Sixteen UK Flair Bartenders travelled to London to compete for the honour to represent the United Kingdom at the IBA World Final in Puerto Rico. It took more than four hours of mind-blowing moves and smiles to separate the top five. After the outstanding final, the admirable Tom Dyer was crowned the UKBG Flair Champion 2008.

We wish him all the best in Puerto Rico, and we can’t wait to see if he can be the first British person in a while up on the podium to take the first prize in an IBA World Flairtending Final.

If Flair is an extreme sport, then Flair Bartending is an extreme approach to making cocktails. After what we witnessed, it’s easy to understand why more and more people practice this style of bartending. These people dedicate an unreal amount of personal time, away from their bars, to practice like madmen. Their only aim is to show what can be created within five minutes while behind a bar and making two cocktails.

The atmosphere was electric and to spice things up, we added something extra-special to the challenge: Peter Dorelli and Salvatore Calabrese were going to taste their drinks…so no pressure, this tasting was only going to be 30% of the total score.

As soon as the show started, with the Bar Wizards member Ben Heggarty, the left bank of Earl’s Court 1 became deserted. Everyone wanted to watch Gavin Smith showing off his Ronaldo skills with a bottle of Chambord, or Slash in love with grenadine. One competitor, Clinton Weir (who made it to the final) reminded us that he has been to an IBA World Final before as a classic competitor (perfect glassware handling, by the way).

The versatility of styles and the friendly atmosphere made it a memorable day for those who love bartending. Gavin Smith, always the happiest man in the house, and Pete J flagged the skills of Prohibition Bars. They took the second and third places respectively. Remember that this competition was 70% Flair and 30% Taste. Judges included Jay Du Toit, Sarah Mitchell, Ugo Bellan, Neil Lowrey, Florian Beuren, and Ilias Kousis.

Tom Dyer’s Cocktail

The Britalia

30 ml Sputnik vodka

20 ml Aperol
15 ml port
10 ml Punt e mes
1 lemon, juiced
15 ml sugar syrup

egg white

Flair, shake and strain into a long glass.

Garnish: Horse’s Neck

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