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Fraser Hamilton

Signature Cocktail
experience 26 years

Bar codex by Fraser Hamilton

I've been working in the industry for 20 years already, and I used to think that the most important things were cocktails, drinks, rare ingredients... But now I understand that the real meaning of my work is to make people happy: to get to know them, to introduce them to each other, to chat, and to make them smile.

I started working as a bartender in Scotland, and there, a bar is the real center of local life. All the news and gossip converges at the bar; there, you can always run into your friends, even if you weren't planning on it. I really miss that feeling of a "local," and that's what I'’ trying to recreate here at Blackbird Ordinary.

Compared to the 90s, when I started my career, bartenders have become more responsible. Everyone used to follow the mantra: “let's make it stronger, sweeter, and brighter." Now everything's different.

When I go to a bar after work, I desperately try to relax. But no matter what, I always find myself judging the glassware or the bartenders' utensils.

In order to become a good bartender, you need to sincerely love people more than anything else. 80% of our work is communicating with people. It's harder to learn how to do that than it is to learn how to mix drinks.

Above all else, I became a bartender because I'm interested in all kinds of people. What other job lets you talk with a stock trader, a musician, and a movie star all in one night?

I often see bartenders get annoyed at drunk guests. If you ask me, that's awkward! Our job is to take care of people, especially if they're they're a little vulnerable.

I never let a drunk guest get behind the wheel. That simply doesn't happen in my bar. No excuses allowed.

One day, when I was just beginning to work as a bartender, I was asked to come up with a dessert drink. I really wanted to use peaches and whipped cream. In the end, I made the absolute worst drink in the world – it was just disgusting. I asked the head bartender: what can I do? He just poured everything into the trash.

I used to really like working late – the later, the better! But now, I would rather watch TV in bed at night.

There's no such thing as a wasted shift. You need to work every day with all your energy and devote energy to the smallest details.

Try Katie’s Flower Shop cocktail by Fraser Hamilton

Try Katie’s Flower Shop cocktail by Fraser Hamilton

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