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May 10, 2020 49 min

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Training for Mastery takes years of work and dedication, and after a certain point there is no road map in any industry that helps the novice graduate to the journeyman, and the journeyman transform into the master. 

In our continuing Bartending Masterclass, host & Master Bartender Michael J. Neff, discussed the different phases of mastery. This time, we’re focusing on Mastery of the Heart with special guest Mr. Toby Maloney.

Mr. Maloney has worked in bars for many years, working behind the stick at dive bars and nightclubs around the country, as well as some of the most renowned cocktail bars in modern memory.

He was the very first bartender hired at the original Milk and Honey in New York, and has opened storied cocktail bars in Minneapolis, Nashville and Chicago, where he currently co-owns The Violet Hour and the soon-to-open Mother’s Ruin Chicago.

The Violet Hour received the James Beard Award for Best Bar Program in 2015.

Some highlights from Part 1 of our conversation:

“It comes down to the confidence you exude, and if you can nail those flair moves, people’s drinks taste better.”

“(Bartending) is kind of like acting and kind of like drugs...”

“People will go back to a bar that has great service and mediocre drinks, but if you have great drinks and mediocre service, people are like...meh.”

“The difference between cooking and bartending is cooking is a marathon and bartending is figure skating. Both are insanely hard, but no one cares what you look like after a marathon.”

Weird-tempo Banjo Tune: I Saw The Light

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