Name: Kirin Law Age: 22 Occupation: Bartender Young Post: What does your job entail? Law: I work in an upstairs lounge in Causeway Bay. I mix alcoholic beverages for clients. I also need to take stock of the cellar and replenish anything that has run out. Socialising with customers is also part of my job. YP: A bartender is supposed to serve drinks to clients. Why do you need to socialise with them? L: A large number of my customers are regulars, so I ask them whether they want their usual drinks. If you can remember their favourite drinks, the clients feel that you care about them. With a new customer, instead of giving him the menu, I ask what he likes and suggest combinations that might suit him. A good bartender will never ask his customers to order from a menu. YP: Do you have any tricks for mixing drinks? L: You have to make sure you put in the right amount of ingredients. For example, you should never add too much mint as its strong taste would rob the other ingredients of their flavours. It also depends on whether your client is a man or woman. Women usually want milder drinks with more fruit contents. In contrast, a man may feel short-changed if he's served a bland drink with little alcohol. The appearance of drinks is also important. Some liqueurs are used as pigments. For example, we add blue curacao, a blue liqueur, to add colour to a drink. To make a drink more aesthetically pleasing, we use garnishes such as orange peel and cherries. YP: A bar is a place for people to relax and escape from life's pressures. Do you get a glimpse into people's lives by working in a bar? L: The scene at a bar can be a panorama of life's ups and downs. At one corner, there may be a table of happy people celebrating a wedding or childbirth. At the other end, may be two sad souls who lost their jobs or were ditched by their lovers. No matter whether my customers are happy or sad, my job is to make sure they at least enjoy a momentary escape. YP: A girl working in a bar may raise eyebrows among conservative people. Have your parents raised objections to your job? L: Yes. They were worried that I might go astray. They think that bars are filled with people from shady backgrounds. But, the bar I work at is not the same as those in Mong Kok where people swig bottle after bottle of beer. My customers are mostly middle-class people who come to savour wine and enjoy the atmosphere. I've met many professionals like bankers and businessmen. Some of them share their experiences with me. I always tell my parents about the people I meet at work. Gradually, they have come to realise that my job has nothing to do with the bad elements in society. YP: Have you had to deal with drunk customers? L: Yes. If a drunkard is intent on causing a scene, we will separate him from other clients and try to calm him down. Even when a drunk person swears at you, you have to smile and bear it as it's a part of your job. But, luckily, most of my clients are nice people who just come to relax.