The Harvard Bartending Course is not only a historic part of Harvard Student Agencies, its parent company – it is also a historic part of Harvard University. In fact, the course recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. The first course in 1964 was planned as a platform for helping Harvard students find jobs as bartenders. This course would be very similar to our current ‘Art of Mixology’ class currently offered – however, this course was open twice a month for 90-120 people, and featured a ‘final exam’ where students would form a circle and mix drinks for the person to their right. This would continue until a student passed out. Unfortunately, legislation has since tightened and we cannot feature this bontonious exam!
In 1972, the Harvard Bartending Course opened its doors to all local Cambridge and Boston college students. Thus began a long history of our bartending course certifying local students and preparing them for jobs in the bartending industry. This Harvard certification was celebrated with an elaborate certificate proclaiming participants of the bartending course as Masters of Mixology. In 1985, the first edition of the Official Harvard Student Agencies Bartending Course Book was published. In 1997, the second edition of the Official Harvard Student Agencies Bartending Course Book was published. In 2005, we held a wine tasting course which sought to teach participants both the flavors and the history of different wine.
Today, the Harvard Bartending Course continues the mission it was founded on by certifying Harvard students and helping them find jobs as bartenders. Additionally, however, we seek to help members of the Cambridge and Boston community become bartenders. We accomplish this goal by offering our TIPS & Mixology course, which both teaches our historic ‘Art of Mixology’ course, and a TIPS Certification course which TIPS certifies participants and allows them to legally serve alcohol in the state of Massachusetts. We also seek to teach those uninterested in pursuing a job in the bartending by teaching them about the ‘Art of Mixology’.
With all that being said, the Harvard Bartending Course is great if you are interested in bartending, interested in learning more about mixing drinks, or just interested in taking the historic Harvard Bartending Course!
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After the course, we ask our graduates to fill out satisfaction surveys. Here is what some of them had to say:
- "We got to do a lot of hands on experience in just one day! Instructor was very passionate and knowledgeable, he really made me feel comfortable in a bar scene. The instructor was fun, professional, and very knowledgeable. I learned to make drinks I never even imagined! This course gets an A+."
- "It's great that it's a convenient one day course. I work and go to school, so don't have the time to go to a two week bar course."
- "The course definitely prepared me - especially the mixology course. That's what everyone gets really nervous about - 'How am I going to remember everything possible to make?' But the instructor, Ben, taught us that by using common sense, anyone can make great drinks!"
- "I don't know how much more I could get out of a six week course - it would just be a bunch of memorization of drinks. I could do that on my own and not have to pay for someone babysitting me to do that. The Harvard Bar Course taught me everything I needed to know to get started and none of that fluff stuff."
- "It was really cool to be taught by Ben because he is actual bartender himself, he was able to tell us about how and the easiest way to start and where to start."