Some people like to use the New Year to try and turn over a new leaf, whether it’s giving up a vice (like smoking, for the fifth time) or resolving to hit the gym bright and early each day regardless of the abysmal winter weather.
Many bartenders, though, take a different—and, frankly, more fun—tact when it comes to their goals for the upcoming 365 days, outlining personal, liquor-tinged objectives for imbibing more effectively. From drinking more rum, to exploring umami, to spending more time drinking with friends, eight of the country’s top bartenders share their boozy resolutions for 2016 below.
“My New Year’s resolution is to remember everyone’s name. With 16 years behind the bar, this skill has lost some polish and it will only improve if I refocus my energy to it. I can remember everything about our first or last interaction, but names often elude me. In 2016, this will change.” Alba Huerta, Julep, Houston
“My New Year’s resolution is to have fewer than 250 hangovers in 2016.” John Lermayer, Sweet Liberty Drink and Supply Company, Miami
“My New Year’s resolution is to be more organized. I want to be one of those people who has an OCD-level of organization. Running a bar means hard, long days, and sometimes at the end of a 15-hour day, you just stuff some papers to the side, never to see them again. My prep kitchen is pretty clean and efficient, but sometimes I find myself double ordering because I forget I stashed something. Before you know it, you have 6 cases of Mastiha.” Liz Pearce, The Drifter, Chicago
“My resolution is to inspire a revolution among bartenders, young and old, to see the beauty of excellent constancy in their craft and service and to share that competitions are not necessarily just opportunities for fame and fortune, but a platform to do your best for the world to see. After all is said and won, you go back to where it all began and do it all over again, day by day, with the utmost pride and passion.” Amanda Wan, Bar Manager, The Envoy, Hong Kong
“My New Year’s resolution for the bar is to sell more neat spirits: more flights, more rum, more mezcal, more everything. I love cocktails, but I also love educating people on the awesome spirits that come from other countries. I think spirits really exemplify the different personalities and characters of the countries that they’re from. I guess other than that, I resolve to get more bar fit. It’s so important to take care of our bodies so we can continue this for a long time!” Ivy Mix, Leyenda, New York
“I’ll always be pouring good drinks which taste like the place where I’m working, but mostly I resolve to spend less time analyzing drinks and more time sipping them with the people who matter in my life.” Jeff Grdinich, Angeline, New Orleans
“I’m fresh off a trip to London, and had an incredible experience. So many of those bars truly embrace each and every detail of their process, yet they manage the tempo of service so effectively. My resolution is to be more like that. I want to elevate my hospitality through better research, better preparation and improved delivery. I will still be fast (the ever important American standard), but I want to push my critical perspective beyond the standard of speed and think outside the box. I also resolve to use umami-rich ingredients more in cocktails.” Anthony Schmidt, Fairweather, San Diego
“I resolve to drink more rum—I don’t think I worked quite enough into my 2015 regimen—and probably also a bit more mezcal. Along with that, I want to dial in my Spanish so I can better enjoy my time while traveling.” Charles Joly, Crafthouse Cocktails, Chicago