Tag Archives: Toronto Flair League

3..2..1…GOOOOO!

IMG_0810“Hey, you’re like Tom Cruise in that movie” a line often heard by flair bartenders around the world time and time again!  To answer the question, no I am not like Tom Cruise in that movie Cocktail because, like everything else in life, things tend to change and evolve over a quarter century!!  You wont find me on Wall Street stopping bankers and saying “Hey you’re like Michael Douglas in that movie” because it would be unfair and ignorant for me to generalize someones profession like that!  I will recognize though that flair bartending exists in very small circles and the evolution of flair is quite foreign to anyone who isn’t active in that small community.

  A year ago I entered and competed in my first ever flair competition as a representative of Bartenderone.  The competition put on by the Toronto Flair League was truly the most exciting and terrifying experience I have had in my bartending career!  After blacking out and somehow managing to struggle my way through my 3 minute routine I made way to the bar for some celebratory shots!  As the dust settled over the next few days I was able to see a video of myself and really assess what level I was at and where I went right and wrong!  It was then that I truly started to understand the high level of preparation that was required to be a successful flair bartender in a competition setting. 

Montreal 2011

My roommate, fellow Bartenderone instructor and flair practice partner Jay Patience and I decided to adopt a new approach to training for competitions.  Drawing from our experiences working with former top ranked Canadian flair bartender Gavin MacMillan, Jay and I put into action a plan to become premier competing flair bartenders!   The first step was to develop a routine with the perfect balance of technical and innovative moves, smoothness and showmanship!  Once the foundation of our routine was in place, we started executing the routines every day for an hour each.  Once we had built up our stamina and strength we extended it to 3 hours a day each.  The results were immediate and very rewarding!  One of the things that helped us immensely was taping our practice routines.  Being able to watch the videos and see ourselves during practice allowed us to adjust our routines but more importantly become aware of exactly what we looked like while performing.  Once aware of that we were really able to take the showmanship aspect to a new level! The other thing that helped us progress so fast was the use of glass bottles with liquid in them.  Its one thing to practice with empty flair practice bottles but it wasn’t until we incorporated the real thing that we truly started to see the results we desired.  Consistent practice of a well-balanced routine coupled with the usage of real full bottles thrust Jay and I into the category of up and coming flair bartenders in Toronto.  Just like everything in life, consistent practice and a clear goal/vision will more often than not help you succeed.  Tom Cruise who?

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The F word

In the world of bartending, nothing is more exciting than flair bartending. Yet in the same breath, nothing has more of a negative image attached to it as well.

The first record of flair bartending is accredited to “The Professor” Jerry Thomas from San Francisco, who in the mid 1800’s included some flair in his Blue Blazer cocktail by rolling flaming Scotch from one mug to another.Jerry-Thomas-

The late 1980’s saw a big boost in the number of flair bartenders after Tom Cruise’s character Brian Flanagan wowed his guests from behind the bar in the movie Cocktail.

So with all the excitement, why all the negativity?

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BartenderOne in the Community

Time Speeding By

As the wheels of time go by, my role with BartenderOne presents me with amazing opportunities at every turn, this is one very special example…

Seven months ago I was enjoying a casual pint at the Loose Moose after an exciting flair event for BartenderOne, when my good friend and resident bartender Jenna Inglis approached me and asked if I was interested in being a part of her charity event. I immediately responded with a YES before even knowing any of the details, head first, right into the deep end! One pint naturally led to another and another. The next morning amidst a giant headache I was reminded of what I had commited to the night before. After hearing all the details I was very excited and happy to be part of such an amazing experience, and wanted to work further with Jenna to make the charity event one to remember.

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A Party to End All Parties…

Out the Door BartenderOne Grad Party

Everyone always expects bartenders to throw one hell of a party and being the top bartending school in Canada we knew we had a world of pressure on our shoulders’ with the concept of hosting a graduate party in the summer of 2011. We wanted to bring all our past graduates together to mix and give them a chance to bartend for other graduates – yes you read correctly, our graduates were bartending at the party for other guests, pretty neat idea!

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SuperFlair 2011

The sixth annual SuperFlair flair bartending competition was held in Windsor Ontario, from May 22-24 2011. SuperFlair has been one of the biggest flair bartending competitions in Canada for many years, and this year was no exception. As part of the FBA Pro Tour, there was over $11,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs. With such a large prize pool, SuperFlair always attracts the best flair bartenders from around the world. Past winners have included world champions such as Danilo Oribe from Uruguay, and Christian and Rodrigo Delpech from Argentina.

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Flair Fiesta

Time again for another Toronto Flair League update.

TFL 9

All of the previous TFL competitions had been held on a Monday or Tuesday, (aka bartenders weekend) so that all flair bartenders could compete. The promoters of the Toronto Flair League have felt some pressure from he general public to host a competition on a Thursday, or Friday night so that the nine to fivers would have an opportunity to witness a flair bartending competition up close.

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Flair Bartending; It was acceptable in the 80′s

After a very successful Toronto Flair League season premiere, the promoters decided that for TFL 8 it would be fitting to couple the event with an eighties party.TFL 2

The idea was that all of the bartenders would create a routine choreographed to any song from the 1980’s.  Also, the background music throughout the evening would be all 80’s, and all competitors, staff and guests were to dress in the fashion of the era.

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Do you Dare to Flair?

Flair in action!

Flair in action!

It seems every bar you go to these days, you will see someone throwing bottles in the air, jumping up on the bar, or lighting something on fire. Flair bartending is the term used to describe these actions. It is showmanship mixed with bartending to enhance the guest’s overall experience.

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