Learn Bartending with Fire and Flair

Learn Bartending with Fire and Flair

The flair movement peaked in the nineties, but even today it hasn't disappeared. It merely retreated to the fringes, where it is still practiced by a dedicated few.

At its flashiest, flair borrows from the juggling playbook, subbing glass bottles for clubs and balls. Flips, “stalls”, rolls, and midair captures are the staple moves. “Does Jordan really need to stick his tongue out and spread his legs while doing a slam?” asks Tobin Ellis, who helped found the FBA in 1997. “Of course not. It’s just his style. Flair has an impact on morale, energy, and it courts a crowd reaction.”

“It’s not cool to like flair anymore, but I’ve never met a passionate bartender who doesn’t do it,” Ellis adds. “At some point it starts to happen naturally. You see people trying to figure out how to stir four cocktails at once, or hold two or three jiggers in one hand. It becomes a question of efficiency mixed with a little bit of style.”