If you want to be a bartender, then you're going to have to memorize a huge list of drink recipes. It's easy to memorize drinks that you personally enjoy, but remembering lists of drinks that you could care less about is most definitely not fun. This is especially true if you're staring at a huge book of them for hours at a time. Ugh...
This is where bartending software comes into play. A good Bar Sim can take away the tedium and make learning how to mix drinks an enjoyable experience.
I downloaded the BarSim demo and gave it a good once over. Amazingly it feels more like a video game than a training program. I actually forgot that I was doing a review as I tried to get one last drink in before I moved up to the next round. The demo is quite generous in that it makes all of the games options available for three days.
Upon starting a new game you'll find yourself behind a full bar including glassware, garnishes, blenders, and even chocolate syrup! Starting with round one you'll be given a period of time in which to make as many drinks as you can, one at a time. The game will randomly select a drink at which point you'll be able to choose the proper glass and actually pour various liquors and mixers to complete the drink. Making a margarita? Then you'll need to use the blender. Everything you'd expect to see behind a professional bar is here. Everything can be clicked on, grabbed, and used.
As you're mixing drinks the game rates you on speed and accuracy. Forget what goes into a Mojito? Fear not! You can simply click on the recipe. This is an absolutely fantastic way to memorize recipes. You'll learn without realizing that you're committing them to memory. The game distracts you from the realization that you are indeed actually learning useful information.
As the rounds increase, the number of drinks you have to make at the same time increases as does the complexity of the drinks. Are you having a particularly hard time remembering a handful of specific drinks? Then fire up practice mode. In practice mode you can select exactly which drinks you want to make, and then practice them in real time to your hearts content.
There's a reason some professional bartending schools use BarSim to help train their students. It's not only a blast to play, it's surprisingly effective. Because you're actually moving the bottles around and using proper techniques, garnishes, etc.. you'll not only memorize drink recipes, you'll get a feel for where the various liquor bottles are and where to reach for a specific garnish. You'll also get a feel for the order and priority of the liquors as your mix drinks.
The game includes a huge database of various beverages. You'll learn how to make everything from a Mai Tai to a Bahama Mama. You can manually browse the list of drink recipes, print some out, and even edit them.
BarSim is fun and it works. If you're handed a dictionary and told to start memorizing, you're going to have a heck of a time committing anything worthwhile to memory. If you're given a video game like Halo, as you play the game without even realizing it you're memorizing locations, where items are, etc.. You're committing huge amounts of information to memory without any effort. Why? Because you're having fun and that makes all the difference in the world.
BarSim is fun and we highly recommend it.