Bottles to a flair bartender are like football boots to a professional footballer, or a set of knifes for a chef – over years of honing your skill you develop your favourite. This may be based on its style, its shape, its weight – many different things.
Like with all tools of the trade you find that some bottles are more popular than others and this is usually for good reason. This bottle may be unique in its design or just the perfect style of bottle for flair bartending. In fact for some flair bartenders they like two types of bottle. One for juggling and another for rolls, stalls and other body moves. There is no right or wrong bottle to use when it comes to flair bartending. It all comes down to your style and preference.
We spoke with some of the top flair bartenders all around the world to find out which glass bottles they like to use when it comes to competing and why. Let’s see what they have to say…
“For me I have 2 favourites. The first one is the old Bacardi bottle that they no longer produce. It is long, it has a long neck and it has a great balance between the neck and the bottle of the bottle. The most important part though is that if you look from the bottom of the bottle up to the neck you can see that it is curved. I love this as it makes it a unique bottle for doing different tricks and makes it really good for spin and rolls, etc.
The straighter bottles such as the Havanna Clubs or the Campari don’t give me this opportunity. I still have a few old Bacardi bottles saved up for future competitions but they are very hard to find! My second favourite is the old Malibu bottle. These bottles are great for multi bottle moves and juggling. They are straight with a long neck and it is heavy. This makes them perfect for different grabs and 3,4 or 5 bottle moves.”
“I like to use Monin bottles. Before I used the old shape Bacardi bottles but then they changed the shape with the new bottle and it wasn’t good for me anymore. So Monin bottles became the next best option. The shape is good, the neck of the bottle is pretty strong and resistant. The bottle is a not too short and not too long. For me it is 462 grams of the perfect bottle now. Most importantly when I was living in Latvia it was very easy for me to get hold of them. Even now when I am living in Italy, I still bring them over from Latvia with help from my friends”.
“My all time favourite bottle is definitely the old style Solichnaya but unfortunately they don’t produce it anymore. The reason why I like this bottle is because of the shape, with a long neck that allows many different grips for all sorts of moves. The weight is perfectly balanced and gives you a nice smooth spin. It also has really strong glass that doesn’t break easily. I mostly use this bottle in my bottle and tin sequences not in multi bottle routines.”
“In the past I was using old Bacardi bottles, and when they changed the shape It took me two years to find another kind of bottle I like to work with! So now, best bottles for me are Monin and Campari.”
“I am still using old Bacardi bottles. I hunt and pay for them all around the world! For working flair I don’t mind using any bottle, as behind the bar you have to be able to use every bottle. But for exhibition it has to be old Bacardi. My favourite working flair bottle is Solychnaya. If I run out of Bacardi bottles I will try to use Monin bottles. But I am not sure, we will see!”
Ayako ‘Ollie’ Kumashiro
“I like Malibu and Monin bottles, I love the Malibu bottles and this is where I started. In Japan it is very standard for flair bartenders to be using Malibu bottles for flair. About 2 years ago I started using Monin bottles. I saw that many other top flair bartenders were using these bottles so I thought I would try them too! I still use Malibu bottles when I juggle and I use the Monin bottles when I am combining with other equipment – such as 2 tins, 1 bottle or 3 tins, 2 bottles. Monin bottles are also good for this because it is harder to spill from them!”
“My favourite used to be old Bacardi bottle but since they change it I don’t use it anymore. I really like Campari and Monin. Old Bacardi was probably the best bottle for flair ever – the bottom was great for multi-object and bottle, tin. I like bottles with long neck as they are better for multi-object flair!”
“For me, Monin is a good glass bottle to be used in flair. Its consistency and availability all over the world makes our flair life easier to source out the bottle. With the right length of neck and width of the body there is no limitation for it to be used in any sequence!”
“Personally I use Captain Morgan. Like many other bartenders I started with Bacardi but the new format does not suit me because I am someone who grabs a lot. I tried lots of different bottles to replace the old Bacardi but I did not find one I like more than the Captain Morgan. It is quite a light bottle and well balanced. For me this makes a great difference for multi-object flair as the weight is important. The heavier the bottle the more I tire.I still have some old Bacardi bottles but not enough to train with for the Grand Finals. I keep them only for working flair now”.
“When I started my flair career I was flairing with any bottles, whatever was available. Sometimes even wine bottles! In Ukraine variety was very limited. For example, we didn’t have 700 ml Malibu bottles that I liked to use for my 3 and 4 bottle routines so I had to bring some back from Europe when I was out there competing. My original favourite were the old shape Bacardi bottles. Now when I do shows I prefer Campari bottles as its neck feels great for grabs and taps. It is also nice and strong”.