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Bartending Interview Questions

30 Bartending Interview Questions
Question 1 of 30
How do you treat customers on special occasions, like birthdays and bachelorette parties?
How to Answer
Customers want to feel special when celebrating a fun event like an upcoming wedding, a birthday, or even a divorce party. When they walk into the bar wearing that tiara and sash, it's up to you to help make their night more enjoyable. Do you give out free shots for the bridal party or do you show off your flare? What will you do to entertain your customers and offer the best service to keep them coming back?

Answer Example
"I always address my customers by name, show them respect and listen to them. For special occasions, I like to make a shot especially for the person celebrating. I ask them what they like, and I put on a little show to make them feel special. Throughout the night I check in with them to make sure they have everything they need."
Entry Level Example
"Customers who are celebrating a special occasion should be treated well because chances are they are going to come back if they remember having a great time! If the bar allows, I would promo one round of shots or give a family/friends discount on their bill. I could even create a signature cocktail, for purchase, for their party and name it after the bride-to-be! Nobody forgets an experience like that."
Experienced Example
"I like to go by the policy of the bar for which I am working. Some bars will allow me to promo a round of shots while others do not. If it's a bachelorette party, women are flirty and want a lot of attention. I'll introduce them to other patrons who will likely buy them rounds of shots, and I will always buy the bride-to-be a fun shot."
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Question 2 of 30
How do you make a White Russian?
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How to Answer
Depending upon your resources, you may have prepared this drink in its purest form: Kahlua, vodka, and cream.

If you have a preference for the type of liqueur or garnish, do share! There are many different recipes you can try. Do your research and determine your favorite way to prepare a White Russian so you can impress the bar manager!

Answer Example
"I became obsessed with White Russians after seeing the movie, The Big Lebowski, for the first time. Jeff Bridges is my hero, so I started drinking White Russians after this movie came out. I make mine in a rocks glass filled to the top with ice cubes. I add 1 part vodka, 1 part heavy cream, and 1 part Kahlua. I do prefer to use top-shelf vodka whenever possible as it's a smoother finish."
Entry Level Example
"I believe that a White Russian is one shot Kahlua, one shot vodka, topped with milk. Is this how you prefer a White Russian be made?"
Experienced Example
"I am well versed on how to make a traditional White Russian. 1 part Kahlua, 1 part vodka, 1 part cream and lots of ice! I like to put my twist on the drink by using espresso flavored vodka. It's delicious!"
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Question 3 of 30
This is a coveted bartending gig. Why should we hire you?
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How to Answer
Pressure is on! The interviewer takes a lot of pride in their bar, and they are not willing to settle for just anyone. If you don't have the length of experience and an impressive skillset, you still have a chance. Think about your transferable skills. These are skills that you gained from working other jobs that might not be relevant to this one.

Skills like money handling, customer service, and time management are all worth sharing because they apply directly to the job. Also, give examples of how you have gone above and beyond in a previous position give you extra points. Show off how you have proven yourself reliable and trustworthy, two qualities that can be hard to find in the service industry.

Answer Example
"When I read the job description, I laughed because it was as though you had written it with me in mind. I know that I am the best candidate for this role because I have three years of professional bartending at your strongest industry competitor. I am certified and trained in the art of bartending. I understand the importance of upselling, as well."
Entry Level Example
"I'm a certified professional bartender and passionate about customer service. I am excited about the idea of creating a fresh cocktail menu, as mentioned in your job ad, and will hustle for the opportunity to go above and beyond for your bar."
Experienced Example
"You should hire me because I am unlike anyone else you have interviewed before. When I started with my current retail sales company, I was the youngest salesperson they had ever hired. That didn't stop me from becoming the #1 sales person in the company within six months. I am dedicated to customer service. Since becoming a professional bartender, I have been wholly engaged in this industry. I am currently writing a creative cocktail e-book too!"
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Question 4 of 30
How do you make a Whiskey Sour?
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How to Answer
A Whiskey Sour is one of those traditional drinks that is simple enough that you should know how to make it. It can also be jazzed up a bit with fancy add-ons and garnishes. Most bars use a sour mix and whiskey, but you could show off your fancy pants skills by using lemon juice and powdered sugar! It depends on the bar. If it's an upscale bar, you want to show your expertise, even with the simplest of cocktails. Research recipes and give it a whirl!

