Photo by The BlackRabbit on Unsplash

Whether you are home for winter break, living on your own in a new city, or just want to spice up your life with a new skill, learning how to bartend is a great gift to give yourself this year. Countless videos exist about the perfect count for the perfect pour and which mixer is the best, but we can do you one better. Bartending expert Rachael Robbins, AKA The Chickologist, sat down to talk all things bartending and proved that you don’t need a bar to bartend: you can make professionally mixed drinks from your kitchen table.

Rachael fell in love with bartending when she realized that she could find the same fulfillment behind the bar as she could on stage performing. The way people reacted to her drinks is what truly sealed the deal.

“Bartenders were the ones who ran the room, and I was attracted to that,” she said. “It was like the applause I had always wanted in my career.”

Rachael is known for her innovative, Instagrammable drinks. As she says, “we eat with our eyes first.” When a bartender mixes a drink that people want to take a picture with and post, the drink practically pays for itself. Rachael always makes her drinks visually appealing because with her intuitive businesswoman mindset, she recognizes the invaluable free press she gets when people post about her drinks.

Rachael’s drinks are not just visually appealing. She works hard to create drinks that hit all of the senses.

“I put a garnish in it so when you pick it up you can smell it. Of course, it also has to taste great and have a lot of different textures in it,” she said.

Rachael treats mixology like an artform, which is not to say that she does not see the science or the need for balance and consistency when making cocktails. The importance of measuring out ingredients is what makes a perfect cocktail for you or your guests’ enjoyment.

“Don’t ever drink a drink you don’t like,” Rachael stresses. “You spend the entire day fighting with your spouse, your kids, your job. You shouldn’t have to fight to get that drink down!”

When asked what piece of advice she would give to her younger self, Rachael said she would be nice to everybody, even the people she did not like. You never know who will help you down the line.

It is difficult to picture Rachael as not nice. Since the chances of getting a cocktail trademarked are slim, (there are only four cocktails total trademarked in the U.S.), the Chickologist makes her elite cocktail recipes available to anyone and everyone.

Rachael loves to share her recipes with the public, and she will even give tips to strangers on what they should pair that dusty bottle of orange-flavored vodka with (try it in your next espresso martini, which tastes amazing with a hint of flavor). She also recommends tonic syrup for those looking to level up their gin & tonic game.

Along with her bar expertise, Rachael shared her favorite holiday cocktail (pictured below): S’mores Old Fashioned!

The S’mores Old Fashioned is available on the holiday Santa Sips menu at Iron Bar in Morristown NJ. Photographer: Chris Capaci @capacityimages

Make sure to join Rachael for her happy-hour workshop tomorrow, December 22nd at 4 PM (EST).  You can put your skills to the test and make the perfect Moscow Mule, with a holiday twist!