Spa Water & Liquor Liability from an Alabama Wedding Bartender


In our many years behind the stick, one thing has stood out as the most important to our guests. Safety. Our clients hire us to create elegant, inspired cocktails for their events and we say when and where. However, many clients don’t realize of the back-end responsibility their Alabama wedding bartender holds. The controversy of alcohol liability is one we are quite familiar with. Although we haven’t had any issues in our company as of yet, the reality is all too true.

We’ve all heard the sad stories of a guests that may have celebrated a little too much, only to drive and damage their vehicle. This scenario can be pretty harrowing on all accounts as not only the guests stress and strain, but once insurance becomes involved, an assessor may claim fault on the party, the venue, or even the party thrower. This is why is it of utmost importance to make sure your beverage caterer is insured with a full Liquor Liability Policy as well as General Liability, Workmans Comp, and all proper licenses and permits.

Luckily The Bar Hops carries each and everyone of these at every event, in and out of the state, we service. Our staff, unlike many caterers,  also goes through rigorous training and Nationally recognized Responsible Alcohol Vendor Programs so you can rest assured you and your guests are covered on every basis. We continue to work with the Alabama ABC to update our policies and procedures when needed to ensure you never have to worry about unforeseen accidents. Do not fall victim to fly by night companies! Your friend down the street may be the best shot maker/taker you’ve ever seen, however these bartenders, although you may save a buck, can put you in debt faster than you can finish a drink, and you may not find out until weeks later. Responsibility for your guests alcohol consumption, last not only during the event, but until 24 hours after the event!

One way to satisfy the party without putting a damper on the fun is handcrafted non-alcoholic cocktails…or mocktails if you will. We have created several menus that include mocktail renditions to soothe the effects of your consumption and always carry a non alcoholic option, just in case. Heres an easy one we enjoy serving, with an alcoholic twist if you are brave. Be careful and consume responsibly my friends.

Spa Water

2 Cucmbers (sliced)
4 Lemons (sliced)
3 Handfuls Fresh Mint Leaves
6-8 Blackberries
Capful Rosewater

1. Add all ingredients to a large beverage dispenser.
2. Add 5 gallons distilled water.
3. Let sit overnight in refrigerator.
4. Serve over ice. Garnish with mint sprig.

Spa-radic Rickey

4 oz Spa Water (carbonated)
1.5 oz Unlce Vals Botanicle Gin
0.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Dash Rhubarb Bitters

1. Using either an ISI Soda Siphon or a Sodastream Machine, Carbonate your spa water.
2. Add Gin, Lime Juice, Ice, and carbonated spa water to a rocks glass.
3. Dash Bitters and garnish with mint and lime wedge.
4. Imbibe.

Don’t fall victim to untrained, inexperienced, uninsured Alabama Wedding Bartender s!

A Refined Razorback

This is a little twist on a Bar Hops original. Our Alabama Bartenders collaborated specifically with Infinium Spirits on this on for the Swine and Wine Pork Festival VIP Bar and it worked so well I thought I needed to share it with you all. This is a simple cocktail that can wow even the most skeptical of guests. Since our debut of this version of the Razorback, we’ve gotten enough requests that this cocktail will most definitely be in our next book.

This cocktail requires the use of a cold-smoker. I specifically use a PolyScience Smoking Gun, which is also convenient that the sell the hickory chips used for this cocktail. If you do not have one access to one of these the next best thing is to find some hickory and start burning it under a glass to trap the smoke…..but thats crazy….just buy the dang smoker and follow the instructions below.


