Buddha Bar winner shows some flair

Buddha Bar bartender wins UAE heat of SKYY Flair Global Challenge

Competitors showed off their flairing skills at  the SKYY Flair Global Challenge UAE heat  last week.
Competitors showed off their flairing skills at the SKYY Flair Global Challenge UAE heat last week.
The winner was Ricky Abraham Lentey from Buddha Bar, Grosvenor House Dubai, who will represent the UAE at the global finals in October.
The winner was Ricky Abraham Lentey from Buddha Bar, Grosvenor House Dubai, who will represent the UAE at the global finals in October.

A Buddha Bar flair bartender has come away triumphant from this year’s SKYY Flair Global Challenge for the UAE.

The Emirates’ regional heat, held last week at CHI at The Lodge in Dubai, saw bartenders from across the country wowing judges with their flairing skills — the art of bar entertainment through the manipulation and juggling of bar tools such as cocktail shakers and bottles.

Competitors were cheered on by a crowd of over 700 people, as the event took place in conjunction with Dubai’s biggest social event for bartenders: the ‘Shakers and Makers’ party, hosted by MMI.

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Ricky Abraham Lentey from Buddha Bar at Grosvenor House Dubai saw off tough competition from the country’s best flair bartenders to win the event, earning the national title as well as €1500 (US $2149) prize money.

As the UAE champion, Lentey will now go on to represent the country at the global finals of the SKYY Flair Global Challenge in Shanghai this October.

Commenting on the WFA-supported competition, which is now in its second year, MMI brand manager for SKYY Michelle Quinn said it had been a great success and she was delighted with Lentey’s win.

“Ricky is a true champion, having dazzled the audience with his remarkable talent and ability in the art of flair,” she said.

“He created great cocktails while delivering a unique style of showmanship that stood out against the other competitors.

“We’re delighted to award Ricky with first place and we look forward to seeing him at the SKYY Flair Global Challenge finals in Shanghai in October.”

A second place prize of €1000 (US $1432) was awarded to Jay Rufino from Zenith Night Club in Abu Dhabi, while Murad Mammadov of Face Flair Bar, Azerbaijan, who was awarded third palce, received a prize of €500 (US $716).

The judging panel for the national competition was made up of WFA judge Nick Hancock; Rebecca Sturt from MMI Bar Academy; former UK bartender champion and MMI training Consultant Charles Clements.

The scoring system used was been created by the WFA to fairly assess and score the performances on stage.

A word from SKYY:


“Premium brand SKYY Vodka created the Flair Global Challenge in partnership with the World Flair Association (WFA).

“The objective was to reward the best of the flair bartending community, while making this growing sport more accessible by highlighting the glamour, spectacle and skill of flair.

“With the rise in popularity of cocktails across the world, SKYY Vodka is passionate about raising the standard and quality of cocktail and bar experiences and the art of flair is an important part of this enjoyment.”

For more information on the SKYY Flair Global Challenge finals in October, click here.

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