Behind the infamous Martini Flip with Roman Shabodalov

Some of you may have seen a move that has been going around the bartending world as of late, known colloquially as the Martini Flip. It is a move which is up there with the best, based partly on the difficulty but mostly on the risk factor. Can you imagine someone successfully pulling this off in a competition? It would probably be an instant win!




Although the video that has gone viral over the past few months features an Espresso Martini being flipped by bartender Roman Shabodalov (@fred_martens), it all started with a frozen strawberry daiquiri 6 years ago. Here is the story behind the Martini Flip:

Where did your love of flair and bartending all start for you Roman?

“I started bartending 9 years ago at the Be At One in Soho. Because it was so close to the Roadhouse we would often get loads of flair bartenders coming in all the time from the competitors to the bartenders that worked there. We weren’t huge on flair bartending at the time in Be At One, so the guys coming through from the Roadhouse really acted as a big influence for a lot of the bartenders working there. Myself and some the other bartenders I worked with would get competitive and we would try to out do each other’s move. I remember one of the other bartenders flipped a frozen strawberry daiquiri cocktail and so we tried to out do each other, each of us flipping this frozen cocktail and catching it in a different way. This is where the whole idea for what is now the Martini Flip started. (A note from Andy Collinson, “I still remember when Leigh Miller, one of the original founders of Be At One, came up with the original strawberry daiquiri flip! It’s really cool to see how the Martini Flip has has also come from a Be At One bartender, almost 20 years later!”). 

Now I work at Hawksmoor in Spitalfields and this is where I completed my first Martini Flip. It’s been really cool getting messages from some really incredible flair bartenders asking me how I did it and if they can try it. Although there are some bartenders out there who have made videos where you can clearly see they are cheating, such as using cling film, gelatin and other things that alter the consistency! The drink I made is the real deal and I share my secret to ensuring the drink doesn’t move around too much further down the article”.

So what was it that made you think of flipping an entire Espresso Martini?

“Well as I already said the whole concept started with the Strawberry Daiquiri flip six years ago, there was a video done of that too. Lately amongst my personal group of friends that video had been getting a lot of attention so I thought I would try to recreate it but with a new drink!”

Be honest with us, how many attempts did it take before you nailed it?

“Haha a few! I tried it with a normal martini and it just wont work. There was a lot of mopping of the bar floor that night… I then thought about doing it with an Espresso Martini as I realised if you can get it very cold and with a thick foam there is a short window where you can flip the drink and it wont go everywhere! It still took me until my fifth Espresso Martini to do it but I put that down to getting used to the coupe glass! The Strawberry Daiquiri glass had a much wider base than the coupe”.

Do you ever think you will be confident enough to pull this off in a competition?

“No way!! I wouldn’t be able to pull this off but I think someone else could one day. Its a hugely risky move but it would be incredible to see it happen!”

Any more cool moves on the horizon?

“Not really! Flair hasn’t been a massive focus for me but seeing the attention that this move is getting has inspired me to get back in the park practising, so who knows what is to come!”