What you will need:

  • A portable cold smoker
  • Hickory Chips
  • Lighter
  • A glass bottle with cap(to trap smoke in)
  • Mixing glass with spoon
  • 2 oz Templeton Rye
  • 1/4 oz Grade B Maple Syrup
  • 1 Orange
  • Bacon Salt (1 part Cooked Bacon crushed into fine granuals to 1 Kosher salt to 1/2 part ground black pepper)
  • Big Ice Chunk almost the size of the glass

1. First off grab your Templeton and put 2 oz into your glass bottle
2. Next take the smoking gun and add hickory chips into the bowl
3. Take the tube on the smoker and place it inside the glass bottle. Fire up the gun and light the hickory on fire
4. When your bottle has filled up with smoke, turn off the smoker, take the tube out and cap the bottle
5. We do not want to over smoke this so shake this bottle up and down only a couple of times, this will incorporate our smoke flavor
6. Pour out the whiskey into a mixing glass and add the Maple Syrup
7. Prepare a rocks glass by dipping half of the rim into Maple Syrup and then into the Bacon Salt you’ve made
8. Stir the whiskey in your mixing glass with ice for 30 revolutions and strain into the glass
9. Add a big chunk of ice and take a large swath of orange peel and using your lighter heat the oils on the peel and after a few seconds squeeze the peel to release the oils into the glass
10. Finalize by wrapping the orange peel around the big chunk of ice and enjoy


Have at it Alabama Bartenders!

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Hot Buttered Rum

 Since its that time of year again I thought I might as well do a warm libation from this ole Alabama Bartender…..enter Hot Buttered Rum.

I was recently out in Colorado when I saw this long forgotten in my mind cocktail. Sipping on this velvety libation brought me back to years past when I remember sitting around a fire covered in blankets, sucking down warm cider and listening to my Uncle tell us stories of wizards and dragons. Weird now that I think about it, he wasn’t really a story kind of guy except that one time…..and he always took really nasally naps…..not important.

What is important is that this type of tipple can bring back all sorts memories and nostalgia because it is in fact a holiday kind of drink. Rum, Butter, Hot…..what else do you need? Anyway on to the recipe


  • 2 oz Dark Rum (I like Zaya‘s vanilla qualities)
  • 1 oz Water
  • 2 tbsp Soft Butter
  • 1 tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh Grated Nutmeg
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 Clove


1. In a small sauce pan put the water on a low heat
2. Add the Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Salt, Brown Sugar, and Clove
3. In a mug add the Butter and Rum
4. Let the water simmer for about 2 minutes and take off the heat
5. Add to the the mug
6. Grate a little fresh Nutmeg over the top for good meassure
7. Get under a blanket in front of a fire and tell stories of yore while you imbibe


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As close as this Birmingham Bartender is to the origin of the first Sazerac, I find that many of the patrons in my Alabama bars haven’t the slightest clue about this excellent libation…..So first, a little history.

The Sazerac was one of the earliest American cocktails and is a favorite in New Orleans. A bar by the same name, located on Royal Street, regularly served this drink until the 1920 Prohibition shut it down. But today you can still find plenty of Sazeracs in New Orleans.

The story of the Sazerac, according to Imbibe Magazine author David Wondrich, is too mired in myth to know what is and is not true. Though it was recorded in the 12th century the story behind it is the stuff of legend. In his book, Wondrich says that it was originally  made with Sazerac de Forget et fils cognac which no longer is made. The Sazerac Company offers this bit of history.


 “Before there was a  company, there was a drink. Antoine Peychaud, a Creole immigrant, operated a pharmacy on the French Quarter’s Royal Street in 1838. With his background as an apothecary, he was a natural mixologist. His friends would gather for late-night revelry at his pharmacy. Peychaud would mix brandy, absinthe and a dash of his secret bitters for his guests. Later this quaff would come to be known as the Sazerac.”

 According to legend he served his drink in the large end of an egg cup. You can read more about the history at the website

¼ ounce of simple syrup (1:1)
3 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
2 ounces rye whiskey (I like Templeton)
¼ ounce Herbsaint or other absinthe
Lemon zest

1. Fill an Old Fashioned glass with ice and set aside to chill.
2. In a mixing glass add the simple syrup, rye, and Peychaud’s followed by ice and stir to chill for 30 revolutions
3. Next, empty the Old Fashioned glass of ice and swirl the ¼ ounce of absinthe in to coat the inside, pouring out the excess.
4. Strain the drink mix into the Old Fashioned glass that has been chilled.
5. Squeeze a large swath of lemon peel over the glass to release its oils and discard.
6. Now enjoy that Sazerac you crawdad eatin’ cajun.

