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A Cocktail Kind of Christmas

By HannahFriday 16th December 2016

National Bartender Appreciation Day

National Bartender Appreciation Day is celebrated annually around the world – We know that our lovely guests like to sit back and enjoy a long drink or two when onboard with us, so we thought that we’d catch up with our Beverage Operations Supervisor, Joseph Foster, and ask him some questions we’ve always wanted to know the answers to…

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Hi Joseph. Great to speak to you! How long have you been working behind the bar with Royal Caribbean?

I first started working as a bartender for Royal nearly six years ago.

Tell us about your career choice; what path led you to choosing to bartend for Royal Caribbean?

Having worked in hospitality from a young age, I wanted to venture out and take on the next challenge in my career. I had flirted with the idea of working on a cruise ship for some time, then after a particularly cold winter at home, I started the application process and found myself on a ship a few months later!

What is your favourite cocktail to make for Royal Caribbean guests?

This is a drink that takes a lot of care to create properly. During the time it takes to make, you can interact with the guests at your counter and get to know them – when made correctly, you know you have a guest for the whole cruise! It’s a very simple drink to make, but difficult to master.

Old Fashioned

Ingredients

Brown Sugar
Bitter
Bourbon
Orange Zest

Steps

1. Start with brown sugar, with a few dashes of bitter.
2. Add a measure of Bourbon and two ice cubes, then stir until they’ve very nearly melted.
3. Add another two cubes with another measure of bourbon and stir until the ice is melting.
4. Taste the mix, making sure the sweetness and the water are complimenting the whiskey. Once you are happy with the result, you need to pack the glass with ice to stop the melting process.
5. Garnish with a large orange zest.

What do you enjoy most about working behind the bar with Royal Caribbean?

For me, the best thing is the reward of guest recognition. If a family takes the time to come and thank you in person during their cruise, then you know you’ve impacted their holiday in a way that holds real value to them. Even if you see them again a year or so later, some guests still remember us! Being part of people’s memories is so rewarding; this is why I work in hospitality.

What personal qualities would you say a bartender needs in order to do their job well?

You have to be confident. We’re in front of people all day, every day and we can encounter any kind of situation. If you can think of it, I’ve probably dealt with it.

What is your favourite “classic” drink/cocktail?

As I mentioned, it has to be the Old Fashioned. The problem is, it takes that much time and effort to make that once you finish making it, you always need a beer!

If you could choose one Royal Caribbean destination to visit and sit back with a cocktail, which one would it be?

I’ve visited Australia and the South Pacific, but never had the pleasure of visiting New Zealand. If I could revisit anywhere in particular, it would be Argentina and Brazil – when I visited those destinations, I was new to cruise ships and didn’t really know how to make the most of them!

What is your best tip when making a delicious cocktail?

Enjoy what you are doing, like what you’re making and use quality products! Those are the three things that take a drink to the next level. Quality is important, as is the freshness of ingredients and using items that are in season. Always aim to please the senses at every stage when it comes to making an enjoyable drink. First comes the visuals; your eyes are the first to experience the drinks, then the nose gets a shot (the smell of the drink or the garnish), then the last to enjoy the drink is the mouth – the scrumptious taste of the cocktail! If each of these three steps are a hit, you know that you’ve achieved your goal.

What makes working at Royal Caribbean unique?

Life on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship is unique in every way. The first thing is the ship’s culture; seeing people from all over the world working and living together with very little friction is an amazing culture to be a part of. I’ve shared cabins with people from over a dozen countries, which has meant that I’ve learnt so much about people, cultures, and our guests. Ultimately, I think that this has helped me grow as a person. The staff onboard work hard, and because of this we now know how to utilize our time at sea; if you have two hours off in a port, we go out and make the most out of it, even if just for a spot of lunch or a chance to swim in the sea. We make the most of every second of free time!

Fancy a tipple? Find out more about the bars onboard before booking your trip!

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