Man, Sabrina Kershaw is a good bartender. Although, one of my favorite things about her is not necessarily her cocktail making speed and skill, but that after work she can be caught drinking a Bud Light Lime. Locally, she is behind the bar at Citizen, but here she gives us a glimpse of the apprentice system at Tales of the Cocktail:
7 days 60 strangers or my week as a CAP:
Like many other bartenders in town, I went to New Orleans at the end of July to attend Tales of The Cocktail. However I did not spend my time attending seminars and hanging out at the carousel bar (ok I did a little of that). Instead I spent my time in the pastry kitchen of the Hotel Monteleone with 50 crazy people who are now some of my best friends.
Every year 100's of people from around the world apply to be a part of the Cocktail Apprentice Program. There are 50 spots, with some of those reserved for senior apprentices who have been in the program before (i.e. me). We spend the week batching cocktails and garnishes for all the seminars as well as some of the special events that go on throughout the week (think Ramos gin fizz for 150 people).
Each morning the kitchen begins to fill up with people and bright orange 5 gallon buckets around 8am and the work ends at around 6pm. To give you a rough idea of the scale of batching going on; the last day of batching consisted of 170 gallons of punch, 3,000 lime pieces for garnish, 3,000 lemon twists for garnish, and 600 pieces of ginger, amongst a slew of other cocktails being prepared that day.
Why would anyone want to spend their time at Tales working right? Here's why I do it:
this is the best way I have found to bond with fellow bar enthusiasts by far. Stick a bunch of strangers together for a week with a common goal: make sure every seminar goes as planned and starts on time.
We work hard, and we definitely play harder. No one can quite understand what the week was like for us CAPs, but what I can tell you is I left with 50 new friends, an only slightly damaged liver, fond (if only partially remembered) memories and a new tattoo.
And just in case you are still wondering what a day in the life of a CAP is like, here is "Wha ha happened"...
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