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World Bartender Day – Bartending Facts, History, and Cocktail Recipes

If you love cocktails, World Bartender Day is for you. This February 24 national day post is filled with bartending facts, history & recipes!

Read on to learn who the “father of bartending” is, how much to tip your bartender, ways to celebrate this national day and a list of delicious cocktails!

If you want to try your hand at being the bartender yourself, check out these recipes for our love potion cocktail and our ghostbuster cocktail to get started.

A bartender pouring a cosmo into a martini glass with a text overlay reading "World Bartender Day with bartending facts, cocktail recipes, and the history of bartending".

What is World Bartender Day?

World Bartender Day is a day dedicated to celebrating talented bartenders all over the world! This day falls annually on February 24.

A man in a suit making a pink cocktail behind a bar to celebrate bartending history.

Bartending is a difficult job that requires a person to have excellent memory, communication skills, and the ability to multitask.

Bartending is definitely a job worth celebrating! Not everyone can do the job, and those who do it well deserve extra praise today.

History of bartending

The history of bartending may surprise you. Bartending first appeared thousands of years ago in Greece, Rome and Asia. 

A vintage photo showing the history of bartending with a picture taken when prohibition ended in the United States.

Before the 15th century, the majority of bartenders were actually innkeepers and alehouse owners who made their own alcohol.

Bartending was thought of as a less reputable profession, and it wasn’t until the 19th century that the perception of bartending began to change. 

Father of bartending

In the 19th century, a man named Jerry Thomas who owned and worked in bars became known as the “father of bartending”.

A cocktail in a coupe glass as a toast to the father of bartending.

He popularized making cocktails in the United States, and in addition to being called the father of bartending, he is also referred to as “the father of American mixology”.

Jerry Thomas wrote the first book ever published on bartending, in 1862, called The History of Bar-tending.

When was prohibition in the United States?

The United States underwent prohibition from 1920 to 1933. During prohibition, it was illegal to sell, make, import, and transport alcohol. 

A sign that says "alcohol prohibited" to symbolize when was prohibition.

This led to a rise of bootlegging (illegally making and selling alcohol) and speakeasies (hidden locations to illegally sell alcohol).

Even though the 21st amendment put an end to prohibition in 1933, across the United States, there are currently still “dry” and “semi-dry” counties.

In dry counties, the sale of alcohol is forbidden. These counties mostly exist in the south, but you can find a full list here which is organized by state.

How much to tip a bartender

There are two different ways to pay a bartender. You can either pay as you go, and tip on each drink you order, or you can start a tab, and pay the entire balance at the end of the night.

A photo showing how much to tip a bartender.

If you decide to pay your balance at the end of the night, calculate 20% of your bill and leave that as a tip.

If you are paying for each drink separately, $1 or $2 per drink is a good rule of thumb. If a drink is more complex, I always tip a little more. For example, I might tip $1 for a draft beer, but $2 or $3 for a speciality cocktail (depending on the difficulty and price of the drink).

Bartending facts for World Bartender Day

Want to celebrate World Bartender Day? Brush up on your bartending facts!

A line of martini glasses being filled with different color cocktails on a bar by a flair bartender.

  • The bar in the tv show Cheers is based on a real bar called The Bull & Finch Pub. After the show became popular, they changed the name of the bar to The Cheers Bar. It’s located in Boston, MA on Beacon Hill.
  • There are flair bartending contests held around the world. Flair bartending is a type of bartending designed to wow an audience and uses skills that are commonly associated with jugglers.  
  • In the United States, the bartending age varies by state. Some states require the person to be 21, while others allow bartenders to start as young as 18.
  • The first book ever published on bartending was published in 1862. It’s called The History of Bar-tending by Jerry Thomas.
  • In the United States, over half (55%) of a bartender’s wages come from tips.

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How to observe World Bartender Day

There are lots of obvious ways to celebrate World Bartender Day. Here are a few other creative ideas to help honor this day.

In honor of World Bartending Day, and image of a bartender making a blue cocktail lit on fire to celebrate fun bartending facts.

  • Become a bartender for a day by having a bartending competition with your friends. You can vote on who can make the best drink!
  • Buy a bartending set, so you can make your own cocktails at home. Check out the list at the bottom of this page with our favorite cocktails!
  • Experiment with gin, vodka or any other alcohol to make a try out a cocktail.
  • Head out to your favorite bar, and order a drink from the bartender. Don’t forget to tip them!
  • Watch a movie that focuses on bartenders, like Cocktail. Or if you’re more in the mood for a musical, check out Coyote Ugly.
  • Use the hashtag #WorldBartenderDay to spread the word about the day on social media. Here is a tweet to get you started:
Today is World Bartender Day! Head to Always the Holidays to learn fun facts about bartending, and ways to celebrate the day!🍸 #WorldBartenderDay Click To Tweet

What are national days?

Similar to world days, national days of the year are a fun way to celebrate foods, animals and items that you come into contact with.

Be sure to check out my national day’s guide for more national days to celebrate.

A February calendar of national days on a red background with wine glasses, a present and a heart around it.

There are close to 2000 national days in the year and over 150 of them are celebrated in February. To see them all, have a look at this post to discover more about the national days in February, as well as the February printable calendar of national days.

If food is your thing, make sure to check out the February food holidays. Each day of the month has a food or drink associated with it!

Be sure to also check out these other national days this month:

  • National Cafe Au Lait Day – Check out this caffeine filled national day, complete with fun facts and a cafe au lait recipe.
  • National Chocolate Mint Day – Mint + Chocolate = the tastiest cookies! Head to this page to learn more about the national day, and get a recipe for mint chocolate chip cookies. They’re perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!
  • Clean Out Your Bookcase Day – Get a jump on your spring cleaning, plus learn tips to organize your books and bookcases.
  • Get Out Your Guitar Day – Do you love music? If so then this musical national day is for you. Learn more about the day and some fun guitar facts.

More February 24 national days

Did you enjoy learning about World Bartender Day? Well you’re in luck, February 24 is host to more than just one national day! 

Blocks that read "February 24" to celebrate the February 24 national days.

Here is a complete list of all the February 24 national days:

Pin this post on World Bartender Day for later

Would you like a reminder of this post for World Bartender Day? Just pin this image to one of your drinks boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.

Three tropical drinks on a bar top with a text overlay that reads "World Bartender Day with bartending facts, cocktail recipes, the history of bartending and ways to celebrate the day".

Jess author photoAbout the author

Since graduating from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Jess Speake has been living and working in Los Angeles, CA. She is a freelance writer, specializing in content related to fashion, food and drink and film industry topics.  Find out more about Jess here.

Drink Recipes for World Bartender Day

Has World Bartender Day inspired you to make a cocktail of your own today? We've rounded up our favorite cocktail recipes below for you to enjoy.

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