Hi, my name is Denzel and over the next couple of months I will be sharing my bartending experiences abroad while I travel the globe in search of the best drinks, bars and bartenders. Although I wish that this was truth rather than fiction and that someone would actually fork out the dollars for me to do this for a living (hint, hint), the reality of the situation is that I am forever boarding international flights at OR Tambo in pursuit of education. On the one side I am an educator and on the other an eager student of the art of producing, mixing and serving the water of life.
In the past 9 months I have travelled to over 7 countries and over the next couple of months, expect inserts from my diary from New Orleans, New York City, Mauritius, Ghana, Uganda and Namibia. The long and the sort of it is, I earn loads of flyer miles, while spending endless amounts of time trying to explain to my wife that I do not just travel and party all the time! Truth be told, she actually supports my cause to uplift the service levels in bars across Africa, while trying to turn a modest profit for my employers, Thirst Bar Academy.
Today I find myself in sunny Cairo, the capital of Egypt – a largely Muslim community of teetotallers. Quite the contrast, as I am a Christian who has been known to enjoy a little fire water from time to time. That aside, after spending 10 hours at passport control I arrived safely at the prestigious, brand spanking new Starwood Hotel, the Le Meridien, Cairo Airport. What I want to share with you during this insert is less about what I am here to do, but rather what I find myself doing when I am done with that!
As a student of bartending, I am forever trying to keep my finger on the industry pulse. I will be the first to say, that bartenders today have it easy with informative magazines like MUDL, CLASS and IMBIBE and the continuous bombardment of news letters from Liquor.com, Drinks International and Gaz Regan's Ardent Spirits, not to even mention social media platforms, blogs and discussion forums. Poor lads like Harry Cradock and the Professor, Jerry Thomas, had zero Facebook friends and no access to Google. How did they do it?
Lately I have noticed a number of articles written about Android Applications from Apps that deliver booze to your doorstep, to Apps that connect you to fellow bartenders in your local community. Because I am a phone fanatic and not because I am a sheep that follows the trends, I thought it well to share what I have on my phone. Apps that keep the curious mind of the bartender occupied during that painstaking 10 hour passport control scenarios and others that help me during that embarrassing moment when I forget what goes into a Bramble – it happens to the best of us.
So without further ado, I present to you, The Travelling Bartender's Top FREE Bar Apps:
For the discerned bar nerd, there is no better App to keep you occupied while occupying the porcelain throne. This App allows you to download Imbibe Magazines as far back as 2011 and as recent as May/June 2014. This magazine, by editor Chris Losh, is jam packed with all you need to know about what is current in the industry of alcohol.
|2. Logo Quiz: Spirits, Beer, Wine
It's better than Angry Birds and you learn as you go! If you have never played one of the Logo Quiz-type games, you are in for multiple hours (assuming you don't know all of the brands) of fun and all at the slide of the thumb! The app allows you to make a calculated guess as to what the name of a brand is by presenting its logo while editing out imperative brand information.
|3. Cocktail Flow
Cocktail Flow is your basic 'cocktail book' app, but what sets it apart from others is that you can load the different categories of spirits that you have to your disposal, which makes it perfect for the home cocktail concocter. Another feature I appreciate is that it allows you to select cocktails by colour, base and type and therefore gives the general consumer the opportunity to reveal when a 'wanna-be' mixologist has designed a menu at your local watering hole.
Yes, I said it! Because there is nothing better than acting like you are drinking a beer at 8am in the morning, by holding your smart phone by your mouth and acting like you are gulping it down. And that's all I have to say about that! Except for, remember to wipe your top lip with your sleeve to really sell it to the audience.
|5. Onthebar BETA
Onthebar is a cross between Facebook and Foursquare, but exclusively for bartenders. I really like this one. It allows you to create a Bar Profile, sign in when you are on shift for all other bartenders to see when you are behind the stick. Another great feature is that it allows the user to see other bartenders that are on shift in the close proximity. So whether you are a globetrotting bartender looking for the nearest gin palace in some foreign country or a bartender looking for the comfort that only another local liquid slinger can provide, this app is for you!
And that's all from my diary for this time! Until next time, keep mixing!
The Travelling Bartender (Denzel Heath)