Bartending Tricks: How to Flip a Bottle

If you have recently completed your mandatory alcohol server training (MAST) course then you’re probably ready to start working as a bartender. If so, you’ll probably want to learn a few bartending tricks to make serving more fun and to increase your tips! The first handy little trick you’re going to want to learn is how to flip a bottle, which you will use while making cocktails, serving beer, and mixing drinks. When you are first learning this trick it is very important to focus on balance. Also, please DO NOT try this if you’ve been drinking as you could actually hurt yourself.  Ready to learn your first bartending trick? Let’s get started.

How to Flip

Basic Technique: The following is a step-by-step guide designed to help walk you through the mechanics of flipping a bottle. Please use a plastic bottle when practicing for your first time.

Step 1: Grip the bottle with one hand by the neck, and hold a cup or glass with your other. Make sure you get a feel for the weight, and keep in mind every bottle is different for future flips.

Step 2: Gently flip your wrist forward to swing the bottle upward. Note: You don’t want to flip too hard as the bottle will go too high.

Step 3: Let go of the bottle when it swings on its own and then catch it once it has done a complete revolution with the neck pointing downwards. You will also want to move the cup or glass underneath the neck of the bottle in order to catch any liquid before it spills.


Start by grabbing a variety of different sized plastic bottles and then fill them up with water (about halfway or three quarters of the way full is probably realistic). Practice the trick over and over until you have it mastered it. Master status occurs after you can successfully do the trick ten or more times in a row without dropping the bottle. Once you have reached master level you can try with a glass bottle. Just make sure you practice in an area where it is easy to clean up any mess in case you accidentally drop the bottle.

Tips while practicing: You should practice with the lid on first so you can learn how to ‘catch’ the bottle neck first without having to catch a spill. You should also practice with different types of cups and glasses including wine glasses, cocktail shakers, and all other glasses you will find at a bar.

Perfecting Your Art

There are many variations to the basic bottle flip, many of which are required for flair bartending. The most common single “hand bottle flip” is simply pouring the alcohol directly into a glass. Other variations include flipping the bottle and catching it with your opposite hand, flipping the bottle and allowing it to spin twice before catching it, and (if working with plastic bottles or very cheap alcohol) flipping the bottle higher for a more dramatic effect.

Remember, you’ll want to fully master this technique at home with the same bottles you will be using at the bar before you try it at work.

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