Inside the Bols Bartending Academy

Bols has been sending its trio of bar stars — Rob Rademaker, Naren Young and Tal Nadari — around the country in the traveling rendition of the Bols Bartending Academy to educate bartenders on the perception of taste, hands-on drink-making techniques and mixology trends from around the world. The liqueur and gin giant also takes a select few bartenders each year to the House of Bols in Amsterdam for further training at the Bols Bartender Academy, including the Hall of Taste and Smell, an interactive experience for the senses, and the Flair Booth, where visitors can learn flair bartending techniques from the pros. Guest trainers like Gaz Regan and Beachbum Jeff Berry stop by for special training from time to time. With all that activity, we thought we’d check in with Tal Nadari about their doings. For more information, check out

NCB Mix: Explain a little about what goes on at the Bols Bartending Academy.

Tal NadariTal Nadari: It’s Europe's biggest bar school located in Amsterdam, with 12 complete bar stations and equipped with all bar tools, making it possible to practice how to make cocktails, learn how to make various coffees and serve beer from the tap. The academy provides various trainings for novice and expert bartenders that last from one to four days. It also provides management courses as well as fun workshops with friends and family.

NCB Mix: There are any number of bartender training programs going on the U.S today — what's special about the Bols traveling academy?

Nadari: In one day, bartenders will get a complete course that includes understanding the production and tasting of spirits, the art of making cocktails, including various techniques while acknowledging the importance of speed, and finally the latest trends worldwide, from exotic ingredients to popular cocktail trends.

NCB Mix: Bartenders today, at least in the major cities, are getting better educated about classic cocktails and ingredients. As someone who trains bartenders, what do you see as the areas where American bartenders need to focus more?

Nadari: Using garnishes with your cocktails, as that can boost sales because people are attracted by it. It is a simple and relative cheap way of making your cocktails more exclusive and more attractive.

NCB Mix: As you tour the country, what has surprised you most about the bartenders you've trained?

Nadari: Especially in the cities outside the ordinary cocktail markets like New York and San Francisco, the bartenders and bar owners are extremely interested and excited to receive the attention and become familiar with international cocktail trends.

NCB Mix: Of the places you've visited, what region (city, state or country) of the world has the most interesting and creative bartenders, and why?

Nadari: That will be London, as they tend to use the whole spectrum of cocktails, from Martinis to Coladas, from classic to super modern.

NCB Mix:
Finally, what's your favorite cocktail currently?

Nadari: The Mai Tai with our Bols Orange Curacao.

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