Carbomb Creation

irish-car-bombA Carbomb is a popular Irish drink, especially around St. Patrick’s Day.  It was created in 1979 by Charles B. Oat, retired bartender and current instructor of the CT School of Bartending, where I received my license.  During the last class, he always proudly tells his story:

It was a follow up to a shot he created in 1977 on St. Patrick’s Day.  The original shot (Bailey’s, Kahlua, and Jameson’s) was called a Grandfather because it was to toast to the many grandfathers in Irish history.  Charlie created this famous concoction behind the bar of Wilson’s Saloon, located in Norwich, CT.  However, the shot’s name soon changed to “IRA” because as you add the whiskey to the shot of Bailey’s and Kahlua, it bubbles up like an explosion.

In the midst of celebrating St. Patty’s Day at the saloon, and after downing a few shots chased with Guiness, the idea came up to actually drop the shot into the glass of Guinness.  “Bombs away!” was the last thing Oat said before he dropped his first shot, giving the drink its new name of “Irish Carbomb” or “Carbomb,” in other company.

For a while, the drink languished in Connecticut but was spread across the United States by the many Navy personnel who frequently visited Wilson’s Saloon.  Many years later, the drink became world renown because of the Guinness Corporation’s marketing blitz in the late 80s and early 90s.

Irish or not, it is a fun drink to try.

Here is the recipe:

½ oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream

½ oz. Kahlua

½ oz. Jameson’s

Pour into a shot glass.  (This is an IRA.)

Serve along with a half-filled pint glass of Guinness.


Fake ID=Busted!

tips1All bartenders are TIPS certified, which means that they are trained to prevent alcohol abuse and drunk driving, and, importantly, only serving customers of age.  Serving people under 21 could cost a bartender their job; therefore, checking for authentic identification is extremely important.

Here is a list of things to look for on an identification card before you serve alcohol:

  • The card’s expiration date – do not accept the card if it is expired!
  • Glue lines or bumpy surfaces – they usually indicate tampering!
  • The word “duplicate” on the card – someone else may have the original!
  • Text consistency – the typeset for the birth date and the expiration date should match the lettering used on the rest of the card!
  • The state logo – a state seal or logo that is partially missing or appears altered is another clue to a fake card!
  • Pin holes on the surface – bleach may have been inserted to “white out” certain dates!
  • The card’s reverse side lettering – even though the front may look flawless, often counterfeiters merely photocopy the reverse side!
  • The card’s size, color, lettering, thickness, and corners – compare it to your own identification card!
  • Make sure the photo, height, and weight on the card match the person who you may be serving.
  • For out-of-state identification cards, use and I.D. checking guide – especially in college and tourist communities!

If you spot one of these problems:

  • Ask for a second piece of I.D.  People with fake identification rarely carry back-up I.D.
  • Quiz the card holder about the basic information on the card, such as the birth date, middle initial (give the wrong one and look for hesitation), zip code, etc.

Bottom line:

  • If you are not absolutely convinced that the card is authentic, DO NOT serve the customer for both safety and job security purposes!!!

This is a good deal of information to remember for a new bartender, but it’s extremely important!

Serving a Proper Pint of Beer


Pouring a beer correctly with the right amount of foam is a difficult task, and it took me quite some time to learn.

The right collar of foam is an essential part of the beer’s appeal to presentation and taste. It should be golden and perfectly carbonated, topped with a nice collar of foam. A properly poured glass of beer releases the right amount of carbon dioxide which makes it less filling.

The size of the head is determined by the angle at which you hold the glass under the beer faucet at the beginning of the draw. If you hold the glass straight, the beer will end up with a thick head, but it the glass is tilted sharply so that the beer flows down the side of the glass, the head will be short.

For a proper head in a round-bottom glass:

  1. Don’t tilt the glass, but place it straight up under the tap.
  2. Grasp the tap handle at the base and open the faucet all the way.
  3. This should top your beer with a ½” to 1” collar of foam.

For a proper head in a flat-bottom glass:

1. Hold the glass tilted slightly, but do not let it touch the beer faucet.

2. Open the faucet all the way, grasping the tap handle at the base.

3. Straighten the glass as the beer pours.

4. This should top your beer with a ½” to ¾” collar of foam.

TIP: Pulling the tap handle from the top will open the faucet too slowly and draw foamy beer.

The result? An eye-appealing, refreshing glass of your favorite beer.