Tough New Schools Shake Up Bartending
Restaurants, liquor firms aim to gussy up drinks
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 14, 2009 9:08 AM CDT
In this Wednesday, March 18, 2009 file photo, a businessman looks over the lunch menu while bartender Mark Cannella serves him at Cannella's Restaurant in Salt Lake City.    (AP Photo/Steve C. Wilson)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – In a tough economy, restaurants are hoping to cash in on cocktails—and bartenders are going back to school to improve their mixology prowess, the Wall Street Journal reports. Restaurants hope expert barkeeps will bring in upscale drinkers, and the courses help trainees score top jobs. But the advanced-level programs are “no walk in the park,” says a designer.

Most American bartenders learn their trade on the fly; unlike bartending schools, the new courses assume prior experience. An offering from the US Bartenders’ Guild earns graduates a “master mixologist” accreditation—after 2 years of study and a written thesis. The courses “fill a creative need,” says one student. “It sounds a little cheesy, but the shaker is really a canvas.”