Are you looking to improve your bartending game and impress your customers with flashy tricks? Look no further than flair bartending! Flair is the art of using creative techniques and stylish moves to mix and serve drinks. While some tricks may seem intimidating, there are plenty of easy ones that you can master quickly with some practice.
This article will share nine easy flair bartending tricks that will impress your customers and elevate your skills to the next level. So grab your shaker, and let’s get started!
How To Learn Flair Bartending
Concentration and balance are essential to successful flair bartending, much like any other sport. It takes time and practice to perform in front of an audience.
If you’re interested in learning flair bartending, there are several ways you can get started:
- Watch videos online: There are plenty of online resources, such as YouTube, where you can find tutorials and demonstrations on flair bartending. Watch videos of professionals performing different tricks and techniques to understand what’s involved.
- Attend a flair bartending school: Several bartending schools specialize in flair bartending. These schools offer comprehensive training programs that cover all aspects, including juggling, spinning, and tossing.
- Practice at home: Flair bartending requires a lot of practice and patience. Set up a practice station at home and start practising basic moves, such as bottle spins and shaker tosses. As you become more comfortable, you can experiment with more advanced tricks.
- Attend competitions and events: Flair competitions and events are a great way to learn from professionals and connect with other bartenders passionate about flair bartending. Attend these events to watch performances, meet other bartenders, and get inspired.
- Work in a bar or restaurant that values flair: If you’re already a bartender, look for a bar or restaurant that values flair bartending. Working in this environment can help you hone your skills and learn from experienced professionals.
In summary, learning flair bartending requires practice, patience, and a willingness to learn. Using these tips and resources, you can develop your skills and become a master of the art of flair bartending.
Find Practice Equipment
As you can probably imagine, starting with tossing real glass bottles will be costly (and dangerous) until you get some skills down.
Practice safely and effectively using practice bottles and various bar tools. Start practising on a countertop or table similar to a bar setting before moving on to real liquor bottles.
You can find practice bottles available online to fill with water and practice with.
Flair Bartenders Equipment
Here are some essential tools and supplies and tools that every flair bartender should have:
- Practice bottles: Before you start practising with real liquor bottles, it’s a good idea to use practice bottles to get comfortable with the weight and feel of a real bottle. Practice bottles are often made of plastic or silicone and are available from various online retailers.
- Shakers: Flair bartenders use cocktail shakers to mix drinks, and they come in various shapes and sizes. A Boston shaker consisting of a metal tin and a mixing glass is a popular choice for professional bartenders.
- Jiggers: A jigger is a small tool that helps bartenders measure precise amounts of alcohol for cocktails. Flair bartenders often use jiggers with a unique design or flashy colour.
- Mixing spoons: A spoon is a long, slender spoon used to stir drinks in a glass or shaker. Flair bartenders often incorporate mixing spoon tricks into their routines.
- Plastic cups: Plastic cups are useful for practising bottle flips and other tricks without risking damage to glassware. When buying, ensure they have a bit of weight, so you get used to the feel.
As well as these tools, you should keep a couple of things on hand for practising. A lot of people will already have them in their houses.
- Ice: Essential in cocktail making and can be used in various flair tricks, such as ice throws.
- Garnishes: Adding garnishes to cocktails can elevate their appearance and add extra flair. Popular garnishes include citrus twists, fresh fruit, and herbs.
- Peeler: A peeler can create unique twists and garnishes from citrus peel.
- Cocktail napkins: Cocktail napkins are a common accessory used in bartending and can be used to add flair to your presentation.
- Lighter: A lighter can light drinks on fire, adding excitement and flair to your presentation.
Learn Some Working Flair
Bartenders working in bars can improve their skills by learning basic tricks like your basic flip or ice throwing, even if they plan to pursue exhibition flair. Start with basic working flair techniques to build a strong foundation.
Here are some basic tricks that bartenders can learn to get started:
A pour cut involves cutting off the liquid flow while pouring. This can be done using the bottle’s lip or a free-pour spout.
A napkin drop is a simple move where you drop a napkin from one hand to another while pouring a drink.
Stall Into Pour
The Stall is a move where you balance a bottle on your forearm and pour the liquid into a shaker or glass.
Spoon Flips and Spins
The Spoon Flip move involves flipping a bar spoon in the air and catching it by the handle.
The ice throw is a fun and simple move that adds some flair to adding ice to a drink.
Tin rolls involve rolling two shakers or tins along your arms or back.
A bottle flip involves flipping a bottle in the air and catching it again.
Flip to Pour
A simple spin into a pour that’s pretty easy to pick up and looks good. Practice with plastic bottles first and make sure less than 2 oz in the bottle for best results.
Palm spins involve spinning a bottle or shaker in your hand much like you already do with a beer bottle.
Tin flips are similar to bottle flips but involve flipping a shaker or tin instead.
