The Victor Tangos bartender has been at it for just about a decade. In that time he's seen a lot: the rise of hard door clubs and bottle service, the resurgence of old school cocktails, good times and bad.
But it's almost as if Bedell was born into the business. The Dallas native started his service industry career as a host at Don Pablo's, way back in 1996.
He was 15 back then. Now he's a seasoned professional, with time at places like Cuba Libre when it was the go-to hotspot. A few years with Tristam Simon's Consilient group will teach you a lot. For instance, bartenders get the girl--he knows that.
But what it really take to be a professional is knowing when not to join the party...
1. Do you like the term 'mixologist'? Um, I don't know. It's not my favorite term.. It comes off kind of cheesy, but it gets the message across, too. It tries to say it's more than bartending. But I don't call myself a mixologist. I call myself a bartender.
2. So what defines these new, trendy cocktails? Different flavors and a freshness and quality of ingredients. But it's not just new cocktails. There are also things brought back to life that people haven't seen in a long time.
3. Why did some of the classics fade away? I think the art form was lost somewhere along the way. Prohibition killed a lot of things. It's taken a long time coming back around. But, you know--when you have an Old Fashioned made the right way, it's a great drink.
4. What's your opinion of all these flavored vodkas out now? Some are good, some are bad. It's like walking a tightrope--you can get the flavor of lime from a real lime. You don't need lime-flavored vodka. But some of them are useful.
5. Going back to the classics--how long did it take to relearn them? I've done this for about ten years. But some of them...Well, learning to measure was the hardest part. But it was interesting to learn the art. Now, making them fast is hard, too.
6. So how long does it take to be a professional bartender? You know, about three or four years. You come into this very green. You need to get comfortable and there's a lot to learn: motions, consolidation, things people don't see that make you good.
7. How many give up before they get to that point? It's probably a 50-50 trade. People think it's fun until they get to the real, constant 3 a.m. closings. Maybe I've overstated the odds. I guess I've outlasted a lot of people.
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8. And getting used to the lifestyle? Not that long, really. The hardest part is getting to the age where you are mature enough not to party all the time.
9. Now, do bartenders have better luck with women than us guys on this side of the bar? You know, it depends on the bartender. Some of them can work pretty well. I think we do stand a better chance, most of the time. Women like bartenders, for some reason.
10. Do you ever feel sorry for us? No, not at all. Go get a part time job behind a bar.