"Hey asshole - I ordered a beer 20 minutes ago!"
May 29, 2012 11:58 AM   Subscribe

Alexander Shtifanov of Ukraine, the worlds most talented bartender
posted by Blasdelb (53 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Incidentally, this is precisely how I prepare my coffee every morning.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:58 AM on May 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


One tiny transposition of letters and he has the world's greatest surname, too.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:59 AM on May 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


I guess Cocktail finally made it over to Ukraine.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:02 PM on May 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


The most talented bartender is whoever most quickly pours and hands me a pint in any given location.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 12:02 PM on May 29, 2012 [18 favorites]


(That said, he's a hell of a juggler.)
posted by beaucoupkevin at 12:03 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Stay thirsty my friends.
posted by Fizz at 12:04 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


The third drink was a little bit light, no tip.
posted by empath at 12:04 PM on May 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's always funny to see people come from some super-specialized arena, like flair bartending competitions, and show up on mainstream TV like the Ukraine's Got Talent.
posted by smackfu at 12:07 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good juggler. But how big of a premium does he have to be getting on his tips to make it worthwhile to spend that long pouring three pre-mixed cocktails?

And what were those drinks anyways? Singapore Slings? I'm not well versed in florescent cocktails.
posted by thecjm at 12:07 PM on May 29, 2012


LOL. Juggle me a freakin' Godfather and stop wastin' my time!!
posted by ReeMonster at 12:11 PM on May 29, 2012


So do they taste the drinks or what?
posted by kenko at 12:12 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


He's good, but man, the editing on that show is frantic..
posted by starman at 12:18 PM on May 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


I am going to assume this is some Ukranian reality show that is 100% about competitive bartending.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:20 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


He's talented, and he's a bartender, but I see no evidence that he's a talented bartender.
posted by rocket88 at 12:21 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


What nonsense. Everybody knows the world's most talented bartender is Tony at Desmond's Tavern on Park Avenue.
posted by monospace at 12:25 PM on May 29, 2012


The world's best bartender still works at Zig Zag in Seattle.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:32 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


He'll get you Shtifaced
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:35 PM on May 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


He's a decent juggler, but I bet he's a little bitch when it comes time to re-stock the coolers and take the empty bottle bins out.
posted by AbnerDoon at 12:35 PM on May 29, 2012 [17 favorites]


Shtifan = Stefan (Steven)
posted by Meatbomb at 12:41 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Actually if I ordered a drink and the guy juggled for four minutes first I'd probably be unhappy.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:42 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


He's good, but man, the editing on that show is frantic..

It's my least favorite tic of modern reality television where something amazing happens and the camera immediately cuts to an amazed face to show, yes, you are allowed and encouraged to be amazed.
posted by codacorolla at 12:43 PM on May 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


"Oh wow, that is very nice. Yeah, I just wanted a – er, could you just – yeah, it looks like – WATCH OUT! Oh, okay... well, if I could have a – could you hold on for just a... yes, that's very nice... Yeah, never mind. I'm going home to drink out of a bottle. I'm leaving a tip here on the counter, okay?"
posted by koeselitz at 12:44 PM on May 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


You know, shakesperherian I came to say essentially the same thing. The world's best bartender would serve drinks goddamnit. He's a good juggler, not a good bartender.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:45 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


> The world's best bartender still works at Zig Zag in Seattle.

You haven't gotten out much have you? Murray has moved on to Canon bar.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:48 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


That is also pretty much a horrible way to make any cocktails (for one, the balance of the bottles would be thrown off if he was actually pouring drinks from them over the course of the night).

It is however a great demonstration of creative juggling in multiple mediums. Also I really like the nirvana remix that was playing during his thing as well.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:52 PM on May 29, 2012


Hah! I get Shtifanov after five or six Ouzos!
posted by Twang at 12:56 PM on May 29, 2012


You haven't gotten out much have you? Murray has moved on to Canon bar.

