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Become A Professor Of Mixology

Bartenders International grads serve at

Long Island watering holes

For every club, restaurant, or neighborhood bar you might wander into after a long hard week, the experience just wouldn’t work without one vital piece of the puzzle—an experienced bartender slinging drinks and keeping customers happy.

However, those bartenders don’t just grow on trees; they are carefully crafted into drink-mixing machines by people such as Drew Vaughn, owner of Bartenders International of Hicksville. Opening its doors in 2002, Bartenders International specializes in both training and job placement in the industry, and has developed a reputation over the years for consistently churning out the right people for the right job.

A North Babylon native, Vaughn has a long history himself in the local bartending scene. But after nearly 20 years in the business, he decided that a change was in order.

“I bartended a long time at clubs all across Long Island and I loved doing it,” he said. “However, now I don’t want to go out until four in the morning every night. While teaching this class two nights a week, I get to meet people, have fun, make drinks, and help people find work. It was a good business opportunity.”

While Vaughn does instruct students in the fine art of mixing all manner of alcoholic concoctions, he said that Bartenders International primarily functions as a job placement association.

“It’s like a union, people join because they want to work. After all, there’s no reason to go to bartending school unless you want to get a bartending job,” Vaughn said. “People join this association and we help them to find jobs. And bars call me all the time, because I advertise to them and try to get their business.”

But before he makes a recommendation, Vaughn said that he needs to watch potential bartenders at work; how they make drinks, how they interact with customers and so on. In any given class, he will have some students working behind the bar and the rest posing as customers. He will then observe the prospective bartenders as they’re put through the paces.

“People need to come in and have at least eight hours under my supervision. Then, if they still need more time to develop, they can come in every day,” he said. “It’s like joining a gym. At a gym, you’re not paying to take an aerobics class, you’re paying to be a member of the gym. You can take as many aerobics classes as you want. It’s the same principle here, not everyone catches on right away, so they can come back in and practice as much as they want.”

Takemah Williams of Hempstead was only two hours into her first-ever class at Bartenders International, but she was already mixing drinks like a champ.

“I’ve never bartended before,” she said. “It’s easier than I thought it would be because Drew is a great teacher. He’s nice and he knows a lot.”  

Shirley resident Samantha Cuomo was on her second day of classes, and considering the social aspect of bartending, she figures it’s a natural fit for her personality.

“I like talking to people and meeting new people, so I thought I’d give this a try,” she said. “Drew makes you feel very comfortable and lays everything out for you step-by-step, and goes over all the drinks from top to bottom. I would totally recommend him for anyone wanting to get into the business.”

When it comes to generating business, Vaughn said that he has developed strong word-of-mouth over the years for a simple reason— he gets results for his students and members.

“People usually have a great time here and they enjoy it. But what’s most important is that we find them work, so they recommend us to other people, and I get a lot of referrals,” he said. “Sure, we get some people with no experience at all who want to learn how to mix some drinks, but most people don’t come in here because they need a bartending school—they come in here because they need a job. And we can get them those jobs.”

Find out more about Bartenders International at www.bartendersinternational.com.

News

A group of like-minded local residents banded together and saved more than 200 area trees from the chopping block — for now.

A state judge ordered Nassau County and the Department of Public Works to stop cutting down trees along South Oyster Bay Road, granting a temporary restraining order to a group of residents spearheading an effort to save the trees.

State Supreme Court Judge Antonio Brandveen scheduled a hearing on Thursday, Oct. 16 for the county to address complaints from residents, in particular a group called Operation STOMP (Save Trees Over More Pavement) founded by Hicksville native Tanya Lukasik.The Public Works department had planned to removed more than 200 30-foot trees in communities ranging from Plainview, Bethpage, Hicksville and Syosset.

For the past 16 years, Lucia Simon has walked from her home in Hicksville to her job at the Hicksville Public Library. She enjoys her job as a librarian and says that the staff has become like family to her. But for the past three years, Simon and 56 fellow co-workers have been frustrated at what she says is the library’s board refusal to negotiate a fair contract.  

“We have had no contract in three years. They refuse to bargain with us. Every time they come back to us it’s not fair,” says Simon.

However, the board of trustees disagree, saying that it has made a “fair offer.”


Sports

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School

Hicksville native progressing through Mets system

The Mets minor league system is enjoying a rare period of prosperity. For years, it was barren due to trading off high-ceiling players for major leaguers, or neglecting the draft in favor of the free agent market. Since General Manager Sandy Alderson took over, the organization has reversed course and put a much greater emphasis on player development. During his second-to-last season, however, former GM Omar Minaya took a chance and drafted a local catcher, Cam Maron, out of Hicksville High School in the 34th round.


Calendar

Spooktacular Halloween

October 17

Fall Festival

October 18

Veterans Casework Seminar

October 21



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com