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Tuesday June 19, 2018

Cocktail and Flair Bartending in Australia.

Bartending in Sydney and Brisbane from 1996 to 2015.This describes my hospitality experience and achievements during that time.


I started by leaving school with no idea on what I really wanted to do. I had spent some time in the cellar at the local RSM, during the time of spear kegs, which was nice to have experienced. I finished my Higher School Certificate exams by answering questions once and with minimal information, my final score reflected my effort. I left my home town the day after my last exam, moving to Sydney to stay with my brother. I completed a Certificate in Hospitality while in Sydney, as hospitality seemed like a good direction to head in.

I got one or two hospotality jobs cleaning floors and serving tables and making coffee for a few months until I found work at a Caribbean restaurant in one of Sydneys more interesting area's, Glebe. This is the place where I learnt the basics of my faviourite style of cocktails, fruity and creamy island drinks, and began working flair.

My boss and owner, David was from Barbados in the West Indies, a part time taxi driver and restaurant owner. David and his girlfriend at the time took me under their wings and helped be begin to frge a career. Without their support I may not still be making cocktails. In the two years I spent at the Caribbean Hideaway I made hundreds of Daiquiri's and Pina Colada's and opened more cocktail umbrella's than I care to think about.

I used to lay sheets of carboard on the bar floor (no bar mats) and practice flair with empty wine bottle's wrapped in electical tape. One night I was practicing during quiet service, something I don't recommend, practice is for outside of hours, and a guy in for dinner that night mentioned that I should meet Jason, someone well recognised in the flair scene in Sydney. I also practiced at the apartment I had so much that I had to wear shoes inside for fear of stepping on a broken bottle. I also dropped a bottle on my toe once and the toenail went black and fell off, it has grown back, another reason for shoes.

A few days or weeks later, not sure exactly how long, I went to meet Jason and signed up for his Speedpour class. After passing that I entered a few flair competitions placing third in a Sydney competition run by Jason, and 18th in an Australiasian competition run by Woody. You can google 'Woody's Liquid Kitchen' to find out more about him. I continued to flair and work as a cocktail bartender in other jobs around Sydney until around 2000.

In 2000 my family moved to Brisbane and I moved with them. After a while they moved back to Inverell and I stayed in Brisbane and stated a business Liquid Artists, supplying flair services and training to Bars, Clubs and Alcohol distributors. This included work for Coke Amitil, Swift and Moore (Alcohol Distributors) training and opening nights of a few high-end clubs. Also a feature in a film clip, The Power by Vanessa Amorisi. I did this over the next four years performing over 500 exhibition shows and bar service at various events.

In 2001 I moved back to sydney with my girlfriend (and daughters mother) at the time. I entered the Australian Bartenders Guild Flair competition and placed a very close 2nd in Australia. I was very happy with the result. We did not stay long in Sydney without family support and my girlfriend pregnant at the time, and shortly after moved back to brisbane for Lily's birth.

In 2004 I entered a flair bartending competition called 'The National Flair and Mixology Cometition' was run in Brisbanes nightclub hotspot, Fortitude Valley. This was the fourth heats of the competition. There were a few international entrants from Spain, France and England, some from the Gold Coast and Sydney, and the usual Brisbane entrants, myself incuded.  I came second in the flair part and broke and Australian record in the Bottle-off, where you open 5 bottles of beer as fast as possible. I opened all 5 in 1.76 seconds, still standing to this day.

Liquid Artists - Flair CompetitionWhile flipping bottles at events and training venues, I helped a local bar run a small flair competition and called it 'Liquid Artists'. It wqas sponsored by Absolut Vodka and the ABG. It was nice to run my own competition, though I don't remember much of the night ;)

In 2005 I complete the Australian training certificate called 'Train the Trainer' and began training on a more professional level, within the next two years teaching hosptality for a training company located at the University of Queensland.

Around 2007 I had a brief stint in England working for a catering company where I had the opportunity to bartend at various high-end events including the Live Earth Concert with Metallica and Madonna. I worked in London, Birmingham and Cardiff at various events over four months.

I had been working with computers a lot during school, year before and had kept up the passion over the years of hospitality, and decided on a career change, though kept doing the odd show or training session, and made a lot of cocktails for friends at parties. I continue to bartend and train, but concentrate on hosting and Information Technology



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