What is World Bartending Day?
Celebrated on February 24th, World Bartending Day is dedicated to honouring bartenders all around the world and acknowledging their fine craft. Bartending has evolved significantly over the years, with new techniques, equipment, and ingredients being continually introduced. World Bartending Day celebrates the creative genius and talents of those at bars across the globe, and provides an opportunity for enhancing the profession through seminars, workshops, networking, competitions, and events. So how did this fabulous profession come to be? Well, let's take a quick look.
History of Bartending
Bartending has a diverse history that dates back thousands of years. Originating in ancient Greece, the concept of a bartender was first introduced as a "symposiarch," the person in charge of serving wine at symposiums. These individuals were considered highly skilled and respected members of society, responsible for preparing and serving drinks to their guests.
In the Middle Ages, bartending began to evolve in Europe. Women ran most taverns and alehouses during this time, and they were responsible for both brewing and serving beer. These establishments were popular social hubs, where people would go to drink, socialise and conduct business.
During the 17th century, bartending began to emerge as a distinct profession, with people being employed to serve drinks in public establishments. The profession continued to develop and by the 19th century, the art of bartending reached new heights of popularity and sophistication. This was largely due to the rise of cocktail culture, which saw the introduction of new and more complex mixed drinks.
The prohibition of alcohol in the United States (1920 to 1933), had a significant impact on the bartending profession. During this time, the production, sale, and transportation of alcohol were all prohibited which meant many bars and taverns were forced to shut down or operate underground. Not surprisingly, the demand for alcohol remained high during the prohibition. People still wanted to drink and found a way to do so!
During the prohibition, the quality and supply of alcohol became notoriously unpredictable. This meant underground bartenders had to become skilled at hiding the taste of inferior alcohol with mixers and other ingredients – leading to the rise of cocktails as a way of disguising the taste of bootleg alcohol. Many classic cocktails that we know today were born during this era.
As the popularity of cocktail culture grew, so too did the reputation and status of bartenders as skilled professionals. With the rise of social media and food blogging, bartenders have gained even more prominence and exposure, with some reaching celebrity-like status among their followers. Today, bartending remains a respected profession, with many individuals dedicated to the craft of mixology and the art of serving drinks.
Bartending and the 'low and no alcohol' space
While the bartending profession has traditionally been associated with the creation of alcoholic beverages, it’s important to recognise that bartenders also play a crucial role in serving up interesting and flavourful alcohol-free drinks!
Non-alcoholic and alcohol-free drinks have come a long way, and are no longer limited to simple fruit juices, syrups, and sodas. Thanks to an explosion in the ‘low and no alcohol' market, bartenders now have a wide range of ingredients to use in creating delicious and sophisticated non-alcoholic cocktails. From distilled alcohol-free spirits, herbs, spices and other botanical extracts to cold-pressed juices, flavoured tonics and sparkling waters, the possibilities for alcohol-free drinks have become endless.
Why not give bartending a try?
Since it’s World Bartending Day, why not give bartending a try yourself? Grab some ingredients, invite your friends over and whip up some tasty drinks. Make it easy and order something premixed from the Good Cocktail Co range – you can serve these as is or add in some Lyre’s alcohol-free spirits to give your drinks a bit more of a zing. Here’s a few suggestions for you to try:
- Good Cocktail Co Cosmo with Lyre’s Orange Sec and White Cane Spirit
- Good Cocktail Co Mojito with Lyre’s White Cane Spirit
- Good Cocktail Co Daiquiri with Lyre’s White Cane Spirit
- Good Cocktail Co Margarita with Lyre’s Agave Blanco Spirit or try Lyre's new 'Sophisticated Serve' Margarita for a ready-to-drink option
Treat yourself and take the opportunity to drink something delicious on World Bartending Day. Whether you get into the spirit and create your own drinks or simply visit your local bar, be sure to raise a glass to all the bartenders who are bringing joy and hospitality to us all, whatever we choose to drink 🍸