Damn. Well, I guess I have another bar to check out. Cheers!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:00 PM on May 29, 2012


*nostalgic piano riff*
posted by shakespeherian at 1:04 PM on May 29, 2012


I'd prefer Maximus Decimus Publicanus pouring me a shot in 15 seconds then screaming ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? in my face.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:07 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


he and that one judge are really cute..
posted by royalsong at 1:28 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


When I was last in Amsterdam, I went to the Bols distillery, where they are big proponents of flair bartending (in addition to making lovely genevers). There is a little room at the end of the tour where they have an instructional video and some practice bottles (made of plastic) to toss around while doing tricks.

Needless to say, I nearly broke my SO's foot during a vigorous set of maneuvers that were far out of my skillset; I missed the bottle in a frenzied toss-and-grab, and essentially threw it at her tootsies. Fortunately, the neck of the bottle connected with the floor first, and she survived with only a limp. And even more fortunately, the practice room is right by the bar where they serve free drinks, so we were both rather liquored up.

Suffice it to say, flair bartending is difficult.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:37 PM on May 29, 2012


This guy is good, but I have seen way better.

On my first day working behind the bar we all went to see the finals of an international flair contest. I remember the winner's last name was Santa Maria.

After doing all the standard juggling and the simultaneous pouring like this guy, in one motion he picked up a lime, threw it up in the air, picked a knife in each hand, sliced the lemon in three pieces with an upwards stroke of both knives that gave it a little more air, then sliced the three slices again with a horizontal stroke of the left hand knife, caught three slices on the right hand knife, and flung the three slices to splash as garnish in three glasses.

The buzzer sounded while the lemon slices where still flying though the air on their way to the glasses, and a 5 minute discussion took place at the judge's table. The rule said that the drinks had to be 100% complete and garnished before the buzzer. A new amendment was made that said that if only natural forces were acting when the buzzer sounded, the drink would count as completed.

There was a taste test, an oral examination on the history of the specific cocktail, and the guy was tested on his precision pouring.

I thought that that was what all bartenders should aspire to, but then I worked with some of the best bartenders I know. They are fast, they are precise, and they know how to handle people to maximize tips and sales. Juggling stock and customers is way harder than juggling bottles.

I never became a good bartender, but I became a very very good bar back. When I was working, all stations were stocked and clean all the time, and I learned every bartender's style so that they would always have what they needed when they needed without having to ask for it. I could also make 6 mojitos and 4 white russians at the same time behind the scenes, leaving the bartender to collect all the glory and all the tips.

mrzarquon, I would rotate the bottles so that the flair bartenders always had bottles no less than 3/4 full. The best ones are able to adapt to bottles that are almost empty, my roommates would practice with bottles wrapped in duct tape filled to different levels.

The best trick I ever saw was on a super busy Saturday night, were people were lined up 5 deep and waiting 15 minutes for a drink. Usually we would get $1 or $2 tipped per drink. That night people started getting pissed off and the tips suffered. The bartender asked one of the cooks to go stand at the back of the crowd, wave a bill over his head and yell "I'll give you $5 tip if you give me a beer now!". The cook got his beer, the bartender got his tip, and the people started to complain, but then a real customer yelled "I'll give you a $10 tip if you give me 2 martinis right now!". I made my month's rent that night and we all had so much cash we went to a speakeasy to drink champagne and hang out with off duty strippers. Off duty strippers have the best stories.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 1:42 PM on May 29, 2012 [34 favorites]


When will we see flair waiters and cooks outside of a Benihana?
posted by modernserf at 2:07 PM on May 29, 2012


> They are fast, they are precise, and they know how to handle people to maximize tips and sales. Juggling stock and customers is way harder than juggling bottles.

Exactly. The ones I know who make amazing drinks aren't flashy. They are just fast, and precise, and can keep three conversations going at once while keeping track of the seven drinks they have to make.

They are also ones who out of boredom during slow shifts start doing things like bottling americanos and experiment with things like mezcal egg foam to top cocktails with.
posted by mrzarquon at 3:08 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


mrzqrquon: Your profile says you are in Portland, but just this week a bartender in a new bar on Valencia street in San Francisco started mixing a mezcal and egg whites cocktail. I heard him wondering about the possibility of incorporating some extra smoky mezcal in the egg foam itself.