Answer Example
"A Whiskey Sour is a great drink, so simple to make, yet so fun to dress up when needed. In it, is two parts whiskey, 2/3 an ounce of lemon juice, and some fine sugar. I put all three ingredients into a shaker with ice, shake gently, then strain into a highball glass. In my current bar, I garnish with a burnt lemon rind for an added twist."
Entry Level Example
"I learned how to make a classic Whiskey Sour in bartending school. In a shaker with ice goes two parts whiskey, less than an ounce of lemon juice and table sugar. I strain this into a chilled highball glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry."
Experienced Example
"When making a Whiskey Sour, I much prefer to use fresh lemon versus lemon juice. In an ice-filled shaker I will mix a half a lemon's worth of juice, two parts whiskey and a teaspoon of sugar. I prefer to garnish my Whiskey Sours with a traditional wedge of lemon and a maraschino cherry."
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Question 5 of 30
How do you make a Dirty Martini?
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How to Answer
How many different types of martinis do you know how to make? If you're struggling on this one, you may want to spend some time practicing different martini recipes. What makes it dirty? Olive juice!

Some people like their martini real dirty, which means extra olive juice and sometimes extra olives. You will need to be prepared for the variations of martinis, so it may be best to hit up the liquor store and gather your ingredients. Don't forget the olives!

Answer Example
"A good Dirty Martini is enough to put some hair on one's chest! To make a dirty martini, you need vodka or gin, dry vermouth, and olive juice. Rather than using a shaker, I use a glass filled to the brim with ice. To this glass, I add 2.5 parts vodka (or gin), a half ounce of dry vermouth, and a half ounce of olive juice. I then stir and strain into a chilled martini glass with a 3 olive garnish."
Entry Level Example
"Dirty Martini's are fun to make! In a shaker with ice, I add 2.5 parts vodka, 1/2 ounce of dry vermouth and a 1/2 ounce of olive juice. Shake, and add to a chilled martini glass with an olive garnish. That's a basic recipe. Some customers prefer even more olive brine!"
Experienced Example
"Olive brine, olive brine, olive brine! Can you believe I once had a bartender make a dirty martini for me with pickle juice?? It was pretty nasty, but I had to applaud her improvisation. In a glass with ice, I add 2 ounces of vodka or gin, a half ounce of dry vermouth and a little under an ounce of olive brine. I'll stir with a metal stir stick, and strain into a chilled martini glass. Don't forget the olives as a garnish!"
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Author of Bartending Answers and Questions

Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is an executive head-hunter and job search expert. Utilized by top executives from Fortune 100 & 500 companies like Fitbit, Microsoft, General Electric, Nestle, and more, she helps professionals position themselves in a competitive marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume, a company that focuses on helping job seekers get their edge back. Renovate My Resume creates stand-out resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and professional summaries for new grads, all the way to corporate executives. Rachelle spends much of her time training career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers. She also holds interview workshops for students and interns, globally. For great tips and tricks, follow Rachelle on Instagram @_rachelle_e or @renovatemyresume.
First written on: 11/30/2010
Last modified on: 08/17/2018

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About Bartending

August 17th, 2017

A Bartender can make or break a bar one drink at a time. For bar owners, if you have an untrustworthy bartender, you can see your profits diminish in no time. On the flipside, if you have a fun, active, upselling bartender, you can see your restaurant's profits increase dramatically.

Every restaurant owner may have a very different approach to hiring bartenders. Some restaurant owners require bartenders to work behind the bar making various drinks the hiring manager orders. Other restaurant owners are more passive and just require a basic job interview. Bartending candidates need to know what type of restaurant they are applying too. If the bar is a college bar, trustworthiness and service speed will be the deciding factors for a hiring manager. If the bar is upscale, drink knowledge, drink presentation skills, and ability to have conversations with patrons will be a few of the deciding factors.

After you understand what type of bar you are applying to is, you can prioritize your skills accordingly. Prepare a few examples of when you displayed a high amount of trust. Know a few times when you handled an upset customer. Remember, the interview is a conversation, and you are a bartender, be ready to have an excellent conversation with the hiring manager.