cocktail.jpgI interviewed a bartender, Jacob Grier, the other day and just loved his I’m-going-to-make-my-own-career story.

After going to college for journalism with an eye on being a writer, he came to the conclusion that the profession just wasn’t for him.

He had a passion for food and drinks so he decided to become a mixologist — basically a fancy bartender that makes unusual or socalled craft cocktails.

He got a job at a bar in Washington DC but it wasn’t the type of gig that let him really hone his craft. The cocktail scene in the district just wasn’t great compared to other cities, especially Portland, OR. He decided to move to Portland but knew he had to have much more experience before he could go for a job there.

Where would he get such experience?

Turns out, he could create it himself. He opened a speakeasy in his apartment and tested out different cocktails on his friends.

“It was an education for myself,” he explained.

The types of cocktails he concocted including classic, pre-prohibition drinks that included ingredients he made himself. The whole craft cocktail movement, he said, is about moving away from the big artificial drinks of the 1980s and 1990s.

Ultimately, Grier landed a job in Portland, partly helped by a blog he maintains on all different libations. (I include him in my MSNBC.com column next week on whether you need a blog for your career. )

But his decision to take the initiative and create his own educational experience also paid off.

I think we should toast Grier’s career savvy. But please, no blue Martinis.

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