You gotta have flair

Caution: Throwing bottles into the air may result in injury, death or fabulous cocktails.

For whatever reason, I am a spectacularly bad bartender. I can whip up a mean stir-fry and I make decadent cheesecake, but ask me to mix a martini and you’ll end up choking down something between cough syrup and transmission fluid.

I leave the drink slinging to the pros, people who can make ginger pear martinis in their sleep and think of a mojito the way a poker player does Go Fish. Tonight, at Red Room Saloon, local behind the bar talent will showcase their mixing skills, and they’ll do it all with flair.

Flair Vegas' finals will welcome the top competitors from previous rounds for a final bout on July 28.

Malibu bottles make great juggling clubs.

Not the obnoxious buttons and pins that Jennifer Aniston sported in Office Space, in nightlife lingo flair bartending is the practice – half sport, have circus act – of trick mixing, making cocktails with techniques that offer entertainment to the bar or club clientele. From fast flipping bottles, to throwing ice cubes, to stacking cocktail shakers, flair bartenders put on quite the show, and some of the best practice their craft right here in Las Vegas.

On Tuesday, January 27, the Red Room Saloon on W. Sahara Avenue will be hosting the second heat of the Flair Vegas bartending competition. The four-part tournament pits some of Vegas’ flair masters against each other in three preliminary heats, which will culminate in finals on July 28. In each heat, individual competitors must adhere to strict rules that determine how long they can perform (four minutes per round), what ingredients they must use (Smirnoff for at least one drink) and how they’ll be judged (100 points each in five categories: difficulty, execution, originality, variety and showmanship.) After the points are tabulated, the three barmen with the best scores in each heat will move on to the final round, along with their high-scoring counterparts in the tandem competition.

Of course, Vegas’ flair pros make juggling Crown Royal look as easy as drinking it. If you’re going to take home some inspiration from Flair Vegas make sure you do it with a plastic bottle. No point in wasting the good stuff, eh?

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