Food

Red Stripe Bar Academy: Training bartenders to bring friends together

Thursday, October 31, 2019

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Red Stripe's Bar Academy is not your average bartender training programme. It pairs knowledge-based tools and technical skills with customer-focused training that grooms all its students to entertain their customers and create a wide range of mixes for various guests.

The six-week programme is being delivered in collaboration with long-time Red Stripe partner HEART Trust/NTA. This year, 300 young people between the ages of 18 and 35 from across Jamaica will receive training and earn accredited qualifications that are locally and internationally recognised.

“There was need for a programme like this geared towards the provision of specific job qualifications in bartending. The participants will receive training to improve their attitudinal and employability skills in the bar services industry,” offered Rohan Wishart, manager of enterprise development unit at HEART Trust/NTA.

Ryan Mitto is a graduate from the 2011 cohort and loves working with fresh ingredients to create tasty drinks that his customers will love. He said, “Bartending allows me to express my creativity and to meet new people every day. Bar Academy gave me the skills I needed to replicate and create many signature drink mixes for a wide range of palates. It also equipped me with the knowledge and foundation tools to start a company. I am now proud to have a job where I create cocktails that bring friends together.”

Among his team members is Sayefa Mitchell, a recent graduate of Bar Academy. Working with Mitto for nearly a year, she employs a positive attitude and her fun personality, along with all the skills she learnt from the Red Stripe programme, on a daily basis. She said, “One thing I appreciated about Bar Academy is that we got a lot of theoretical and hands-on training. I had to study various recipes and techniques, know my tools and equipment, and figure out how to be engaging and entertain a group of friends by the bar. I never know what drink I'll have to make, so I always have to be prepared and give them the best.”

Alcoholic beverages will be at the centre of the fun and merriment in the upcoming holiday season and Mitto predicts that classic cocktails will make a comeback. These timeless and sophisticated mixes will be a hit on any bar menu. Under the guidance of Mitto, Mitchell created four cocktails for a group of friends: the zesty Michelada, the sophisticated Old Fashioned, the fruity Bahama Mama and the fun Cosmopolitan.

Michelada

Ryan Mitto's original creation, “The Michelada,” featuring Red Stripe Lemon Paradise

Ingredients:

1 bottle Red Stripe Lemon Paradise

Pinch of salt & pepper

Dash of Worcestershire Sauce

Dash of hot sauce

3/4 oz fresh lime juice

1/4 oz olive juice

4 oz Clamato/tomato juice

Lime wedges

Method:

Rim glass with salt.

Add Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, lime juice, olive juice and tomato juice into glass and stir.

Top off with chilled Red Stripe Lemon Paradise.

Garnish with lime wedges.

Old Fashioned

Mitto and Mitchell use Johnnie Walker to bring this whiskey drink to life.

Glassware: Rocks

Ingredients:

2 oz Johnnie Walker

1 orange wheel slice

1 maraschino cherry

1/2 sugar syrup

2-5 dashes Angostura Bitters

Orange peel

Method:

Muddle orange, cherry, sugar syrup in rocks glass.

Add Angostura Bitters and ice.

Pour Johnnie Walker and stir.

Garnish with orange peel.

Bahama Mama

D&G White Overproof Rum is at the base of this fun, fruity cocktail.

Glassware: Poco Grande

Ingredients:

1 oz D&G White Overproof Rum

1 oz coconut rum

1 oz banana liqueur

3 oz pineapple juice

3 oz orange juice

1/8 oz Grenadine

1 maraschino cherry

Orange wheel

Method:

Pour orange juice, pineapple juice, coconut rum and banana liqueur over ice.

Layer grenadine around cocktail.

Garnish with cherry and fresh orange wheel.

Cosmopolitan

Glassware: Cocktail Glass

Ingredients:

1 1/2 oz Smirnoff Vodka

1/2 oz fresh lime juice

1/2 oz Triple Sec

1 oz cranberry juice

Lime wedge

Method:

Combine Smirnoff Vodka, lime juice, Triple Sec and cranberry juice in a cocktail shaker.

Add ice, cover and shake until chilled.

Strain into a cocktail glass.

Garnish with a lime wedge.

Photos: Shaquiel Brooks


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