A cocktail of flair and showmanship
A pair of Auckland bartenders are hoping they’ve got the mixes and moves to wow the crowd at the world flair bartending competition next week.
Everton “Ton” Silva and Anthony “Tee” Rima represented SkyCity’s popular nightclub Bar Three and Smirnoff Blue Vodka at the International Flair Bartending Association competition in Sydney in June.
Flair is the style of bartending which involves using bottles and bar utensils to entertain punters while mixing drinks.
The two outshone 20 contestants from around the world in the Sydney heats, earning their place among nine finalists.
On Sunday they’ll travel to the Gods of Flair grand final, being held this year at the Thredbo ski fields, Australia.
SkyCity bars manager Andy Ruzich coaches the flair bartenders and says there’s a lot more to it than throwing bottles around in the air.
In competition, contestants are also marked on the mixture of their ingredients, losing points for any drops, breaks or spills and gaining credit for showmanship and a seamless routine.
They’ll have just five minutes to make three drinks – two working flair cocktails, routines they use while on the job, and an exhibition flair cocktail which is a more elaborate routine just for show.
As a coach, Andy helps choreograph the routines for each drink.
Having been in the industry for 15 years, he says the key is to practise a lot.
“The really cutting edge stuff that they’re doing takes practise every day.
“It takes many, many hours in the park with plastic bottles before you’re ready to perform in the bar.”
And they’ll be practising among the very best if they win.
The bartender crowned the God of Flair will win an allexpenses paid trip to study at the renowned Bols Academy of Bartending in Amsterdam, which offers internationally recognised bartending qualifi
Ton, who won second place at the New Zealand competition last year and has been entering competitions at home in Brazil for more than seven years, says travel opportunities are one of the advantages of his occupation.
Tee has been “flairing” for two and a half years and has been practising for eight hours every day in the leadup to the competition.
He says it would be great to to represent New Zealand in Amsterdam if he wins.
“Flair bartending’s not really big here.
“We want to get New Zealand out there.”
A touch of flair:
Flair bartenders at SkyCity’s Bar 3, from left: Mohinder Sawroop, Andy Ruzich and Everton Silva.