Flair bartending is the practice of bartenders entertaining guests, clientele or audiences with the manipulation of bar tools (e.g. cocktail shakers) and liquor bottles in tricky, dazzling ways. Used occasionally in cocktail bars, the action requires skills commonly associated with jugglers. It has become a sought-after talent among venue owners and marketers to help advertise a liquor product or the opening of a bar establishment. Competitions have been sponsored by liquor brands to attract flair bartenders, and some hospitality training companies hold courses to teach flair techniques.
Flair bartending is sometimes referred to as “extreme bartending” or contracted to “flairtending.” The word flair became popular among practitioners in the mid 1990s. “Flair” is also used as a verb (e.g. “to flair”), referring to any trickery used by a bartender in order to entertain guests while mixing a drink. Flair can include juggling, flipping (bottles, shakers), manipulating flaming liquors or even performing close-up magic tricks (also referred to as “bar-magic”).
Flair is showmanship added to bartending that enhances the overall guest experience. The ideas behind mixology and drink-oriented or service-minded bartending can still be upheld with the correct application of working flair. Recently, there is a noticeable rise in bartenders combining prominent mixology knowledge and working flair skills all over the world. Working flair and Exhibition flair are very similar on the grounds that they both require precision and practice, however the use of exhibition flair has become a competition oriented style where significantly greater risks are being taken. Working flair, which is much more common, focuses more on delivering drinks to customers while still ensuring visual entertainment.