Tiffanie Barriere: ‘The Drinking Coach’ Offers a Refreshing Perspective On Bartending

Article by · July 26, 2023

::: Photo By Jose Pereiro :::

Growing up in a nurturing family environment where social drinking brought joy and connection, Tiffanie’s journey into mixology was influenced by fond memories of laughter-filled family gatherings. She learned the craft behind the bar and discovered her talent for connecting with people. As a bartender, she continued the tradition of bringing loved ones closer through well-crafted drinks, recreating the sense of joy and togetherness she experienced in her childhood.

Crafting Drinks with Heart
When it comes to creating new drinks, Barriere’s approach is deeply rooted in her personal experiences and the world around her. She draws inspiration from the changing seasons, her own mood, and the events and emotions that shape our lives. Tiffanie’s creations pay homage to the simple pleasures of life, often harkening back to her roots. Whether it’s a refreshing lemonade or a nostalgic punch, she understands the power of beverages to transport us to cherished moments and connect us with our past.

   Despite her expertise and creativity, The Drinking Coach always finds herself returning to the basics, emphasizing the importance of tradition and simplicity. In a world of complex mixology, she remains grounded in the fundamentals of drink-making, incorporating timeless elements that resonate with people from all walks of life. By infusing her drinks with a touch of nostalgia and familiar flavors, Tiffanie ensures that every sip is an invitation to reconnect with one’s own roots and experiences.

Exploring New Frontiers and Embracing Inclusivity
Tiffanie’s love for all spirits knows no bounds, as she delights in the versatility of different drinks and their ability to complement her mood. Currently, her favorite libation is agave tequila, which perfectly matches her vibrant and adventurous spirit. However, she also holds a special place in her heart for gin, appreciating its unique botanical flavors. When asked about the sexiest drink, Tiffanie unequivocally names Cognac. “Cognac’s embodying sensuality and sophistication, captures the essence of romance, from the captivating countryside of Cognac, France to the allure of its grapes. “Cognac, is an experience that speaks directly to the soul” she asserts.

   From Barriere’s view, tequila is the ultimate celebration drink, capable of infusing any occasion with joy and exuberance. “I see it as a spirit that can enhance both good and bad days, providing a sense of upliftment. Vodka will take you on a run, while gin offers a hint of attitude” she playfully adds. “On the other hand, Cognac encourages a slower pace, allowing one to savor the moment”. 

Moments and the Spirit of Hospitality

Reflecting on her experiences as a bartender, Tiffanie fondly recalls her time at Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson’s [airport] acclaimed bar “One Flew South.” One memorable incident involved two customers engaging in a friendly drinking competition, which eventually led to one of them being passed out near the gate. Tiffanie’s compassionate nature led her to provide assistance by bringing food, water, and a heartfelt note, expressing her concern and offering any further help.

   Her help also illustrates the responsibility bartenders hold to ensure the well-being of their patrons. While Tiffanie has never had to cut anyone off from drinking, she has learned to pull back when necessary, maintaining a delicate balance between serving and safeguarding.

For the Next Generation

When asked, “What advice would you give aspiring bartenders?”, Tiffanie advises that aspiring bartenders must have a genuine interest in creating memorable experiences for others. She believes that a good bartender possesses several key attributes: versatility, creativity, a personable nature, and the desire to ensure customers have a fantastic time. She compares bartending to being a cook in the kitchen, with the satisfaction derived from observing customers’ reactions to their drinks. The Drinking Coach cherishes the moment when customers say, “I trust you,” as it allows her to showcase her expertise and creativity.

   She further stresses, “Bartenders need to develop a deep understanding of all spirits, not just their personal favorites”. Honing one’s palate and being able to describe flavors are essential skills, highlighting the significance of certification and training, such as her own achievement of the highest level certification from Bar 5.

   With an impressive list of accomplishments, Tiffanie has made her mark in the industry. She proudly mentions being part of the very first group of black women to receive the prestigious James Beard House award, her involvement in notable television shows and publications, and her contributions to the culinary world.

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