Scott Christian is a walking, talking encyclopedia of cocktails. He can mix a drink as quickly as it would take him to rattle off the recipe.
If you ask him nicely, he can probably do both at the same time.
The Beavercreek T.G.I. Friday’s bartender recently returned from his company’s World Bartending Championship — held earlier this month in Dallas, Texas — being able to to boast of being ranked one of the 10 best bartenders in the world.
The competition was as stiff as the drinks being poured. More than 8,000 bartenders from around 900 Friday’s locations in 60 countries were looking to make it to the finals. Ultimately, 10 bartenders from five countries made the final cut.
“I have practiced daily for three years,” said Christian, 29, who has been with the company for almost nine years. “I have a pour tester at home and to practice and measure the accuracy of my free pours. I study the recipe book, which is constantly changing, and try to be as well-rounded of a competitor as I can. In this competition it is not nearly enough to have great flair behind the bar; you have to be fast, clean (no drops or spills), accurate, knowledgeable, and if you do well in those categories, you get to showcase your skills on the big stage.”
Although he didn’t nab bragging rights to first place this year (that went to a competitor from Japan), he still made it to the final stage and managed to impress the judges.
Although he graduated from Wright State University in December and now works full time for Dixie Chiropractic, Christian sees no end in sight to his T. G. I. Friday’s shifts that typically take place Friday through Sunday beginning at 5 p.m. at his location at 2799 Centre Drive, Beavercreek.
“I plan on competing next year; I plan on making it next year and I plan on making it at least this far next year. I don’t see myself being a bartender forever, but I also don’t see myself stopping anytime soon because it’s something I love and have a passion for,” Christian said.
Here is a recipe from Christian that will wow guests at home.
This is a spin on a traditional Cuba Libre.
1 oz. Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum
1/2 oz. Malibu Coconut Rum
2 Lime Squeezes (Discard)
Top with 2 1/2 oz. Cola
Build and garnish with 1 lime squeeze and a sip straw.
This was a drink ordered by one of the judges during competition that Christian had to mix on the fly.
1 1/4 oz. Jack Daniels
1/2 oz. Triple Sec
2 oz. Sweet and Sour Mix
Top with 3 oz. Lemon-Lime Soda
Mix the first three ingredients with no ice and pour over a glass of ice, top with the Lemon-Lime Soda, garnish with a lemon squeeze and a straw.
DRINK MIXING TIPS
Scott Christian’s advice for making a good drink:
Balance: Christian says that this is the most important part of a good drink. Be sure to put the appropriate amount of alcohol in the drink. He recommends home bartenders have a jigger or some sort of measuring device on hand. “Too much mixer or too much alcohol will ruin a drink. The key is to enjoy your drink without making any ‘oh my goodness that is strong’ or ‘oh my goodness that is so sweet’ face,” Christian says. “Free pouring perfectly is very hard.”
Personality: Put your personality into the drink. “What keeps people coming in is seeing me make their drinks. That’s where flair comes from using your tools to dazzle your bar guests.”
Practice: There’s nothing you can get good at without practicing. Christian says to continue to look for ways to improve your bartending skills.
Garnish: “You eat with your eyes first. A good garnish can give it an accent.” Christian says a memorable garnish can elevate the drink from good to great.
Spirits: Look for quality ingredients in all things. Especially when it comes to the quality of the spirits you use.