ANFA is the All Nippon Flair Bartenders Association. On August 6 they held the Malibu Because Summer Flair Challenge out in Maihama, nearby Tokyo Disney Resort.
Flair was obviously made famous by the super 80s Tom Cruise movie Cocktail. However these days it’s niche at best, and in Japan, you usually have to go out of your way to find it. Sure there are a few bartenders like Shingo Gokan, this year’s Tales International Bartender of the Year, who have a bit of experience with flair. But you certainly wouldn’t expect someone to start chucking bottles in the air when you order a drink. Even flair bars have showtimes at various points in the night, rather than using flair for actual drink orders.
But that doesn’t matter for ANFA. There were 16 entrants to this year’s Summer Flair Challenge, some hailing from as far away as Kobe. Drinks had to use at least 15ml of Malbu, the sponsor of the event. Contestants were graded on difficulty, creativity, smoothness, showmanship, Malibu appeal, and on the drink itself. There were penalties for dropping bottles, mispouring, spills, broken bottles, and things like not finishing the drink at all.
Importantly, the event also had an open bar, with three Malibu-based cocktails: Pina Colada, Malibu
CokePepsi, and summer punch (Malibu, Blue Curacao, and tonic).
The winner was Kan Ichikawa of Ikebukuro’s Colorsol Resort Dining. Congratulations!
Hi there! I created and run nomunication.jp. I’ve lived in Tokyo since 2008, and I am a certified Shochu Kikisake-shi/Shochu Sommelier (焼酎唎酒師), Cocktail Professor (カクテル検定１級), and I hold Whisky Kentei Levels 3 and JW (ウイスキー検定３級・JW級). I also sit on the Executive Committees for the Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition and Japanese Whisky Day. Click here for more details about me and this site. Kampai!