Flair bartending is the practice of bartenders entertaining their guests using bar tools such as
cocktail shakers and bottles.
Flair techniques can range from elaborate ways of pouring shots to juggling bottles in front of the guests.
It's quite entertaining to watch, and usually results in higher tips from the customers.
who wouldn't be amused to see his or her bartender throw something up in the air while simultaneously shaking a
Most commonly used techniques are flipping and juggling shakers and bottles, manipulating drink pouring methods (i.e. multiple
shakers to pour multiple shots, all at once), and close-up bar magic tricks.
While most establishments shy away from flair bartending, especially ones involving flames, for fear that execution of certain techniques
might result in injury of the customers, employees, and or the bartender, there may be times when you
can whip our a flair or two. Always check with the establishment, of course.
Moreover, to learn these techniques means devoting a considerable amount of time and money. Ask yourself and determine
whether learning these techniques is really worth your time. If you answered 'yes' or you're simply doing it as a hobby then it shouldn't
pose any problems.
The best place to observe flair bartending in action would be at competitions held at regional, national, and international
There are hundreds of such competitions being held all around the world. There is even an official group called the
Flair Bartender's Association (FBA) formed in 1997 when a small group of bartenders passionate about their work, and united
the various competitions all around the world.
Some of the best and well known competitions are:
Skyy Global Fair - held in 14 different countries
Underground Flair League - Amsterdan, Netherlands
Quest - Orlando, Florida
Learn the Techniques
When practicing these techniques, I would recommend using empty liquor bottles. A good place to practice is over a thickly carpeted floor.
If that is not an option, practice on the grass so you don't have to worry about broken glass.
Also, once you've started mastering the move, fill the liquor bottles with water, and practice the techniques on half-full to full bottles.
Again, I would recommend doing this on a thick bed of grass since you won't have to worry about spillage.
Check out these tutorials on basic flair techniques.
The Flat Behind the Back move is an easy move to master, but one that looks quite cool when done behind the bar.
The Stall is another simple technique that is easy to master. It's simply a move where you balance the bottle on the back
of your hand. It looks hard at first, but it is actually pretty safe and easy.