People pleasers, performers, stars of the show. Though mixologists seem to fit this description to the letter, their skill is far more reaching. The modern day bartender must create and fine tune cocktail recipes, be knowledgeable about wide ranging spirits and become a working member of a seamlessly well oiled team. These qualities and sprinklings of others have been a common thread of repetition to the 2010 42Below Cocktail World Cup competitors this week in New Zealand.
Jim Meehan spoke to this crowd of rock star bartenders and their entourage of support ‘groupies’ at a summit discussion Thursday morning. One point made was the importance of teamwork. This particular point couldn’t have been demonstrated more clearly than in the ‘Ready, Steady, Shake’ mystery ingredient challenge from the previous day.
The competition required teams to create a cocktail within a select amount of time from a secret box of ingredients. Under pressure to create something from nothing is no small task. Three bartenders with differing approach to cocktail creation throws yet another added demand into the process. Place them within a confined space behind a bar and ‘Ready, Steady, Shake’ could be the certain mix for disaster. Rather than all fingers in the mix, the notable factor became the teams who came to the table with plan in motion with teamwork in mind. Three members: all to brainstorm, one prepping, one mixing, one making garnish. It is this style of teamwork and forethought that begin the winning combination for not only these competitors and their teams, but for them to carry into the future for their bars.
Jim Meehan encouraged these ‘rock star’ bartenders to take to heart the point of the 42Below Cocktail World Cup 2010 competition – step out of one’s comfort zone and work as a team. Perhaps the jolt of body extremes such as bungee jumping to cure jet lag, Shotover Jet Mocktail competitions and a day of extreme sport activities as a team are the bigger lesson to get the brain moving in the right direction for creative thinking.