Algonquin mixology students got a real treat at The Great Canadian Cabin in the Byward Market on Dec. 11, when their classmates completed one of their final assignments: serving drinks to the busy Byward market patrons as part of their bartending program.
There are students who know they want to bartend as a profession and eventually run their own establishments. Another percentage come from other programs at the college.
“This program has helped many students bridge the gap between realizing that their original course of study is not for them, and dropping out completely”, says Antonios Vitaliotis, coordinator of Algonquin’s bartending program.
The 15-week course serves many purposes. By attending Vitaliotis’ program students stay in the school system, learn something that can help them fund future studies and give them an opportunity to step back, reassess and reapply to something more suitable.
“The oeneology (drink tasting) is cool because you learn about different kinds of alcohols,” says Julia Furletti, bartending student. She is taking mixology as an interest course until the Events Management program she enrolled in starts up in January.
“I also have some family members who bartend, so why not get into the family trade?” says Tyler Lacelle, bartending student. Lacelle has been working in the restaurant industry for about five years, mostly in the back of the house. He enrolled to learn about the bar aspect of the business.
“If someone is thinking about leaving their program and wants to do something for a semester and you want to pick up a valuable skill, bartending can be used anywhere, anytime,” says Neil Highet, one of the teachers in the Algonquin bartending program.
He says they do several pub nights and it’s great to see the students work behind the bars and be involved in the business.
His grandmother and her ancestors owned pubs in England into the second world war. ”My great grandmother always used to tell her there’s one thing that people will never stop doing, and that is drinking,” says Highet.