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Ramos Gin Fizz

Ahhh, the Ramos Fizz….the classic New Orleans breakfast shake…..I go through bouts of ordering Bloodys and Greyhounds at breakfast because quite honestly I know that bartender is hating being there just as much as I would and is quite possibly nursing a hangover. So to not complicate their life anymore and also to avoid me waiting 20 minutes with a “stank-eyed” Birmingham AL bartender staring me down, I choose to only order the Ramos when I know the person behind the bar is training someone and they need to bring on some hazing.

This drink recipe has become more legend than fact since it originated in 1888, but the brief story is Henry C. Ramos and his brother ran a saloon in New Orlean in the late 1800’s. It was a time when New Orleans was booming with tourism, not that its ever really stopped, but to cash in on the droves of new customers Henry turned the making of this drink into a show. Forming long lines of 5 or more barbacks to shake his cocktails that took near 20 minutes to finish. This production does actually have a purpose other than a big show. The egg whites and cream need time to emulsify and create a frothy meringue…..this in fact gets better the longer its shaken. There is a bar hack however, but you should at least do it the right way first. There is also, shrouded in mystery, a secret ingredient. I can’t speak to the validity of, however it is speculated by several modern day spirit authorities that a vanilla extract or tincture would fit the profile. This recipe is banking on that.

  • 1 1/2 oz. gin (I use a light, floral gin such as Bristow from Cathead Vodka’s Distillery)
  • 1 Tbsp. powdered suger
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 fresh egg white
  • 1 oz heavy cream
  • 2 drops orange flower water
  • 1 drop vanilla extract(preferably homemade….heres a recipe)
  • 1 oz soda, chilled
  • Collins glass

1. In a large shaker compile everything except the soda water.
2. Do not add ice! You want to dry shake this first to start incorporating all the ingredients. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds
3. *#barhacks
4. Now you can add the ice. I’ve found that large ice cubes work best here. Hard shaky, shaky, shaky…..
5. Shaky, Shaky Shaky…..
7. is it 20 minutes yet? Go at least one more minute
8. Grab that Collins glass and go ahead and strain it into the glass and don’t throw out that ice!
9. Take the soda and pour out a few ounces into the shaker over the used ice. Give it a swirl & top the glass with soda and ice.
10. Keep building that meringue up with a straw until it overflows.You can garnish with an orange peel if you like. Enjoy.

*if you must have a RGF so quick you have to call it a RGF, you can use a milk frother before icing up for a couple minutes until it starts to build up in the shaker. You will need to ice and shake afterward, but only for a couple minutes.

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Basil Lemon Martini

Summer is here and we AL Bartenders need a kick on that afternoon heat. Here comes the Basil Lemon Martini…..We have been experimenting with some new and unusual herbs and spices here as of late and this particular cocktail got our goat. Basil just so happens to be one of my favorite savory herbs, and I tend to use it quite frequently as a fresh garnish in the kitchen. In fact I continued to buy fresh Basil plants at our local farmers market so much, I ended up with a cabinet full of the pots they came in……so instead I went hydro.

I went back and forth wondering if it was a good idea or not for weeks, but I finally ponied up and bought an AeroGarden setup. At first I was still skeptical of this newfangled contraption, but as days past I started to notice how quickly I was in mountains of fresh herbs. I will say upon further research, now I use my own seeds to grow. Since their seed pods sit in a box for months on end, I’ve had a few that either never sprout or grow so slowly they are covered up by the raging bloom of the other plants…..and now I realize I’m ranting….back to the recipe.

