Flair bartending, flairtending, flairing, bar flairing – call it what you will, but they all mean the same thing – serving drinks with flourishes. Juggling, magic, flipping, flame, smoke – it’s all fair game in flair bartending.
Bars that actually practice flairing can be hard to find in the UK, but they’re out there, and we’re trying to bring the craft into events, slowly but surely. Our flairing exhibitions are fun and dramatic in equal measure. You’ll leave wanting all of your drinks to be served that way.
But where did bar flairing actually come from? Well, we’re glad you asked.
Flairing is said to have all started with one Jerry Thomas, a renowned nineteenth century bartender. It is Jerry that is credited with establishing the image of mixology as a full-blown creative endeavour, landing him the nickname “The Professor” – which makes him sound more like a z-list professional wrestler if you ask us, but different strokes and all.
Thomas’ signature drink was the Blue Blazer – a concoction that involves lighting whiskey afire and passing it between two mixing glasses, creating a long arc of flame.
By the mid 1980s, TGI Friday’s were urging their bartenders let loose and express themselves behind the bar – leading up to them hosting their very own “Bar Olympics” by the end of 1986.
Funnily enough, it was the winner of this competition, John Bandy, who assisted in training Tom Cruise and Bryan Brown for 1988’s Cocktail – which finally brought flair bartending to a global audience.
Now, there are hundreds of flair bartending competitions around the world and bars are breaking through with flairing and mixology at their very core. Bar flairing has even caught on in the UK to such a degree that in some circles, London is considered be a close second flair capital to Las Vegas.
Flair bartending has come such a long way in a relatively short period of time, and we at Samuel James have the know-how and the experience to make the bar at your event so much more than just a bar.