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Bartenders Follow These Superstitions To Concoct Their Best Drinks

bar superstitions

Oh yes, bartenders are a superstitious lot! Afterall, drinking traditions have origins in days of folklore and legend. While tending bar in pubs and taverns, expert bartenders have come up with quirky and amusing superstitions to ward off bad luck, keep away evil spirits, ensure good business and most importantly, to serve drinks of the finest calibre. For a bartender, mixing a delicious drink is no different than a painter creating a masterwork. And as with every form of artistic or cultural enterprise, bartending too comes with its set of beliefs.

There are so many different superstitions surrounding bartending—from throwing out the first drink to get rid of impurities in the liquor to tapping the bar during centuries of conflict to check for hidden compartments carrying weapons or any other manner of subterfuge. Bartenders also frown upon whistling at the bar because it might be a sign of squandering away wealth or attracting too much negativity.

Bartending Superstitions

Beliefs surrounding the items kept at a bar are many. For instance, many bartenders keep a rabbit’s foot or black cats in bars to ward off evil. Cultures and geography also influence traditions around maintaining the liquor cabinet: in some regions, placing a wine bottle upside down on a bar is considered good luck, in others it is an omen of doom. 

bartenders and superstitions

Some bartenders also prefer to purposely spill a drink, as a sign of good luck. There’s a persisting belief that bartenders must pour drinks with their right hand and of never handing out an empty glass. If that’s not enough, bartenders empty a liquor bottle on the floor or in a separate container. The last drop in a bottle is never poured out to a customer! 

And when it comes to mixing drinks, bartenders love the number three. They stir a drink three times for good luck, prefer adding three olives to a dirty martini and enjoy mixing a cocktail with three ingredients because it is a marker of happy tidings. 

Apparel Beliefs

Some of the most renowned bartenders in America held quirky superstitions while mixing drinks. An article on Bartender Training brilliantly elucidates how Ada Coleman, the famous bartender of The Savoy and the inventor of the Hanky Panky always wore a corsage while she mixed a drink, for good luck. Jerry Thomas, known for creating some of the most versatile and complex cocktails in mixology history would don a red vest and a lucky gold watch whenever he tended bar.

Barware Superstitions 

Bartenders, like every other artist, share a special relationship with the tools of their trade. Some believe that placing a strainer on the bar top brings bad luck and always place it on the shaker instead. But this could simply be to avoid dirtying the strainer on an untidy bar surface. Many times, bartenders also keep a shaker in their hand until the mixing is complete because setting it down midway is considered bad luck.

bartenders superstitions

When it comes to muddlers, bartenders are wary of lending them to others and often tap them three times on the counter to bring good luck. Many also use wooden instead of metal muddlers and are very sure that those used for crushing mint to make mojitos carry an extra piece of good luck. 

Ingredient And Spirit Superstitions

Mixologists and bartenders would add a mint sprig to your drink to bring good luck and money and lemon to ward off evil spirits. They would incorporate basil for prosperity and nutmeg for health and happiness. Ginger in your drink spells luck and wealth along with a spicy kick and cloves create a circle of protection around the drinker.

And while drinking beer, bartenders will want you to make a clink sound to scare off evil spirits and advocate drinking red wine for good luck and prosperity. 

So, when you next visit a bar and see a bartender shaking a drink on their left side or spilling a few drops on the floor, don’t be alarmed. It is all in favour of bringing you amazing fortune and attracting the bar with good business!

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