A Basic Flair Bartending Glossary: Did You Say Snatch?!

Just like any other sport, flair bartending comes with its own set of unique words. Most of the time, the terminology is used for officials to judge competitions. However, there are a few terms that are downright funny. And, if you’re a flair geek, like myself, it’s fun to find ways to bring them up in random conversation.

Battle – Two bartenders/groups compete against each other to show who has the best moves. Similar to a break dance battle.

Break – when a bottle or glass breaks and smashes during a performance

Bump – If any kind of bar object, while in flight, makes momentary contact with any part of your body which in turn either helps propel or changes the prior trajectory of that object then it is referred to as a bump. View an example of a bump. The current undisputed king of bumps is Rodrigo Delpech from Argentina who has achieved 100+ consecutive forearm bottle bumps.

Dead Toss – A dead toss, or flat throw, is when a bartender throws a bar object (such as a bottle, tin etc..) with no rotation. View an example of a dead toss.

Drop – A drop is a loss of control of a bar object resulting in the bar object touching the ground or other unintended area. Too many of these in a competition routine can result in the term “yard sale.” (See below).

Flairco – The Flairco bottle is the original flair bartending practice bottle. Created by Dean Serneels in 1998, this shatterproof bottle is endorsed by the FBA and has become the training tool of choice for bartenders in 100+ countries worldwide. After numerous design upgrades and modifications, thanks in part to feedback from flair bartenders, this product has evolved to become the standard in learning new moves and skills. Custom printing options are also very popular with competitions, training companies and special events. Contact Mike McLean for more information in getting your own custom Flairco.

Flash – when all objects being used are in the air at the same time.

Grab – referencing the way a bartender is holding certain bar objects.

Helicopter – a fun flair move that was originally an old juggling trick. It involves rotating a bottle on a horizontal plane thus creating the effect of a helicopter’s spinning blades. View an example of a helicopter.

Miss-Direction – when a bartender touches the neck end of the bottle to change the direction of the spin in mid-air. Bartenders can do this using their hands, arms and in some cases their feet. In Europe, this is referred to as a tap.

Muddler – a bar tool that allows you to crush (or muddle) fresh produce ingredients like mint or orange. Muddlers vary drastically in shape, material, (hard rubber and wood are the most common), size and design. In most cases, muddlers are essentially a stick that you hold at one end, and you use the other end to muddle your drink ingredients.

Nest – when a bartender lands a bottle or shaker inside another shaker.

Pyramid – the name given to a style of glass stack with bottles and drinks all balanced on the top of your head. The base bottle is upside down. The next bottle is horizontal. The next layer is made up of drinks. From here on up you can keep creating layers using horizontal bottles and glasses.

Random Tandem – when two or more bartenders flair together without any previous rehearsal or knowing what the other is going to do. Improvisation and interaction occur by throwing objects between bartenders, sometimes with two or three crossing over in mid-air.

Roll – a flair move when any bar object simply rolls along any part of your body or another bar object. View an example of a roll.

Scoop Flair – Flair performed with an ice scoop. View an example of scoop flair. In this video, Tim “Flippy” Morris demonstrates some innovative scoop flair.

Shadow Pass – This flair move originated in Europe during the nineties. It is a thrown pass behind the head and was originally called a “Star Wars” move, because it gives the illusion that you are using “the force.” There are many variations although it usually involves a blind catch. In 2002 this move was greatly popularized by the flair bartenders at Shadow Bar inside Caeser’s Palace in Las Vegas. People started referring to the move as a Shadow Pass. View an example of a shadow pass.

Snatch – ( yeah, that’s right, we said, Snatch). A flair move that uses a mixing tin in a downward motion (with the open mouth facing down) to capture another object (fruit, bottle, another tin, etc.) out of the air and into the tin. View an example of a snatch.

Spill – when liquid spills at any time during a performance

Stall – a flair move that involves stopping an object in movement and balancing it on a part of your body. This flair move is rumored to have been created by British Flair Bartending Legend Leigh Miller. The first stall was a bottle stalled on the back of your hand. Today there are many different kinds of stalls. View an example of a stall.

Tap – Commonly referred to in Europe when a bartender touches the neck end of the bottle to change the direction of the spin in mid-air. Bartenders can do this using their hands, arms and in some cases their feet. In the U.S., this is referred to as a  miss-direction.

Tin – a.k.a. a Mixing Tin, or Shaker is used to mix ingredients by shaking them rigorously. There are many different styles from three piece shakers to crystal shakers. The most simplistic of designs, the stainless steel tin with a weighted bottom has become an industry standard for flair.

Tomahawk – a flair move where a bottle is thrown from behind the shoulder and into a juggle….like a tomahawk! View an example of a tomahawk.

Under/Over Pour – An under pour is when a bartender fails to pour enough of the appropriate amount of liquid into a container or drink. An over pour is when the bartender pours too much of the appropriate amount of liquid into a container or drink. Pouring accuracy is especially important in keeping the alcohol loss percentage of a bar or restaurant in check.

Yard Day – A gathering of two or more flair bartenders who practice flair moves together in the same space. Normally, yard days are local get togethers that are typically held in someone’s yard or a nearby park.

Yard Sale – A funny term referring to a flair bartender who has a LOT of drops in a routine. Ex: “Wow, dude, your last round was like a yard sale!”

Thanks to FlairBar.com for referencing several of the terms listed above and providing all online videos for each example. Visit FlairBar.com’s Glossary.


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