What is Flair Bartending?
Flair Bartending is the skilled practice of entertaining guests, clientele, or audience with the throwing/juggling of bar tools (eg; shaker tins, glassware, garnishes) and liquor bottles in tricky, dazzling ways. Despite common misconception these tricks can be performed behind any bar, using anything that isnt bolted down and using any liquor bottle, no matter how full it is. It has become a sought after talent among venue owners and marketers to help advertise a liquor product or the opening of a bar establishment. Competitions have been organized by liquor brands to attract flair bartenders, and some hospitality training companies hold courses to teach techniques of throwing and catching.
"Flair", or "freestyle bartending", as it may be called can be divided into two styles; working flair or competition flair. The difference between the two being the level of risk and complication of the tricks are higher for competitions. Good flair should be light hearted and entertaining while making actual, drinkable cocktails. It is a form of showmanship for confident cocktail bartenders that differs from the ideas behind mixology and drink-orientated, or service-minded bartending.
What is Working Flair?
Working flair is quick, light, and are realistic moves that can be performed without slowing service. Most working flair involves glassware, one bottle, bottle and tin, garnish, or occasionally, two bottle moves. Working flair is always performed while making a cocktail or drink. Flipping empty bottles is not working flair.
What is Exhibition Flair?
Exhibition flair is performed for competition or television purposes, generally involving longer, choreographed routines. This requires special preparation and set-up of bottles and is a style that generally does not lend itself to every day bar shifts. Exhibition flair often involves multi-object flair including 2-4 bottle/tin tricks and routines.