When you sidle up to a bar to order up a beer or your favorite cocktail, do you ever think about who’s been behind that bar before your time? Bartending culture has changed over the years, but classic recipes and techniques are still in use today—and for good reason. Certain drinks need no improvements, but just a knowledgeable barkeep who knows the nuances of shaking or stirring the perfect cocktail. There are many impressive bartenders behind the stick today, just as there are many who have hung up their aprons for good. Keep reading to learn about a few of the most famous bartenders.
Jerry Thomas was a popular bartender and the author behind the first cocktail book ever published in 1862, The Bon Vivant’s Companion. Thomas died relatively young at age 55 in 1885, but worked in many bars in the U.S. and Europe until then. He was known as much for his seminal book as he was for creating his own bitters and infusions, and performing eye-catching tricks behind the bar.
Ernest “Don the Beachcomber” Gantt
Tiki drinks have enjoyed a renaissance as of late, but not in the sickly-sweet style that many people associate with the genre. Ernest Gantt created faux-Polynesian cocktails in the 1940s and 1950s out of his bar in Los Angeles. These highly drinkable—and highly potent—cocktails became quite popular, leading many other bartenders to imitate Gantt’s signature style.
Dale Degroff is one of the most famous names in bartending today, earning the nickname “King Cocktail.” Many give Degroff credit for revitalizing modern bartending with his emphasis on fresh ingredients as well as time-tested classic recipes. He has won numerous awards, penned several books, and trained some of the top bartenders working in the world’s most preeminent bars today.
Now that you’ve worked up a thirst, call Professional Bartenders Unlimited in Tucson at (520) 721-1577 to let us help you with your next party. Our bartenders are skilled, efficient, and courteous to make your next event a success. Leave the pouring to us, and raise a glass with your friends.