Antonio Barnett puts his heart in every mix
If you've ever sat at a bar and watched a skilled bartender do his thing, then you know how easy it is to be mesmerised, and even a little jealous.
Flairtending, deftly managing multiple orders, smoothly and precisely pouring drinks, all while interacting with customers. Behind every technique is years of training and skill, invaluable knowledge and sheer passion.
Antonio Barnett is one bartender who pours his heart and soul into every cocktail. Now working as the shift manager at A-Bar Restaurant and Lounge, he supervises up-and-coming bartenders and helps them to hone their craft.
" If you don't have the passion, then it will show in the presentation of what you make and how you carry yourself," said Barrett, who has been a bartender since 2008.
He said that he always wanted to be in hospitality, but his sights were set on being in the kitchen rather then behind a counter.
"I wanted to be a chef, so I got a job at a restaurant as a waiter. One day, I went to the bar to assist and I liked it a lot. I've never left it since. After working as a bartender for several years, I got promoted to bar manager and then to shift manager," he said.
Barrett said that excellent service delivery is at the heart of being a good bartender. He said that the role of training should never be understated as it is essential to giving customers an awesome experience.
A Red Stripe's Bar Academy alumnus, Barrett describes himself as a mixologist.
"I love to tweak recipes and make them my own, or make something that the customer will enjoy. I am always engaging with different people and personalities who share their experiences and problems with me. It is like I become a counsellor for some guests, because they just want someone to listen, and a bartender usually is that person," Barrett said.
He added: "My bartending trick is to find out what the customer generally likes and use that information to create something brand new for new that I think they would like. That usually brightens up their day. When that happens, I am happy."