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25 Bartenders Reveal Their New Year’s Resolutions

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The New Year brings with it a chance for self betterment. While many make resolutions to lose weight, learn how to play an instrument, or finally finish that darn novel, we prefer to make resolutions we’re actually going to keep—namely, those that involve drinking. This year, we here at Supercall resolve to mix up lots of cocktails, find new products, investigate the best way to make classic drinks and generally dig deeper into the wonderful world of imbibing. Of course, we’re not the only ones looking to improve our drinking game.

Get some inspiration for your New Year’s drinking resolutions by reading through some of the best vows for boozy self improvement from some of the country’s best mixologists.  

Ivy Mix: Go Green, Drink Trees  

Leyenda
New York, NY

“In the new year I plan on greening the bar up. The restaurant industry creates an unbelievable amount of waste, and there are measures we can take to at least put a dent in the right direction. We are switching over to straws-on-request and only biodegradable straws when requested, and we are also doing metal straws for tasting.

“As far as drinks are concerned, I am working on wood cocktails by trying to get the essence of pine, sandalwood and cedar.”

Ted Kilpatrick: Cement the Classics, Look Beyond the Bar  

Cushman Concepts restaurant group (Covina, O Ya, The Roof at Park South)
New York, NY

“This coming year, I resolve to look outside of my back bar for cocktail ingredients. I will look to coffee and tea shops, wine programs, beer taps, processed foods and other less utilized arenas to try and make cocktails with exciting and unexpected flavor profiles. I resolve to do this while still making the ‘mother sauces’ of paramount importance within bar programs that I run. All of the classics must be mastered before looking outward for inspiration.”

Andrew Harbour: Restore Rum to Its Rightful Place

Norah
Los Angeles, CA

“My New Year’s resolution as a bartender is to make rum great again! I want to create more cocktails that are a great reminder that rum is a quality spirit, and not just a bad college experience.”

Maggie Dandrea: Go Garnish Crazy  

Bayou Bar and Hot Tin at the Pontchartrain Hotel
New Orleans, LA

"This next year I want to bring my garnish game to the next level, incorporating more intricate arrangements of herbs, twists, and possibly some edible flowers. I want the presentation of our cocktails to go viral!"

Andrew Abrahamson: Hype the Highball, Drink Mezcal Right

213 Hospitality Single Spirit Bars (Seven Grand, Bar Jackalope, Bar Three Piece, Las Perlas, Caña Rum Bar)
Los Angeles, CA

"Next year, I'm hoping to see a Japanese-style Whisky Highball made consistently well wherever it's served, as well as mezcal enjoyed in copitas [traditional Mexican clay drinking vessels], and Cuban rum now that it finally hit our shores!"

Rebecca Cate: Use a New Rum  

Smuggler’s Cove
San Francisco, CA

“Plantation O.F.T.D. is a rum that my husband, Martin Cate, helped collaborate on with David Wondrich, and several other tiki bar owners including Jeff Berry, Paul McGee, Scotty Schuder, and Paul McFadyen. We are very excited about incorporating this new rum into many drinks on our menu. It is an overproof blend of Jamaican, Guyanese and Barbadian rums that come together in a true weapon for exotic cocktails.”

Benton Bourgeois: Be More Competitive

Bayou Bar and Hot Tin at the Pontchartrain Hotel
New Orleans, LA

"In 2017, I'd like to have all of our staff participate in a cocktail competition. There are so many that happen in New Orleans, and they're a great way to learn what's happening outside of our bubble."

Matt Piacentini: Stay Simple, Do Some Spring Cleaning (With Sangria)   

The Up & Up
New York, NY

“There are so many new spirits coming on the market every month that I find I have to work extra hard to keep things simple. It's so easy to just go off into space, but sometimes the newest, craziest product works best to simply tweak a classic.

“Finally, I have four things that help me clean out the back bar: Punch, Sangria, Jungle Juice and Mulled Wine.”  

Eric Trousdale: Pair Rhum With Donuts  

Arbella
Chicago, IL

“I have several bottles of Agricole Rhum Clement 10 Year that I have been trying to incorporate into Arbella’s menu for years and 2017 is going to be that year. I have played around with various cocktail recipes but it seemed to be a waste of its loveliness. In the new year I will be featuring it on its own, paired with a house-made chocolate donut sidecar.”

Bryan Schneider: Revive the '90s

Quality Branded (Quality Eats, Smith & Wollensky)
New York, NY

“This year the 1980s were my muse. Next year it’s the '90s.”

Travis Oler: Explore New Liqueurs  

Italienne
New York, NY

“I'm always on the lookout for new, fun spirits or liqueurs, and am eager to test them in drink ideas. The Giffard line of liqueurs is quite large and exciting. And anything Génépy sparks my interest.”

Sierra Kirk: Drink Less, Read More

Hale Pele
Portland, OR

“This year, I really want to focus on self-care and education. Too many people in the service industry tend to get caught up in the late night lifestyle and neglect the other parts of their life. I want to maintain a healthy and balanced life, pursuing my career while staying conscious of my diet and exercise and how much I drink and spending my free time with my family, and being outdoors as much as possible. I also want to continue my self-education and finally read all those wonderful cocktail and bar books in my library!”

