Though bartending used to be considered a “seedy” profession because of its association to alcohol, the job holds more prestige today.
Here’s a look at how bartending has changed in the last 150 years, including during Prohibition era and World War II.
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When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, critics said her previous job, a bartender, did not prepare her enough to serve in politics.
Ocasio-Cortez disagreed. The politician said working at a bar allowed her to talk to thousands of people she wouldn’t have met otherwise. The harassment and entitlement she experienced from her patrons prepared her for navigating the same dynamics in government, she argued.
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“I’m proud to be a bartender — ain’t nothing wrong with that,” she told a crowd at the NAN Conference in New York City. “There is nothing wrong with being a working person in the United States of America, and there is everything dignified about it.”
While AOC may have shined new light to the bartending profession, the industry has experienced significant changes throughout American history. What was once considered a seedy profession due to its association with alcohol, the job now opens doors for men and women nationwide.
Here’s a look at how being a bartender has changed in the last 150 years.
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In the late 19th and early 20th century, bars went from being seedy spots hidden in alleyways to popular gathering spots. Bartenders began dressing up to work and following set recipes.
Source: Alcohol Professor
Jerry Thomas published the country’s first cocktail book, “The Bon Vivant’s Companion,” in 1862.
Thomas worked in the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, and nicknamed himself the “the Jupiter Olympus of the bar.”
Source: The New York Times
Black bartenders, prohibited from going into white saloons, founded the exclusive “Colored Mixologists Club” in 1898.
Black bartending in white saloons remained uncommon. In 1893, a black waiter was promoted to bartender at the Atlas Hotel in Cincinnati. The decision caused fury among the bar’s white clientele, who boycotted the hotel. Louis Deck, the black waiter, was eventually fired and the hotel shut down.
Source: Bitter Southerner
Women, meanwhile, barely worked as bartenders. A rudimentary census in 1895 found just 147 women working as bartenders, compared to nearly 56,000 men.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
In 1919, the Volstead Act prohibited alcohol across the country, which had a damning effect on cocktail culture. Most bartenders changed professions or moved to other countries.
Source: Food Republic
Job opportunities for bartenders became so scarce during Prohibition that thousands of bartenders fled to Cuba.
Americans inhabited many of the 7,000 Cuban bars, according to Difford’s Guide. The amount of Americans emigrating to Cuba rose from 33,000 in 1914 to 90,000 in 1928.
Many Cuban bartenders grew frustrated at the Americanization …read more
Source:: Business Insider