In the making of this recipe, I had about 5 different varieties of basil to choose from and found that a few worked better than the others. Genovese basil was my first try sinces its big and bold, but I quickly found the licorice flavors here came on a little too strong for most taste buds. I finally settled on Thai and Lemon basil leaves, but if you have something different you may need to increase or decrease the amount of leaves you use….. Heres the quick recipe.

What you will need (1 drink):

  • 5 Fresh Thai or Lemon Basil Leaves (and the top of one sprig for garnish)
  • 1 Meyer Lemon
  • 1.5 oz Tito’s Handmade vodka
  • 1 Packet granulated sugar
  • 0.25 oz Simple Syrup
  • Muddler
  • Ice
  • Shaker and Martini Glass

1. Start by tearing 5 of the basil leaves in two and throwing them in your shaker
2. Add the sugar packet to the mix
3. Cut the Meyer Lemon in half and squeeze one half into the shaker
4. Muddle the basil leaves making sure to use the coarse sugar to get the most flavor our of them.
5. Add the Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Simple Syrup
6. Add Ice and shake hard for about 15 seconds until you can feel the shaker start to frost on your hand.
7. Strain into a chilled martini glass
8. Make a garnish from the basil sprig and lemon peel. Add garnish, and serve. Salud!


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When I was younger, I typically began a meal with a nice glass of wine, more than likely wine to kind of cleanse the palate and get ready for a light starter. As I started to grow into my Alabama Bartending career I began to have a taste for new and intriguing things, particularly with heavier spirit pours….which if you can imagine, didn’t always end well. But, hey, when you’re just starting out, you’ve got to taste the good with the bad….and there sure was a lot of bad.

That being said, I did come across a few that I still enjoy from time to time and this one in particular I started sipping on at one specific place. That place was “The Club”. Situated above the city in Birmingham, this place was the perfect spot to sit and watch over the city, although you were mainly paying for the view and their white pressed shirts and yes sir, no sir’s made sure you noticed. This was Bob Hopes turf I thought… The bar staff at that time had very little knowledge about any spirit on there back bar and the only reason I was able to order such drink was an older gentleman sitting on one end of the bar. When I approached the bar he had been sitting with his back turned from me only for his ears to perk up when he heard a young man’s voice ordering a Grandma neat (thats Gran Marnier by the way)

As I sat there a few moments, he motioned over the bar and placed his next order.  “Give me a Bond Martini Jim” he gruffed. As I stared I saw the man’s eye twinkle a bit when the bartender pulled out vodka and some swill vermouth. “No. Thats not right Jimbo. Sorry, but you’re going to have to learn someway” although this clearly agitated the barman, he continued to smile and listen “2 parts gin, 1 part vodka, 1 part vermouth…….lemon twist”

As I watched that man sip his fishbowl sized medicine down, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit nostalgic. I had known what the cocktail was, Ian Fleming’s character being one of my favorite childhood heros, but seeing it on silver screen was quite different than seeing it come to life and warm that ole soul. I had to get one to see what all the fuss was about. The recipe I make today is closer to the actual recipe, but in a control state like Alabama Bartending services have to use what they can. So for the longest time, until about a year ago, I only drank them with vermouth to replace the Lillet. Heres the updated recipe:


What you will need(1 drink):

1.5 ounces of Death’s Door Gin
1 ounce of Ciroc Vodka
0.5 ounces Cocchi Americano* (when I originally wrote this I used Lillet Blanc, but after research the Cocchi is the way to go)
1 Lemon
Martini Glass
Shaker Tin

1. Add ice to the martini glass to chill prior to drink mixing
2. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze one half over the ice in the martini glass and toss the rind
3. Take the other half of the lemon and with a knife or fine garnish peeler spiral around the rind twice to create a long thin piece of zest
4. Set the twist aside and add the Gin, Vodka, and Lillet to the shaker tin along with ice and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds
5. Toss out the ice and lemon juice in the martini glass and immediately pour the contents of the shaker in the glass
6. Take the zest and twirl up loosely in one hand over the glass.
7. Warm an exposed part of the peel with your light and squeeze to release  carmelized oil essence
8. Feel like a master of espionage for the next 2 ours!

