Bartender Marvin Burchall serves drinks beside the sea at Elbow Beach, Bermuda
Illustration by Gaku Nakagawa
As guests enter the resort’s Sea Breeze dining complex, they are greeted by a gentle breeze and a wraparound island bar shaded by palm trees and a white Bermudian stepping-stone roof. While sipping our famous local cocktails – Dark ’n Stormy, Rum Swizzle, or one of our signature Mojitos – they can gaze at the breathtaking pink beach and turquoise waters, all in a vibrant outdoor lounge setting unique to Elbow Beach.
I start the day at the terrace bar with a smile on my face. This gets me in the right frame of mind, with a bright and sunny outlook. I work in Bermuda, after all, and friendly faces are part of the guest experience! The first thing I do is check the reservations book to see how many covers we are expecting, to get an idea of the mise en place I will need for the night. Next, I make sure the bar is fully stocked and that the ingredients are fresh.
Preparation is key and ‘no’ isn’t in our vocabulary. We thrive on meeting the needs of everyone with our extensive wine list, speciality cocktails, single malt and blended Scotches, and local and Caribbean rums, liqueurs and cognacs.
Occasionally, guests aren’t sure what they would like to try. So I view these situations as an opportunity to take my bartending skills to the next level. I will ask them what type of beverage they are looking for and what they like, then I will make some menu suggestions. But my favourite part of bartending is mixing a special drink for a guest to make their evening particularly memorable. I once created a cocktail called the Purple People Eater; the guest was so thrilled that they drank them all night!
We have an extensive tapas and sushi menu. So a big part of my job is choosing drinks for the guest based on what they eat. There is nothing better than seeing the happiness on a person’s face when you’ve come up with a pairing that they love… and if they don’t, I’ll make them something else. That is service, Bermuda-style.