Isn’t it strange how our passions seem to choose us? Andrea Senna had no idea how much his life was about to change when he discovered his passion, bartending, in college. Today he works as an EBS instructor, creates his own spirits and successfully competes in cocktail competitions and could not be happier.
From studying biochemistry to becoming a mixologist
Andrea Senna works as an EBS instructor and has been a bartender for 15 years. In his free time he likes to create his own spirits or compete in cocktail competitions. Just recently he participated in the Clement cocktail contest and took the third place in Spain. Andrea has found his true calling in being a bartender and especially in teaching his knowledge to students at EBS.
When Andrea was still a college student for Biology, he got hired to work behind a bar for Red Bull at events and to promote the brand. This was the point in his life when he started to learn about the world of bartending. Andrea never knew that bartending could be his true calling. He never chose to be a bartender... bartending chose him!
Realizing that he had gained a lot of knowledge of the bartender profession through his side job, Andrea moved to London for one year after finishing university to learn more. ‘ It was one of the most beautiful bartending experiences I had there, I think you should go to London if you want to become a professional bartender.’ , he says. After his experience in London, Andrea moved to Barcelona, where he has now been living for 7 years.
For Andrea, the social part about bartending is the most important aspect: ‘Bartending is serving the customer, you have to understand the person that is standing in front of you in three seconds and you have to emphasize', he explains.
What Andrea loves next to the contact with the customer is the flexibility bartending brings with it: ‘You can do the same job everywhere around the world, you can just travel, visit different countries while doing the same work all the time.’
Thirdly, Andrea loves the science behind bartending. He explains that mixology is chemistry, fermentation is biochemistry but that it is a different kind of science. ‘It’s science and art at the same time, it’s a creative part of the chemistry. I define bartending as a creative exercise of the science. This is why I chose to be a bartender.’
How did the industry change?
Throughout the past years Andrea has worked in many different environments. From being employed in a Tiki bar to working in a high end busy bar and from mixology to classic cocktails, Andrea tried many different things. According to him, this is the recipe to become a successful bartender: ‘Each bar can teach you something else, which gives you a different point of view. You can work in the same place for years, or you can work 6 months in 6 different bars, and you will have more experience than another bartender that worked 10 years. So I always wanted to change places.’
Andrea emphasizes that there is definitely a need to adapt to the changing environment of the cocktail scene. He explains that trends change each year, which is why as a bartender you always need to be up to date to keep up with the competition and meet your customers’ demands. Nowadays, we can see a boom of speakeasy bars. There are 7 speakeasy bars in Barcelona that opened in the past two years whereas a few years ago Tiki bars were more fashionable and 5 years ago, mixology and molecular cocktails were the popular trend. Due to the quick change of trends, Andrea believes that it is necessary to refresh your knowledge with a course every six months. Learn more about options for advanced bartender courses here.
Passion is everything
At one point Andrea was asked by a former boss of his to teach a new person that came to work in a bar. This is how Andrea became aware that he truly enjoys teaching and how he ended up working for EBS. While he thinks that teaching is very fulfilling, Andrea also believes that it is extremely difficult as he has to transfer the knowledge in the right way and also there needs to be a strong passion for bartending. ‘If you are not passionate, it won’t work, because the student can feel if the instructor is doing it for money or if he is actually doing it for passion.’ Andrea points out that he is convinced that the methods of the EBS courses are very well thought through and the amount of hours that students do is also a lot, which prepares the students well to enter the world of bartending with confidence.
What Andrea loves most about his job as an EBS instructor? That he gets to help others achieve their goals: ‘The most beautiful thing in teaching is when your student writes you a letter, telling you that they won a cocktail competition or they got an amazing job.’
Written by Sofia- May 2018