If you want to learn these, these videos are just some YouTube videos that will walk you through the flips and spins. We’ve included some links in the How To Learn Flair Bartending section above.
Practice at Home
Practising flair bartending moves at home is a great way to improve your skills. Here are some tips on how to practice:
- Use practice bottles: Practice bottles are a great way to get used to the feel of real liquor bottles without the risk of breakage. You can find them online or make your own using water-filled plastic bottles.
- Get the right tools: You will need various bar tools, such as shakers, plastic cups, jiggers, mixing spoons, and cocktail napkins. You can also consider getting ice, garnishes, a lighter, and a peeler to enhance your presentation.
- Set up a practice area: Find a place in your home similar to a bar, like a countertop or a table, where you can practice comfortably.
- Start with basic tricks: Practice basic tricks such as pour cuts, napkin drops, stall into pour, spoon flips and spins, ice throws, tin rolls, bottle flips, palm spins, and tin flips.
- Develop a routine: Create a regular practice routine for yourself, and work through all your techniques several times daily. Practice moving smoothly between different tricks.
- Test your skills: Practice each trick 10-20 times in a row without making mistakes to ensure readiness for a bar setting.
Following these tips, you can practice at home and improve your skills to impress your customers.
Consider Bartending Courses
Consider enrolling in a bartending school that offers classes in flair and other presentation techniques. These courses can be beneficial as they often provide students with equipment and teach in bars, allowing you to get used to flair in a realistic setting using real bartending tools. Look for schools in your area or consider travelling to attend courses at schools like the European Bartending School, which has multiple campuses in major cities and offers to lodge for travelling students. Flair Camp is another option, an international flair bartending course that occurs once a year, where attendees can learn various flair and mixology techniques from professionals worldwide.
Get Work Experience
One of the best ways to get comfortable with bartending and flair is to work at a bar. Look for open jobs on job boards or company websites, focusing on establishments that specialize in cocktails. This provides more opportunities to practice flair tricks on the job.
If you’re already a bartender, incorporate flair into your job by using only reliable tricks that don’t disrupt your tasks. If you have limited opportunities to prepare cocktails, consider finding work in a cocktail bar or catering private parties and events as a flair bartender to practice your skills.
Tips for Leaning Flare
Here are some tips to keep in mind when learning flair bartending moves:
- Remember customer service: While flair is exciting and entertaining, it’s important to always focus on providing excellent customer service. Use techniques that enhance the guest experience and improve your efficiency and speed behind the bar.
- Don’t forget the basics: Flair is just one aspect of being a great bartender, and it’s important also to develop traditional bartending knowledge and techniques. This includes mastering popular drinks, creating custom cocktails, and understanding the ingredients you work with.
- Choose a supportive work environment: Not all bars or restaurants may be the best place to showcase your flair skills. Look for a work environment that values craft cocktails and prioritises delivering an unforgettable guest experience.
As well as these, you can do more to accelerate your growth as a bartender.
Learn Advanced Techniques
Once you have mastered some working flair techniques, you may want to explore advanced techniques and exhibition flair. You can find a wealth of resources online, including video channels and blogs, as well as in-person courses and camps.
Advanced techniques such as bottle and tin juggling, combination tricks, multiple pours, advanced balancing, and multi-person flair can showcase your skills and help prepare you for competitions or even start your own educational platform.
Find Your Community
Building a community of other bartenders can help you improve your bartending skills. Seek advice from coworkers, connect with flair experts on social media, and attend competitions and presentations by professionals. Organize practice sessions with other bartenders at home or in public areas. As you become more confident with your techniques, consider teaching them to others to reinforce your skills and build a community of like-minded professionals.
You can join professional organizations that hold global competitions annually. This is an opportunity to showcase your flair and meet other talented bartenders, all while vying for prizes. If you can’t participate or no local exhibition flair competitions are available, consider starting one yourself and inviting bartending professionals from your area. Through these experiences, you can build a community, find new opportunities, and expand your flair knowledge.
The World Flair Association (WFA) promotes bartending flair and hosts yearly competitions. It awards certificates through a grading system of 11 levels, distinguished by various colours, to recognize skilled flair bartenders. To attain these certificates, bartenders must join the association, take practice exams and demonstrate their proficiency to WFA examiners or competition judges. This is an excellent opportunity for bartenders to enhance their abilities, gain acknowledgement, and engage with the flair community.
Ready to impress your customers with some flashy bartending tricks? Try flair bartending! You can elevate your bartending skills to the next level with creative techniques and stylish moves. Learn from online videos, attend exhibition flair competitions and events, or work in a bar that values flair. Practice safely and effectively using practice bottles and various bar tools, and start with basic tricks to build a strong foundation.
With patience and persistence, you can become a master of the art of flair bartending. Cheers to that!