You've probably all heard flair bartenders say things like, “he split the bottle and tin from a tennis grab, bumped it, grabbed the tin in tennis, then double tapped the bottle to a reverse nest…”
Most flair bartenders would be able to figure out the move I’m talking about, or at least have an idea of what it all meant. But how do you decipher flair bartending terminology if you are just starting out?
I’m going to share with you some of the most common terms that you'll hear and attempt to explain them. There are hundreds more, and some change from country to country, but here goes:
Probably one of the most common moves, with the hand stall being the easiest to start with. A stall is when one balances an object on their body or another object they are holding, with control. Hand stall, arm, elbow, reverse forearm, base of the shaker, side of the shaker, head, nose, foot, shoulder and chin are all different variations.
Easy to understand, more difficult to perfect. This contact move involves rolling an object, usually a bottle or shaker, on a part of your body, although there are bar and object rolls, too. The most common is a tin roll up the arm. A roll can be a simple ‘point a to point b’ or a continuous roll down the arm, up the arm, across the chest and behind the back.
This is when you throw multiple objects in the air at the same time and catch them in any way. However, this is not to be confused with a multiplex (see below). These moves can be the most impressive and hardest to achieve…
Normally performed with bottles, but can be done with bottles and shakers together, tin on tin or even jiggers - as long as it’s performed with 2 objects. I’ve seen with 3… but never 4 - yet. Oh, and did I say, it has to be executed with one hand.
Hold the two bottles in one hand, throw them in the air at the same time and catch them again, either in the same hand or the opposite hand.
This is the step up from a stall and involves “bumping” the object off your body, or another object, to continue the spin of the object. Some flair bartenders have been known to achieve in excess of 300 forearm or elbow bumps.
FYI: Taps have nothing to do with water or plumbing. You could say it is the little brother of a bump, except instead of continuing the spin, a tap is when you hit the bottle mid-spin to make it spin back in the opposite direction.
This nifty move is when you land a bottle or shaker inside another shaker.
A snatch is when you literally ‘snatch’ an object mid-flight, using another shaker.
9. Finger rolls
This is a contact move where one manipulates an object through the fingers as if it is ‘rolling’ through them, staying in contact with the fingers at all times.
Throwing an item from one hand to another - self explanatory, really.
To master this move, the objects you are holding in your hands are thrown and then ‘switch’ places to the opposite hand.
12. Shadow Pass
Throw an item from one side of your body to the other, behind your head. It can be dangerous, but also a great crowd pleaser - as it is a blind catch!
This is when the item spins on a horizontal axis, just like helicopter blades.
And that’s it. This is just a sprinkling of some of the different types of flair bartending moves that are out there.
When you join our bartender course or any Flair Bartending course, you will learn variations of the above moves, as well as plenty of others that you can incorporate into your skills.
Just remember: A flair bartender uses a diverse mix of creative movements and ideas. Enjoy it and try to master all the different variations of moves to become better.