Justin Pasha’s The Cup Bearer is acknowledged by peers and professionals as the world’s most influential cocktail catering company. By utilizing cutting-edge mixology and the highest level of service, their team of experts create unforgettable beverage experiences. Pasha initiated the brand with the goal of providing a one-of-a-kind cocktail service guaranteed to elevate any form of gathering.
He pulls it off thanks to his staff who aren’t regular bartenders by any means. They are Cup Bearers; individuals who have dedicated their lives to the craft and are carefully selected for their charm and panache. Their execution of Flair Bartending leaves a lifelong impression on guests, and an everlasting story to tell.
Chilled spoke with Justin to learn more about the inspiration for his company, the history of Flair Bartending, and how these “Cup Bearers” perform behind bars worldwide.
Tell us about The Cup Bearer. What inspired you to create this company?
I was inspired to create this company at an actual event, believe it or not. I was in a 5th Ave apartment that was truly luxurious; spectacular decor, perfect lighting; and the food was incredible. However, the bar situation was underwhelming. My wheels started turning and I thought of how much more of a ‘wow’ factor this gathering would have had with a bar that matched everything else. The idea for The Cup Bearer was born and I got to work.
Tell us what you know about the history of Flair bartending.
The first recorded flair bartender was Jerry Thomas in the late nineteenth century. He was famous for rolling a flamed spirit between two metal mugs; this was called the “Blue Blazer.” More recently in 1988, the movie “Cocktail” with Tom Cruise really introduced flair bartending as we know it to the masses.
How does the art of Flair leave a lasting impression on guests?
Flair bartending is a working performance, these bartenders are not only juggling and twirling but they’re actively making drinks at top speed all while engaging with guests, drawing them in to a playful performance as they’re served, we want to bring that energy to our clients’ events. So, we ensure our flair bartenders are well trained in more than just the basic tricks.
What are some simple tips/tricks for bartenders who’d like to incorporate Flair into their daily routines?
Thumb rolls: This is a transitional trick and something to keep eyes on your hands when shifting gears. A thumb roll involves pushing the shaker with the thumb so that it rolls around the thumb before catching it with the same hand.
Palm Spins: This can be done with a Boston shaker or a glass. Just spin the item 360-degrees across the palm. Release, spin out, squeeze and serve!
Ice throws: Start with ice in a glass. Throw the ice over the shoulder, then have it land perfectly in the glass.
Bottle Stalls: Simply tossing a bottle and having it “stay” where it lands. For example, flipping a bottle from the palm to the back of the hand; tossing it up and having it land on the forearm; etc.
Check out some videos on The Cup Bearer’s website.