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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

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.

Inventory Article
Tracking Inventory: A Profit Paper Trail   August 15, 2011
By: Robert Plotkin

To be financially successful, you need to know what inventory you have, how much you paid for it and exactly where it is at any point in time. The following tips can help track every product through the inventory cycle:

Robert Plotkin Blog
Seven Steps to Building Repeat Business   August 12, 2011
By: Robert Plotkin

Want to double the volume of business you’re doing at the bar? Gimmicks and slick promotions won’t get you there. The only tried-and-true way to accomplish your goal is to convert first-time visitors into regular clientele.

Robert Plotkin Article
Plot Your Territory   August 5, 2011
By: Robert Plotkin

While there’s no such thing as the perfectly designed bar, some are much easier to work than others. Here are some operating tips that will positively impact revenue.

Orange Pisco Sour Article
The Second Coming of Pisco   August 1, 2011
By: Robert Plotkin

The ongoing cocktail renaissance has propelled pisco into the limelight and onto American backbars. Bartenders on both coasts have come to appreciate its unrivaled mixability and universally appealing character.

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