December Bartender of the Month: Kevin Tam
Name: Kevin Tam
Establishment Name: Craft Beer Market in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Recent Gigs: Tam began his journey in the industry in college, starting as a bartender’s assistant at Dante’s, a restaurant and pub. He soon made the jump over to a nightclub called The Bank, owned by Oil City Hospitality. Tam subsequently worked in five bars owned by Oil City as a bartender and liquor manager. He then bartended at Chop Steakhouse and Bar, a fine casual restaurant. These days, Tam is a busy guy: He currently serves as the head bartender at Craft Beer Market in Calgary and has started his own consulting company for bar owners called Night Club Marketing Systems, where he trains nightclub entrepreneurs on best business practices. Also an author, his first book, "Night Club Marketing Systems — How to Get Customers For Your Bar," is available on his website at www.nightclubmarketingsystems.com.
What’s in the Shaker: "Van Gogh Espresso Vodka and Kold Draft ice. It’s simple, commonly requested and tastes amazing. After you shake the vodka with some great ice (and that’s why I recommend using Kold Draft ice cubes), the vodka takes on a creamy consistency. The chilled temperature, combined with the slight dilution from the shaking, takes the perfect amount of bite away and creates a smooth, but strong, shot."
What You’re Sipping & Why: "I am a vodka man. Always have been, always will be. My favourite is a Belvedere Vodka, mixed with purified still water, with three Kold Draft ice cubes, served in a Stella Artois glass with a fresh lime wedge. I love this drink because it’s pure. I like to taste my vodka, and purified water is the best mix that takes the least amount away from it. The Kold Draft ice cubes are also great because they look amazing, take a long time to melt and are made from pure water. It also hydrates me as I drink and leaves me less hung over the next morning. I’d also like to add that drinking out of any glass that is shaped like a chalice is cool — hence why I choose the Stella Artois glass."
What You are Dancing to While Mixing: "These days I’m more into classic tunes like Rick James, 'Give it to me Baby'; Journey, 'Midnight Train'; and Billy Ocean’s 'Carribean Queen.' These tracks always get the crowd going and that gives me great energy to feed off of while I am pouring drinks."
Quirks & Quotable: "Reputation is more important than money. If you develop a great reputation in the industry as a reliable, honest and effective bartender, you will always find opportunities to make money. Not all money is good money. Many shady bartenders come into the industry looking to make a quick buck at the expense of owners, co-workers and customers, but none of them ever last for the long-term."