working off-site gigs.

While this is a very basic checklist that covers various levels of what might be needed during the course of the job, I firmly believe that it should be helpful for about 90% of our needs when bartending events.

I broke it down into columns with a different place for number needed for the event, the actual number at the start, and the number that you left with.  Hopefully, this should be helpful for keeping track of inventory and leave you from thinking, “I could swear I got here with six muddlers.”

Also, there is a section for initialing and dating at the end of the night, which should keep accountability in place and make it much easier for the next time you open up the traveling bar kit.

Most of you should probably be just fine with the first couple of columns, but it never hurts to keep it thorough for those of you that run a tight ship.

Since everyone has a different bag of tricks regarding these sort of checklists, I went ahead and made it available as both a PDF and an Excel file.

Naturally, those of you that wish to tweak and modify the checklist will be happiest with the Excel sheet, but for those of you with more standard requirements the PDF should be more than enough to handle your needs.

If any of you manage to vastly improve it and would like to share the love, please pass it along and I will go ahead and make it available here for download. Until then, thank you for taking the time to check it out, and I hope you find it helpful.

Event Checklist Excel

Event Checklist PDF

How to Make a Pimm’s Cup

December 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

When the weather is nice and you are feeling good there is nothing quite like a Pimm’s Cup.  They are complex enough for even the most seasoned cocktail pro, yet approachable enough for the bar novice.

Cocktail Recipes

December 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Thank you so much to everyone that came out to see me during the Toy Drive at Harvard & Stone in Hollywood last week.  We raised a bunch of money and toys for a good cause, so I could not be happier with how the night went.

Several people throughout the evening asked me for the recipes to the drinks that I was making off of my menu, but since I was too busy shaking and stirring to write anything down, I thought that I would go ahead post the recipes here.

Keep in mind that there drinks work best with 100+ proof whiskey, but then again what whiskey cocktail doesn’t?


I Like How This Lady Thinks…

December 15, 2014 § Leave a comment


Little Daddy’s Holiday Nog

December 12, 2014 § Leave a comment


Here is seasonal winter cocktail that I came up with to help put all of you in the holiday spirit.  It plays off of the natural affinities between rye whiskey, Amaro Montenegro and maple syrup.  It creates a playful mixture of bittersweet herbs and creamy cinnamon.  Amaro is excellent for the digestion, so why not make one for the family after everyone gets stuffed with ham and turkey.


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