Drinks with Flair

Completion of your standard RSA and RCG certificates and some talent for performance can lead to a fun and exciting way of mixing drinks, as long as you're not afraid to break a few glasses while learning.

A popular and entertaining skill that is hard to do, flair bartending, became popularised by Tom Cruise in Cocktail, but few bartenders can claim to have won the title of World Flair Bartending.

Champion Hayden Wood, aka 'Woody', is the leading authority on flair, bartending and mixed drinks in Australia. SkillsOne chats to Hayden about his job.

About Woody:

He was born in New Zealand and has lived in Sydney since 1995.

Hayden has mixing drinks since he was a kid, being an enterprising 14 year old he began hosting his own parties, and eventually selling alcohol he had fermented and distilled himself. He was inspired by world champion bartenders, one of whom returned to his small town and opened a cafe bar where after many months of hassling, Hayden finally got a job and spent many years learning basic recipes and customer service.

Finally after a year of training Woody began learning how to throw bottles, and thus began his love of flair. An expanse of inspirational knowledge gained from over 15 years in the business he is an entertainer, an educator and author of what is now regarded as the benchmark for cocktail and mixed drinks books.

He has won numerous flair and bartending awards, culminating in the title of World Flair Bartending Champion in 1996/97. Woody has also presented over 600 workshops to more than 20,000 bartenders and industry people worldwide.

From 1998-2000 he toured Italy three times teaching over 5000 students his craft. He also runs regular workshops for hospitality students and industry professionals throughout Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies.

About Woody's Companies:

Woody has two companies: The Liquid Kitchen which is involved in training people who want to mix drinks and cocktails at home. Mondo Bartending which offers mobile bartending for events and productions. Woody also has a line of books of cocktail recipes and bartenders' secrets.

About The Good Food And Wine Show:

The Good Food and Wine Show (GFWS) is Australia's greatest food and drink lover's event - tonnes of free gourmet food and beverages. You will certainly have to loosen your belt a notch or two. After a hugely successful season last year the Beverage Theatre will be back bigger and better! The Beverage Theatre is about teaching home cooks how to enjoy professional quality beverages in their own kitchens. Demonstrations and audience workshops hosted by the industry's finest will take the mystery out of recipes and trade secrets.

Set to be one the main attractions at this year's Good Food and Wine Shows, Woody and others will be mixing it up on stage all day, demonstrating how to make fresh and funky cocktails, the perfect latte and offering light-hearted wine and beer appreciation classes. Sessions will include audience participation and tasters for a truly interactive and informative experience.

About Hospitality:

Hospitality training is offered at various TAFE locations around Australia and a number of private colleges focusing on bar service and responsible service of alcohol, as well as more complex mixology and cocktail mixing techniques.

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