How to do bartender tricks

JamieTurner Mar 19, 2008 Other
For the mixologists out there, or bartenders, making tips is the best way to increase their income. Barkeeps use a variety of skills and methods to suggest a patron place monetary gifts on the bar for their taking. How they entertain can vary from witty stories and jokes to clever tricks and dares using any of the materials they have at their disposal from behind the counter. Hey, even if you’ve just got friends or family to mix drinks for from behind the bar at your home, you can always use some of these fun tricks for everyone’s entertainment.


Things you’ll need

  • green olive and a brandy snifter glass
  • bar napkin and pen or pencil
  • any chosen liquor to drink
  • any chosen beer or wine to drink
  • 2 sugar cubes, 1 cigarette lighter, and 1 ash tray
  • 2 ice cubes, some salt, and 2 pieces of human hair about 6 to 8 inches long
  • 2 identical shot glasses, 1 non-porous piece of paper (playing card, over-sized match book, etc.), glass of water, and any choice of liquor
  • 1 newly emptied bottle of Grand Marnier, a matchbook, a cork, a straw, and a sword cocktail pick.


Procedure Steps

  1. This dare is called “The Olive in the Brandy Snifter.” The objective is to put an olive in a brandy snifter. The rules are that the person can’t touch the olive with his or her body (hands, mouth, etc.). They also can’t scoop the olive with the snifter, nor can they roll the olive off of the bar into the snifter. The solution to this challenge is to put the olive on the bar. Then put the brandy snifter upside down over the olive. Slowly rotate the brandy snifter around the olive. The olive will roll around the inside walls of the snifter (using centrifugal force). Once the olive is spinning around the middle of the snifter, flip the snifter upright and place it on the bar.
  2. This little joke is a way to embarrass your friends or patrons (SO pick your victims wisely!). On a bar napkin, write down the following: I am we Todd it. I am sofa King we Todd it. Ask your friends to continue reading the words out loud until they understand what they are really saying. Then pass the napkin around to find new victims. You’ll have the added enjoyment of the 1st victims laughing at the new ones.
  3. Here’s a trick that you can use to get a free round of drinks, so bartenders will have to abstain from this one (until they get off work, at least!). It’s called “The Race.” To set this up, first tell your victim that you will drink 3 pints of beer faster than they can drink three small shots of liquor. The rules of this challenge are that neither person can touch the other player’s glass or shot. To win this game, start drinking your beer. Your victim will take their first shot. As soon as you finish drinking your first beer, place your empty pint over your victim’s third shot. Take your time and enjoy your free drinks. Your victim can’t touch your glass, and you’ll win every time.
  4. Here’s another challenge to get a free drink, it’s called “The Sugar Cubes Trick." To begin this stunt, hand someone a sugar cube and a lighter. Bet them a drink that they can not light the sugar cube on fire. They will try to light it on fire by putting the flame under it. They will only get the cube to smoke, char and smolder but it will not catch on fire. Now to show them how to do it and get your free drink, rub your sugar cube in an ashtray to get some ashes on it. Hold the flame to the sugar cube, it should light right up.
  5. This challenge for your customers to try is called “The Switch.” Fill one shot glass with water and the other with any liquor of your choosing. The challenge is to get the bourbon into the glass that has the water, and the water into the glass that has the bourbon without using any other containers (including your mouth or anyone else's mouth). To correctly perform this one, place the non-porous piece of paper on top of the shot of water. Turn the card and water shot upside down carefully. The paper will stay attached to the shot on its own accord. Now, place the water shot glass and card on the shot of bourbon.  Slowly and carefully pull the paper out just far enough to make a very small opening between the two glasses. Water, being heavier than alcohol will flow to the bourbon glass and displace the bourbon into the water glass. You have just made the switch. After practicing this bar trick, you’ll be able to replace the paper between the two shot glasses and remove the bourbon and put it back on the bar.
  6. Here’s a wild trick that’s also a little dangerous if not performed correctly. It’s called “The Wish in a Bottle.” To begin this stunt, ask your customer or a friend to think of a wish. Show them the plastic cocktail sword pick and tell them that if it sticks in the ceiling their wish will come true. Take a newly emptied Grand Marnier bottle and put a cork in it.  Place the bottle under hot water for about 10 minutes.  While the bottle is heating, take a straw and bend it in half.  Take you sword pick and stick it through the fold in the straw.  The straw should be folded back over the handle of the sword pick. When the bottle is ready, carefully remove the cork so the heated gas in the bottle does not escape. Quickly put the straw and the sword in the bottle with the tip of the sword pick pointing out the opening of the bottle. Have the person make a wish as you drop a match into the bottle. If the straw sticks in the ceiling, their wish will come true!
  7. Here’s one more trick that you can use to get a free drink, but if you’re on the clock behind the bar, you’ll have to wait until you get off work to try it. It’s called “The Ice Cubes Trick.” Before you can perform this one, you’ll need to get 2 ice cubes, some table salt, and 2 pieces of human hair (about 6 to 8 inches long). When you’re ready, bet a friend a free drink to the winner if they can pick up an ice cube with one piece of human hair. The average person will try different things, but no matter what they do, they won’t be able to get the ice cube off the bar. When it’s your turn, place the ice cube on the bar, take a strand of human hair and place it across the top of the ice cube. Then, take a little salt and sprinkle it on top of the hair and ice cube. The salt will cause the ice cube to re-freeze around the hair. In a few seconds you will be able to gently lift the ice cube off of the bar. 


  • Practice “The Olive in the Brandy Snifter” trick before trying it out. The olive has a tendency to come out of the snifter when flipping upright.
  • For performing “The Switch” trick, make sure the opening between the glasses is very small.  A large opening will cause the water and alcohol to mix.


  • For the trick “The Wish in a Bottle,” there will be a large flame and the straw and the sword pick will be forced out the bottle. Be sure to keep your face and others away from the opening.


What did you think of this tutorial?
+ 11
2 CommentsAdd a Comment
john on Apr 24, 2014
Very very very very good
el papi on Sep 28, 2012
very goodddddddddd
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  • Last Updated : Mar 19, 2008