I noticed there are weighted and unweighted tins. What’s the difference?

Ultimately, every bartender has to decide on his or her own. And there’s no right or wrong answer, just personal preference. I can tell you that my preference is the weighted tin. I find that they have a more deliberate spin to them. Most of the bartenders I know prefer the weighted tin. That being said, a couple of the most insane flair bartenders I know use unweighted tins. The difference really comes down to their spin as you flip them. Imagine the difference between flipping a hammer in your hand (with the heavy weight at one end) and flipping a drumstick (which is evenly balanced throughout.) That’s pretty much the difference. There’s no wrong answer. Eventually just pick one and go with it. Or…

Get a couple of both. They usually cost around $5. If you can afford to, get a couple weighted and one or two unweighted. See which ones you prefer. I will tell you this upfront: eventually, your weighted tin will likely become an unweighted tin. The weight is spot-welded on and has been know to pop off if it hits the ground just right. Sucks, I know, but it’s the reality. You can help prolong their life by not practicing over hard surfaces such as concrete or hardwood floors. Most of my weighted tins have lasted years, though I will admit that about 2-3 of the 50+ I’ve bought over the years have taken a bad spill and split apart in the first month I owned them. It’s not a terrible loss, the tin works fine, it just becomes an unweighted tin.

One note about taping your tins: most bartenders who work in a bar with other flair bartenders will oftentimes use different color electric tape wrapped around the bottom of their tins. This serves two purposes: 1) it helps secure the weight on the bottom, helping out if the tin takes a bad hop, but mostly 2) different colored tape helps bartenders identify who’s tins are who’s. Nothing like going to work with your five new tins and getting them mixed into your co-worker’s/bar’s tins. Set yourself apart and use some colored tape on your tins to declare which ones are yours.

What size tin should I buy? 16oz? 18oz? 28oz? What do you use in the videos?

The 28 oz. tin is the standard size for both mixing drinks and for flair bartending. The 16 oz. and the 18 oz. tins are used for topping or “capping” the end of the 28 oz. tin when you shake the drink. I recommend the 18 oz. tins for this since they sit a little higher than the 16 oz. tin and allow you to pour more shots or cocktails without spilling. Ideally, would start with one 18oz. tin and at least three or four 28 oz. tins (you’re going to want a bunch for the Multi-Pour.)

What tools do I need if I’m just starting out?

Most basic flair bartending moves involve a liquor bottle and/or a cocktail tin. When I first started flairing, I borrowed a tin from work and brought home some empty bottles. This worked for a little while – until I shattered glass all over my living room carpet. Sooner rather than later, you’ll want to get your first practice bottle and a tin or two. Checkout my review of the FlairCo bottle if you have questions.

Checkout the flair packages I’ve put together for people just starting to learn flair bartending at the top of the left hand column. In a perfect world, you’ll want to get the Complete Flair Package (a 1 Liter bottle, a 750 ml bottle, 4-5 weighted tins, and other accoutrements) but  in reality get whatever fits your budget. We ship just about anywhere in the world.

Where can I find the bottles and tins that you use in your videos?

Everything I use in my videos can be purchased directly from my bar supply store. I’ve put together a couple different flair bartending packages, from the bare necessities to a complete flair package, so you can find whatever fits your price range and get started with just the basics or a complete set for everything you’ll need.

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What’s the difference between a 1 Liter bottle and a 750 ml bottle? Which FlairCo bottle should I get?

If you’re a beginner to flair bartending (12 months or less) you should probably get a 1 Liter. A 1 Liter bottle is most like everything that you use behind your bar and the 1 Liter FlairCo practice bottle will be most similar to what you generally use. It will be the best practice bottle for you.

However, if you’ve been flairing for a while and are looking to practice some more challenging moves, consider getting a 750 ml bottle – it’s what 95% of flair bartenders ultimately end up using. The reason for this is that 1) the smaller 750 ml bottle will fit very nicely into the shaker tin, allowing you to practice a whole bunch of sweet new moves where you catch the bottle in the tin and 2) if you are one of the lucky few who works in a full flair bar, the 750 ml bottle is the standard size bottle used in most flair bars.

For 80% of the people reading this – especially if you’ve never owned a practice bottle – the 1 Liter FlairCo practice bottle is going to be your best bet to start with. That being said, as you progress with your skill level you’ll ultimately want to move into using 750s. If you can afford to purchase one of each size, do so, and enjoy the versatility that you will have as you move forward.