How I Took a Bartending Course and Traveled for Seventeen Years
by Steven Nicolle
Author Reputation Press, LLC

"I learned one thing throughout it all. When something turned wrong it was always because something better was waiting for me."

Writer Nicolle has composed a vibrant memoir of his experiences of global employment, unemployment, occasional failures, and ultimate success in the glamorous and gritty world of bartending. His peripatetic rambles had their start when, at age 20, he left a factory job to study bartending at Montreal’s McGill University. The trade seemed to offer excitement and a chance to meet people—especially women. His work would take many different forms—from waiter to chef to manager to flunky—sometimes working impossibly long hours and sleeping in cramped, odiferous quarters, sometimes living the high life. He quickly learned not just how to mix drinks but also inventory and other skills. And he got to see well-known public figures up close. He discovered the pleasures and drawbacks of working on international cruise ships, affording him the chance to travel the world and eventually to meet, pursue, and finally marry a like-minded, adventurous lady.

Nicolle’s action-packed reminiscences express amusement and frustration based around his ramblings and the many changes he underwent. He demonstrates that a bartender has to wear many hats: bearing the brunt of sudden layoffs and seasonal changes while hobnobbing with famous people; preparing, serving, and eating exotic foods; and making lifelong friends. Without burdening the narrative, he details alterations in Canada’s political structure as they affected his work, along with relevant information about currency differences, cross-cultural encounters, and some insider tricks on mixing and serving alcoholic beverages. In retrospect, he sees himself to have been a kind of modern-day explorer, willing to visit new, unknown lands and interact with a variety of companions while maintaining an upbeat perspective through physical and emotional adversities. His chronicle can be appreciated as a travelogue, a quick survey of international customs, and, especially for younger readers, a call to a path of colorful exploits.

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