I guess there is nothing new under the sun.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 3:16 PM on May 29, 2012


Kinda takes the whole "shaken, not stirred" thing to extremes.
posted by Runes at 3:40 PM on May 29, 2012


False. This man has no way of knowing my drink, and he's definitely never had it ready for me before I get to the bar.
posted by cmoj at 3:49 PM on May 29, 2012


THE ART OF FLAIR
posted by OverlappingElvis at 3:56 PM on May 29, 2012


> incorporating some extra smoky mezcal in the egg foam itself.

It's called the Richard Gecko (friends bar, whose website I run). They realized they could put the egg white mix in a whipped cream dispenser for on the spot egg foaming a cocktail.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:04 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I should note, the website is kind of broken right now, since I have a non cocktail related job at the moment
posted by mrzarquon at 4:05 PM on May 29, 2012


Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
He gets me my drinks for free
And he's quick with a joke or to light up your smoke
But there's someplace that he'd rather be

He says, "Bill, I believe this is killing me"
As he balanced two drinks on his shoes.
"Well, I'm sure that I could be a circus clown
If the circus would only serve booze."
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:17 PM on May 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm disappointed to see this clip but not one from the related Ukrainian talent show, So you think you can drink?
posted by boo_radley at 6:48 PM on May 29, 2012


Or the other related Ukrainian talent show Can you drink more than a 5th grader?
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:39 PM on May 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Every time I see a flair bartender doing anything I always think to myself 'sooooo, I'd be done.'
posted by ZaneJ. at 8:14 PM on May 29, 2012


Was Stephen Harper a celebrity judge on that episode?
posted by mazola at 8:48 PM on May 29, 2012


Never try and keep pace with a serious Russian drinker. In War and Peace Dolohov drinks an entire bottle of rum in one throw while sitting on a fourth story window ledge. Obviously insane but we are supposed to gather this is standard Russian party practice. Amazingly Dolohov is alive at the end of the book, even though he got shot in a duel and fought at Borodino. It's fiction you see.
posted by bukvich at 9:55 PM on May 29, 2012


Well, my worry'd be waiting the 20 minutes for the splendiforous show to end, just to discover he totally got the drink wrong and what I got tasted like crap...
posted by Samizdata at 10:22 PM on May 29, 2012


In one motion he picked up a lime, threw it up in the air, picked a knife in each hand, sliced the lemon in three pieces with an upwards stroke of both knives that gave it a little more air, then sliced the three slices again with a horizontal stroke of the left hand knife, caught three slices on the right hand knife, and flung the three slices to splash as garnish in three glasses.

So the real trick was turning a lime into a lemon? Sounds like you bared witness to the sour-patch Jesus of tending bar!
posted by disillusioned at 11:43 PM on May 29, 2012


just this week a bartender in a new bar on Valencia street in San Francisco started mixing a mezcal and egg whites cocktail. I heard him wondering about the possibility of incorporating some extra smoky mezcal in the egg foam itself.

I am intrigued by which bar this might be, Ayn Rand and God.
posted by kdar at 11:51 PM on May 29, 2012


He's good, but man, the editing on that show is frantic..

It's my least favorite tic of modern reality television where something amazing happens and the camera immediately cuts to an amazed face to show, yes, you are allowed and encouraged to be amazed.


The cuts could be timed to stimulate alpha waves or something, like those flashing light trance stimulators. Designed to deliver you to the advertising break with a pliable mush brain. The adverts being an oasis of relative calm.

Or it could just be unwatchable.
posted by asok at 1:52 AM on May 30, 2012


I, too, am interested in this SF bar (and in any others with cool original recipes).
posted by archagon at 2:06 AM on May 30, 2012


I was distracted by the backstage host moaning "How clutch!" in Ukrainian at odd intervals. These shows are hard to watch.
posted by Nomyte at 5:03 AM on May 30, 2012


From the same place that brought you mezcal foam:

A shot of gingerbeer topped with Fernet branca egg white foam.
posted by mrzarquon at 7:49 PM on June 1, 2012


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