“I’ve talked to a lot of other friends in different industries also being affected by this shutdown, they’ve said they feel their jobs have not offered help, or that coworkers have turned their backs on them, they’ve described an ‘everyone for themselves mentality,” explains Mari.
“Boy have I realized how lucky we are in the hospitality industry to have the camaraderie we have.”
From the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, industry members have offered help to each other during this unpredictable time. “It makes this whole thing feel less alone to the individual,” says Mari. “Understand how fortunate you are. It will end. In the meanwhile, try and find time to do something simple you’ve always wanted to but didn’t have the time. Read a book in a bubble bath, garden, paint, or start drawing. We all overwork a lot in this industry and avoid self-care.”
Mari does urge bartenders to take the time to find funds and apply for aid.
“Keep up to date on what industry websites post in terms of aid. Don’t wait! Apply immediately,” she urges. “Also, don’t focus on industry grants alone. Many of us have duel talents. There are a lot of grants out there for artists. Apply to grants that are there for any financial hardships, emergency funds, people with wage loss with children, if you have a disability of any sort here’s your time to have it work for you. For example, there are grants out there for individuals with seizure disorders, depression, and so forth that are designed to lessen an individual’s hardship, especially during a time of crisis. Spend at least part of the day looking up anything and everything that could apply to you and take the time to fill out applications.”
To make the application process less stressful, Mari advises bartenders to save their responses.
“The first few grants or relief funds I applied to felt like a lot of work and information gathering. As you keep applying, most of the questions become repetitive. Therefore cut and pasting becomes your best friend in getting things filled and submitted,” explains Mari. “Also, give yourself quotas. The first few I filled out felt exhausting and caused a bit of a freak out in terms of how bad this whole thing could actually get. So the next day, I started avoiding them, which was counterproductive. I set an amount to be applied to daily. So I wouldn’t overstress myself, but I wouldn’t start avoiding needing to get done what is necessary.”
For Mari, she believes helping her coworkers is important in a time of shared crisis.
“I’ve been active in passing along grants and resources I’ve vetted to HR to send to everyone. That’s also the biggest thing, sending along links and resources that we know help right now. There have been some claims of assistance from online posts that, when they were checked, after an hour and fifteen minutes on the phone, said they had no resources they knew of or any groups within their organization assisting in our area. Communicating makes sure we don’t keep redoing the same thing that’s already been checked and leaves that time open to checking out other resources that may be a better option.”
Mari also thinks bartenders should choose a skill they want to become a pro at while stuck at home, maybe while on hold waiting for someone to pick up the phone.
“Learn The Classic 25. You can look up the list on the internet or even find classic cocktails everyone should know through Barsmarts online,” she says. “Once you memorize those, it becomes easier to memorize others as most cocktails are just a slight difference of formulas from others.”
Also learn techniques that require a lot of practice and should be mastered by all bartenders. “Depending on the bartender, some have a harder time stirring and shaking concurrently, some need to work at getting a nice foam on that egg white drink. These are all necessary things to master. At a busier bar I would say getting that duel stir down, be it 2,3,4 or 5 spoons (it can be done). That’s better to practice at home as it takes time and its less embarrassing then people staring at you wondering what the hell you’re doing.”
Meet Chilled 100 Member Mariangela Urquizo
Mariangela says that her real journey started when she took the time to get to know the people behind the bar, not just as a bartender but as another person linked by the artistry and passion. Understanding the art of bartending has shifted her view of the work, from seeing this as a part-time job, to something she could really enjoy as a fulfilling career.
Additionally, her contact with inspiring bartending women, she met as part of a book project, provided inspiration to follow her passion and she took on bartending as her new full-time career.
Since jumping headfirst into the spirits industry, Mariangela has been fortunate to work in very specific bar programs, focused on target spirits. She has gained experience from working everywhere from a Rum Tiki Bar to a Mezcal bar and every type of spirit in between, allowing her to have hands on learning of spirits during her time at each establishment.
Mariangela was also a Tales of the Cocktail Apprentice (CAP), first as a Red Coat and later as a Grey Coat Leader. This opportunity has led her to a lot of world travels with the CAP teams to distilleries and in-depth spirits trainings.
Currently, she is the Beverage Director/Lead for Prosper Bar and Restaurant at Club Equinox and also works as a Tasting Instructor/Ambassador for a small boutique brand. Her work allows her to continue learning spirits history and perfecting her craft.
Currently, she is the Lead Bartender at Devils Acre and works as a Brand Specialist/Tasting Instructor for multiple brands. Her work allows her to continue learning spirits history and perfecting her craft.