Flair bartending is an art form that requires skills and concentration. It’s a practice used to entertain guests. The most common association with flair bartending is juggling, while the bartender mixes your drinks.
This art form requires two things: equipment and skill. The equipment usually consists of juggling bottles for you to practice with, while the manuals help with that skill set. However, there’s more to flair bartending than just simple juggling.
During the 19th century, Jerry ‘The Professor’ Thomas was thought of as the first mention of a flair bartender. He poured a stream of boiling water and flaming whisky in a glass, mixing it into an original cocktail named the Blue Blazer.
There are two types of flair bartending: working and exhibition. As the name suggests, working bartending is used for everyday bartenders, while exhibition is used for flair competitions. The main difference is the level of difficulty and risks during performances.
How to Get Started on Flair Bartending
Flair Bartending Equipment. If you wish to start on flair bartending, you’re going to need equipment. The most common items are juggling bottles and a Boston shaker. They’re always seen in movies and shows since the big movements draw a lot of attention.
Practice bottles are a lot lighter than actual glass bottles, but using them first to practice will prevent accidents in the long run. Think of them as training wheels for your skills. They’re there so you can get used to the movement of the plastic.
Equipment for flair bartending isn’t too complicated since bartenders can use other bar tools and equipment to keep guests and customers entertained. Items like jiggers, napkins, and spoons can be tossed around for the same reason.
Just be careful when you practice with fragile items, and keep in mind where you are practicing. Some fledgling bartenders practice in an open space to avoid breaking other equipment or tools when they toss bottles around.
Flair Training. Of course, you need a foundation and deep understanding of how flair bartending works and a DVD manual can help you with that. The DVD shows you the moves and how you can execute them.
Dean Serneels, a world-renowned mixologist, performs it on the DVD. He became well known in the early 2000s for his invention of the Flairco Flair bottle. It’s a flair practicing bottle made of heavy hard plastic, and it’s designed to take liquid in so you can practice your pour.
He now works as an adviser for high-end restaurants, cocktail bars, and hotels, creating and inspiring the new generation of bartenders one trick at a time. Other notable flair bartenders are Dave ‘Ginge’ Reynolds, Tim Flippy Morris, and The Bar Wizards, to name a few.
If you are starting out, do not be discouraged when you drop or break a few bottles. Mistakes happen, and these will help you grow and become an influential bartender. Just remember to keep going and work hard; soon, you’ll be a flair bartending master!