Rob Turek says that Tom Cruise got it wrong in Cocktail. Turek, the star of Flair Bartending, says that the fancy bottle-juggling in the 1988 flick takes a few liberties. "The filmmakers weren't bartenders, so they liked to see liquor spilling out of the bottles," he says. "In reality, spillage is unacceptable when flipping."
With a résumé that includes bartending gigs at the defunct Bar Cleveland, the Attic, and Banana Joe's, the 35-year-old Turek now puts on shows three nights a week at Spy. On his days off, he judges international flair-bartending tournaments in Las Vegas and runs a company that teaches his trade to newcomers. His advice for the aspiring: "First, make sure you know how to make drinks, dump ashtrays, keep the bar clean, and take care of guests," he says. "Then you can go to the next level."
Turek's most popular move is called the Fireball, which is performed by spraying a mouthful of rum at bottles stuffed with napkins soaked in lighter fluid. But he prefers the Talladega, which involves juggling two bottles in his right hand, while swiping a third bottle in his left hand between them. "I'm a showman at heart," says Turek. "I'm always trying to get in the spotlight."
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