“Fancy a (dr)ink?” for International Tattoo Day
Did you know that July 17th is International Tattoo Day? We’ve decided to pay tribute to tattoo artists and tattooed people, especially to all of our inked bartenders across the world – and we know they’re a lot!
Although the history of tattoos stretches back to about 3000 BC, with Ötzi -The European Tyrolean Iceman- holding the title of having the “World’s oldest tattoos”, they have now become a mainstream part of our modern society.
The word tattoo is derived from the Tahitian “tatau”, and was introduced into the English language by Captain James Cook after returning from his voyages in the South Pacific in the mid-18th century. Many of his men returned to England with the marks; thus began the popular association of sailors and tattoos and helped further spread the practice in Europe and around the globe.
Just to give you an idea, here are some figures (2018):
– Of those who have tattoos, 70% have more than one tattoo and 20% have more than five!
– In the U.S., 15 % of all men and 13% of all women have tattoos.
– 32% of all people with tattoos claim that they’re addicted to ink.
THE RUM UPHOLDS THE MAN
Of course, one can’t talk about tattoos without mentioning Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins, the undisputed father of old-school American tattooing. He started tattooing as a teenager in the late 20’s to eventually join the Navy at 19 years old when his travels exposed him to Asian tattoo art. After his stint in the service, Jerry set up shop on Hotel Street in Honolulu, Hawaii – which soon became the mecca for thousands of soldiers and sailors on shore leave. Since 1999, Sailor Jerry Ltd. keeps Norman’s legacy alive and kicking, among others through the production of a 92 proof spiced rum featuring a quintessential Sailor Jerry hula girl on the label.
But enough about the background and the stories, let’s move to our beloved bartenders!
THE BLEND OF TATTOOS & BARTENDING
Even here at European Bartender School, a large majority of our staff, employees and instructors proudly display their dedication of bartending and the EBS way-of-life by getting ‘inked’ with our beloved motto, ‘Hard Work, Spirit and Soul’.
Tattoos and alcohol have both had their dark time in history, they were prohibited or frowned upon because it was considered bad or in conflict with the societal expectations. But today, nearly everyone in the profession has traded classic ties and long sleeved cotton shirts for the bow tie and tattoo sleeve; which -let’s admit it- brings that extra touch when your bartender starts juggling bottles and Boston shakers, and you can see the colors on his arms dancing around.
The art of tattooing and cocktail-making share the same lust for creativity, precision and self-expression, which is why tattoo’s are now typically part of the scenery, from trendy ‘dives’ in Shoreditch to the most prestigious bars in Paris. They really go hand in hand, it’s all part of the spirit!
Not too long ago, no one could have imagined that so many people in the bartending industry would customise everything in their own way, from the drinks, to their skin, and for everyone’s pleasure.