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Event Bartending Recipes – Razorback

This is a drink The Bar Hops Event Bartending Services came up with for one our client’s wedding recently. In the fall its a great drink to warm you up on those cold nights. If you’re an Arkansas fan then this only adds more of a punch for those winter games, although they put up a show with our Alabama boys in Crimson this year! Grab a pig skin and some pig and some rinds cause this has pork written all over it.

What you will need(1 drink)

2 oz Bourbon(I prefer Four Roses Small Batch)
1/4 oz Maple Syrup
1 Orange
Rocks Glass

1. Pour Maple Syrup into the glass.

2. Top slowly with Bourbon so that it mixes well with the syrup

3. Peel the skin off of the orange and tear out a piece about 1 in. x 3 in.(this can vary, but this is what I consider a twist)

4. Twist the peel over the glass and rim the lip of the glass with it.

5. Drop the peel in and add 2 ice cubes, then enjoy gameday.


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Wedding Bartender Recipes – “Sanz” Gria

Recently one of our clients had and event at a salon and spa and asked a very specific question of us; “I need something refreshing and healthy that will embody living healthy life styles…without alcohol.” Our non-alcoholic list typically contains sodas, juices, water, tea, or lemonade so this was a new challenge for me. I wanted something that showed our skill and our art so I scoured the internet and found juice extracts and blended drinks, but these didn’t satisfy my tastes so I went into the kitchen. Luckily I had several different types of fruit to work with and started to tinker. All the other drinks I had were all way to sweet and way to potent for a light, invigorating refreshment…they were really more like meal supplements. I think I finally found the right ingredients…

What you will need for one pitcher:


1 Liter Soda Water
1 Lemons
1 Orange
1/4 cup Agave Nectar
1 Pear
1 Box Blueberries
1 Peach
6 Mint Sprigs

1.  Go ahead and pour the Soda Water into the pitcher as well as the Agave Nectar.

2. Cut the orange and Lemon in halves and squeeze one half of each into the mix.

3. Take the other halves of the lemon and orange and slice them finely and drop them in.

4. Take 4 of the Mint Sprigs and slap the leaves with the palm of you hand. This will bring out the menthol and don’t worry if they break, we want this. Drop these all in.

5. Take the Pear,  and Peach and cut them into very small cubes and add them. The key is to cut them down to around the size of the Blueberries, that way they are just as edible and provide an energizing treat.

6. Add the Blueberries in and stir.

7. Cover and leave in the fridge for 2-3 hours

8. Uncover and serve. Down forget to add another Mint Sprig as a garnish when serving.

9. Enjoy healthy natural living.


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Scottish Flower

This summer I was lucky enough to have a decent time to travel, and on my next series of drinks thought I’d bring a little of the different parts of the world I’ve been to back to the good ole US of A and start trying them out on our clients. This drink in particular stuck with me through the flight all way back across the pond from Edinburgh, Scotland. While I was there I was able to sample several scotches and cask ales, which were all brilliant and I could go on for ages about them, this one however was surprising and unique. It starts off with the only gin I drink, Hendricks, which is then furthered by cucumber, elder flower, mint, and lemon. I could have one of these everyday after work. Light and invigorating this drink will please even the most religious gin haters and have them coming back for more.

What you will need for 1 serving:
2 oz Hendricks Gin
3/4 oz St. Germain Elderflower Cordial
1 Lemon
3 mint leaves
2 cumber slices

Martini Glass
Mixing Tin and Strainer

1. Put Ice, mint leaves, and one cucumber slice in  in your tin and muddle until the mint and cucumber are broken into tiny pieces.

2.  Add the Hendricks Gin and St. Germain Elderflower Cordial to the mixing tin.

3. Cut the lemon in halves and squeeze into the tin.

4. Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds and strain into your martini glass.

5. Add the other cucumber slice as a garnish and enjoy on a brisk afternoon.

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