Joaquín Simó: Become a Mentor  

Pouring Ribbons
New York, NY

“My biggest resolution is take on a greater teaching role at the bar, especially with so many talented new faces on staff. I would love to overhaul my continued training regime and give it more structure. Also, I feel like we need to play a lot more Grace Jones on the playlist. A LOT more.”

Brian Means: Bring Brandy Back, Go Savory   

MINA Group (Arcadia, Michael Mina, Clock Bar, Bardot Brasserie, Stonehill Tavern)
Global

“We are excited to be playing with more brandies (Cognac, Calvados, Armagnac and some other fruit brandies) that will pair well with fall and winter flavors. We are always on the lookout for new spirits and new styles of cocktails. I'm also always thinking about savory style cocktails. I'm enjoying working with dashi, kombu, sesame oil and various chilis as well.”

Jason Hedges: Barrel-Age Everything  

Gotham Bar and Grill
New York, NY

"In the cooler months ahead and going into the New Year, we’re looking to expand the barrel-aged section of our drinks menu to include some interesting and delicious new spirits, liqueurs and amari that we’ve recently tried. We’re particularly excited about a Mt. Gay Black Barrel Old Fashioned, which incorporates customized Mt. Gay rum that I helped create alongside Mt. Gay’s master distiller, Allan Smith.”

T. Cole Newton: Learn to Love Baijiu

The Troubadour
New Orleans, LA

“I resolve to find a use or develop an appreciation for baijiu. Baijiu is a spirit distilled from sorghum that's widely popular in China, but it's almost unpalatable to westerners. (It tastes like rotten fruit, to be generous.) Still, I didn't like hops, bitters or vermouth 10 years ago. I'll crack this one, too.”

Elissa Zingler: Make Bars Friendlier

The Ranstead Room
Philadelphia, PA

“I'd like to continue to change the stigma that cocktail bars are pretentious and make them be an approachable and inviting place to enjoy awesome cocktails. I'd also like to create at least one new, menu-ready cocktail per week, and reach outside my comfort zone to use spirits I don't usually work with.”

Geoff Lewis: Taste More New Spirits

Bayou Bar and Hot Tin at the Pontchartrain Hotel
New Orleans, LA

"For my bar resolution I plan on engaging with our sales reps more to learn more about the alcohol we are serving. I've begun hosting a tasting every Wednesday for our staff members, but I know the experience will be enhanced with the inclusion of experts. Not only is this an opportunity to improve our craft, but also a great team building exercise to learn about new spirits together."

Liz Wolferman: Drink More Beer

Ganso Ramen
New York, NY

“I think it is important to stay sharp within your field and the best way to do that is to constantly be seeking out new products and learning about your craft. I look forward to trying more local brews from Grimm, Barrier and Finback. Connecting with like-minded industry folks, like Ray from St. Gambrinus who puts out an incredible beer list and inspires me to continuously bring new beers to our customers at Ganso.”

Rob Ficks: Stay Seasonal  

Craigie on Main
Cambridge, MA

“I've been working to design cocktails around this rapidly changing culinary landscape. It keeps me on my toes and forces me to come up with combinations of products and flavors that I may not have thought of before. It usually consists of doing a small test batch of some shrub, syrup, or infusion, then either adjusting it or making a large batch using the very best of that product.”

Darwin Pornel: Convert More Rum Drinkers  

Faith & Flower
Los Angeles, CA

“One of my resolutions for the bar this year is to expand the back bar by adding some more rum. We already have a great selection up there, but I always try my best to turn some of the more casual drinkers on to some really cool stuff (it's kind of my mission to convince them that rum is delicious). Hopefully we can drum up enough interest to start carrying even more interesting bottles.”

Laura Bellucci: Get Healthy  

SoBou
New Orleans, LA

“My New Year’s resolution is to stay healthy and help my team stay healthy! Make sure everyone is getting rest and renewal. Some of us have already started working out together several times a week. Eat healthy snacks on bar breaks instead of chowing down on boudin and beignets.”

Zach Rivera: Focus on the Flavor of Spirits  

Headquarters Beercade
Chicago, IL

“In 2017, I'd like to focus more on the flavors and attributes of spirits, as opposed to adding outside flavors to them. Maceration and infusion are great tools, but there are a lot of distillates out there that add their own unique qualities if embraced, not covered up. I'd like to work on designing new drinks that showcase the spirits in them, but are still playful and fun.”

Paul Einbund: Curate a Better Bar  

The Morris
San Francisco, CA

“One resolution I already have is what I call ‘cleaning the bar.’ Why do you need to have every bourbon made unless you are a destination bourbon bar? Why not curate a few styles that scratch a particular itch? In 2017, I’m really planning to think about the flavors and styles of each spirit and decide if 10 vodkas or even three are really needed.”

Jane Danger: Be Tidier

Mother of Pearl, Cienfuegos
New York, NY

“I don't really do New Year’s resolutions. But maybe by the time the new year comes around I will have gotten in the hang of putting my clothes away. If only my bar tidy compulsiveness would translate to my home life. Shoes everywhere! Dress explosion! A tidier Jane. That's what I will work towards.”

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