How to Improve Your Flair Bartending Speed

Learn how to improve your flair bartending speed from mixologist Chris Cardone in this Howcast video.

Hi, I’m Chris Cardone. I work at the Beatrice Inn in New York City, and we’re going to talk about how to improve your speed as a flair bartender. Now in today’s society everybody wants to do fast, fast, fast, whether you’re learning how to play guitar, or you’re learning how to read, you’ve got to do it fast, fast, fast and the bar business is no different. It’s all about speed, it’s all about pumping out drinks and making the bar and yourself money. So, how do you incorporate a flair bartending where you’re doing more things with speed?

So, the most important thing when it comes to flair bartending is making sure you’re in control of your bottles and you know what you’re doing and you can kind of have an idea of muscle memory of where things are. It’s just like normal bartending; you know where your tins are before you grab them, you know where your bottles are before you grab them, everything is laid out exactly the same. Well, flair bartending is no different it just takes practice. So, the first thing is when I teach people how to flair bartend, I tell them to kind of create a strike zone, and also create a target for where the bottle’s going to go, so they get a feel for when they throw it to know exactly where it’s gonna go, and that will help you for speed because it’ll keep you in control of what you’re doing. But the most important part is when you’re creating a sequence of moves, to kind of think about what your next move is and how to grip the bottle or the tin for the next move.

So maybe I’m going to take a bottle and I’m going to catch it behind my back, and when I want to throw it back over this way. So when I think about it, I want to make sure that when I grab the bottle, I’m catching it the same way that I’m going to need to throw it back. Versus trying to catch it by the body, and then having to drop it down to throw it back. And little things like that will save yourself a ton of time when you’re putting it through an entire night, and that way you can make more and more drinks. It’s also important to know when to flair and what not to flair. Sometimes people just want to do a big show every time. Well if you’ve got 20 people all waiting for a drink, nobody in that bar wants to see a show at this point, they all want their drink.

So you have to know when to shut it down, and pump out your drinks like a normal bartender really quickly, and then when you get to drink 19 or 20, you put it back on. So it’s a matter of just kind of understanding your surroundings and knowing where everything is, how to grip everything from the next move, and also knowing what’s going on in your bar around you. And then sometimes it’s just a matter of slowing it down, and kind of having a fun with it. If you’re very slow at your bar and you have a few regulars who want to see a show, put on a show. But you don’t have to pump them out as fast, it’s about knowing your surroundings and knowing what’s going on. But the most important thing when it comes to speed is thinking about the next move and how to grab the bottle and set up for the next move, instead of having to reposition or replace where the bottle or the tins are as you’re working.

And that’s the way to increase your speed as a flair bartender.