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NCB Author

Robert Plotkin

Contributing Editor


Robert Plotkin

A judge at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Robert Plotkin recently authored his 16th book, Secrets Revealed of America’s Greatest Cocktails. See his site at www.BarMedia.com.


Robert Plotkin Blog
Is Stress Killing Your Staff?   September 12, 2011
By: Robert Plotkin

Karoshi. It’s the Japanese word for working oneself to death. Whether you realize it or not, some of your bartenders may be committing karoshi on a nightly basis. There are a number of things you can do to help alleviate the stress affecting your bartending staff:

McDonnell Article
Duggan McDonnell, the Perfector of Pisco   September 12, 2011
By: Robert Plotkin

Looking to build a successful career? If so, there’s a great deal you can learn from tracking the unfaltering rise of Duggan McDonnell, who has spent the better part of his life behind bars honing his craft and palate.

Muddler Article
Muddling for Fresh Profits   September 12, 2011
By: Robert Plotkin

The truth about drink making is that the fresher the ingredients, the more enjoyable the cocktail. Mixologists and bar chefs are increasingly reaching for the bar muddler when looking to elevate their cocktails to new heights.

Whiskey Article
Irish Whiskeys Sizzle With Contemporary Appeal   August 29, 2011
By: Robert Plotkin

Ireland’s standards of quality are so high, there is no such thing as a mediocre Irish whiskey. When demand for super-premium spirits is soaring, Irish whiskeys are hot commodities. The strategy is clear: Give the people what they want and order more barstools.

Cocktail Advice Article
Cocktail Advice From the Pros   August 29, 2011
By: Robert Plotkin

If you only had one opportunity to pass on three pieces of advice to a rookie bartender about making cocktails, what would they be? Be prepared rookies, many of the pros' answers may well surprise you.

Dollar Article
Driving Profits in a Slow Economy   August 29, 2011
By: Robert Plotkin

Even if people drink during good times and bad, the odds are your customers have less money in their pockets now than they did last year. As discretionary income slowly evaporates, bars are competing for a dwindling pool of dollars.

Serneels Article
Dean Serneels, The Wizard of Finest Call   August 29, 2011
By: Robert Plotkin

Watching Dean Serneels operate behind a bar is a graduate-level education. Serneels is one of those rare individuals who defines a bartender’s role as satisfying the wants and needs of his guests first, crafting cocktails a distant second.

Colorady Whiskey Article
Class of 2011: The Hottest New Backbar Prospects   August 15, 2011
By: Robert Plotkin

There increasingly are more genuinely enticing spirits on our nation’s backbars. Coupled with the resurgence of the cocktail, there has never been a better time to imbibe.

Employee Handbook Article
Are You and Your Staff on the Same Page?   August 15, 2011
By: Robert Plotkin

Buy a new car, and they give you an owner’s manual. Get hired as a bartender or food server, though, and all you’ll likely get are a few training shifts and a printout of house policies. In today’s litigious society, that’s far from adequate.

Sean Ludford Article
Sean Ludford, the 'George Bernard Shaw of Alcohol'   August 15, 2011
By: Robert Plotkin

I first met Sean Ludford at the 2005 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, where his Irish wit and unfailing appreciation of everything spirituous stole the show.



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