Top 3 Flair Bartending Tips

Learn the top three flair bartending tips from mixologist Chris Cardone in this Howcast video.

Hi, I’m Chris Cardone. I’m the East Coast United States representative of the Flair Bartend Association and I want to talk about some tips to learn how to flair bartend. The first thing is you have to learn your strike zone. You have to understand that it’s all about controlling your bottles and tins and items that you’re throwing in the air and not throwing them all around wild. You want to have basically a feel, kind of like a strike zone in baseball. You want to have a feel of where you’re comfortable flipping your stuff around and keep it within that strike zone. So everything should stay very close to your body and kind of compact and know where everything is in, so you look like and feel like you’re in control of your items while you’re flipping.

Another really important thing is knowing your rotations. You don’t want to just take a bottle and throw it in the air because it’s going to be hard to know when to grab it. So the concept is to know your rotation of how hard to throw it for one rotation and two rotations and things like that. You need to know your height. You need to know how hard to snap your wrist and create a feel of muscle memory so that you know where your bottle is going to land before it does. You want to have an exact idea of where to place your hand and when the bottle is going to fall into it.

And then the third thing, which is probably the hardest for new flair bartenders, is to walk into a bar and try to do it behind the bar. So there’s a progression of practice. You start with your flair bottle which is shatter-proof and unbreakable to gain confidence in your move and get the muscle memory and get the feel for it. Then, you take an empty glass bottle and start practicing with that. That way you can feel a little bit more confident that you’re using real glass. Then, as we in the business call it, going wet, you use liquid whether it’s liquor or water to practice with – an actual liquor in the bottle so you start to feel comfortable with that and know that you can do it that way.

Then, it’s just a matter of stepping behind the bar and knowing that you can do it in a real live bar with people watching. Sometimes when I practice, I actually have other people just that I know will watch me practicing at my house to know that I can do it with people watching and kind of lose that feeling of an audience. So that way, when I go to my bar I’m not nervous about all the people watching me. What if I drop it? What if I don’t do it right?

And the most important thing is, before you step behind a live bar to practice you want to make sure that you can do that nine, ten out of ten times. You want to be able to do it with your eyes closed. So anything you’re not sure or not comfortable about, leave it at home and keep practicing it until you can do it in front of people at a live bar where you know you’re not going to drop it, spill it, or make a fool of yourself or waste the owner’s product or time. And those are few tips and tricks to get started with flair bartending.