There have been a number of very interesting blogs in the cocktail world lately that are rather interesting and make important points for bartenders to keep in mind.
The premise of this article is that there are too many new cocktails being made and not enough emphasis on learning the basic drinks. Brown describes how the creativity that many of today's bartenders are relying on is getting out of control. Sure, it's great to create a new drink, and I'm one of the first people who will encourage it, however if your creation of new drinks is a priority over perfecting or learning many of the standard and classic drinks then you are missing out, as are your customers. The article is a good read and Brown makes a great point. I especially appreciate his tips for breaking this habit, with the 90/10 rule being my favorite:
The 90/10 Rule
This rule was born with a simple proposition. For every cocktail you create, try learning nine classic cocktails first, or 90% of your cocktails should be classics and 10% should be new creations.
The 'Bartender v. Mixologist' debate is an interesting one, a blog I wrote in '08 is still alive with active debate and my own opinions have evolved over the years. Chris Milligan's post from this weekend makes a fine point in this debate: the two titles have two different meanings and the 'bartender' has a job beyond mixing great drinks. The bartender is in control of the bar, watches and analyzes people, does a hundred things at once, and still manages to keep everyone imbibing. Milligan has explained the role of the bartender better than most I have seen and I highly recommend reading this article, especially if you are contemplating a career behind the bar.