Working Flair Bartending vs. Exhibition Flair

Learn about the difference between working flair bartending and exhibition flair from mixologist Chris Cardone in this Howcast video.

Hi. I’m Chris Cardone. I work at the Beatrice Inn in the West Village of New York City, and I want to talk about the difference between exhibition flair and working flair.

Very, very big categories and very, very big differences. The majority of the people in this world know exhibition flair, because they’ve seen the movie Cocktail and they’ve seen stuff on the Food Network and E! TV and all the other channels that focus on flair bar tending that is done in competitions or in Las Vegas. And those are exhibition flair.

Most of the time with exhibition flair bottles are set, not always but most of the time, they’re set to about two ounces or less in a bottle. And the reason for this is that centripetal force allows you to take your bottle, throw it in the air, and nothing comes out. If the bottle’s over two ounces, you’re kind of dealing with the possibility of it spilling. And if you go over to about half a bottle or more than half a bottle, you’re definitely going to lose liquid, and it’s going to spill, which is obviously unacceptable to a bar owner, a manager, and anyone else who cares about the product in the bottle. So you become doing what’s called working flair.

Now, working flair is a completely different situation, where you can use any level of the bottle. So it can be a full bottle, a half-full bottle, a quarter, or even an ounce or two in the bottle. It’s also a matter of speed. So when you’re doing working flair, it doesn’t matter how busy the bar is or how slow the bar is, because the working flair the concept is that it doesn’t take any more or less time to bar tend than a normal bartender would. So if a normal bartender would grab a glass and simply pour a bottle, it shouldn’t take me any longer to take a bottle and pour a bottle this way. It’s working flair.It’s basically, the idea is you’re creating flair bar tending, but it’s not taking more time to do the drink than a normal bartender would.

With flair bar tending, the bottles are flying in the air all over the place. You’re doing juggling and things like that. It’s more for a show. So in a competition where you’re showing off the best you can do, you’re doing exhibition flair. In a place like Las Vegas where you’re sitting back on vacation and you want to watch a show, the flair bartender will put on an exhibition flair show where they’re really throwing bottles around or balancing them on their head or chin or anywhere else their body. But it gives you kind of an experience of more of an exhibition, and it doesn’t matter how long it takes the drink to be made. Competition sometimes it’s two drinks in six minutes. So it can take forever to make a drink. In a New York City bar, that doesn’t work. So it’s all working flair, all the time.

But again, the concept really breaks down to exhibition flair is more of a show. Working flair is more quick, precise movements that you’re doing behind a live bar, and you’re not sacrificing time or sales for the bar owner.

And that’s the difference between working flair and exhibition flair.