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Jesse Vida: If someone on my team isn’t motivated enough, that’s my problem, not theirs

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Jesse Vida is a true star bartender from New York. After working at Dead Rabbit, the best bar in the US and the entire world according to 50 Best, he headed up a new Prohibition-style Cuban bar, Blacktail, which earned the title of Best New Bar after only a few months.

I’ve been in the business long enough to understand what every guest wants: to talk about cocktails, to chat about life, or maybe they just need to be left alone for a bit.

My favorite guests are the ones who are open to experiments, are patient, and are capable of being thankful.

If you’re hungry, you can just stuff something in your face without feeling anything, or you could eat a truly delicious and even refined meal. It’s the same with alcohol. A good cocktail is like fine food.

My style is a balanced and well-rounded flavor.

Many bartenders completely forget about texture, but I think that’s not right. After all, you don’t enjoy eating a salad with nothing but lettuce, and nothing crunchy or filling? It’s the same with a drink. I always try to think about texture in addition to flavor.

If someone on my team isn’t motivated enough, that’s my problem, not theirs.

Earlier, I did a lot of hip-hop, and it helped me a lot in my work: I can feel the energy in the room, as well as control and direct it. Well, and of course, a good bartender is always a little bit of a showman.

The hardest thing in my work is time management. There’s never enough time and you have to deal with that somehow.

I think the most important thing in our line of work is knowing how to take care of people and loving to do it. Taking criticism, too.

It’s important for a team to work in constant contact and always be engaged. It’s always apparent at first glance.

 

Photo: Mathew Zucker

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