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Extreme bartender shakes up Twin Cities

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Bartender Scott Young estimates that he's made about 800,000 drinks in his career. But as an "extreme bartender," the story is more about how he makes them. To Young, slinging drinks is a performance, and mixing cocktails means tossing and spinning bottles and shakers like a circus act (if you saw Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail, you get the idea).

Young is the founder and president of Vancouver-based ExtremeBartending.com, and he is in the Twin Cities on tour to show off his skills. He'll be at Lord Fletcher's restaurant on Lake Minnetonka today from 3 to 7 p.m. "I'll be telling jokes, throwing things, playing bar games, teaching people how to do some moves, and giving a full performance," he says.

Young makes his living teaching the bar arts, giving seminars and training in "flair" bartending to restaurant staffs around the world (his company has taught in 14 countries and 27 states), consulting, selling instructional DVDs, and hiring himself and his employees out to parties and special events.

But extreme bartending, Young says, is about much more than bottle-flipping. "We want to take performance bartending and customer service to the extreme. We think a bartender should be a gracious and entertaining host." As a result, his two- to five-day training sessions include a 135-page manual not just on acrobatics but on customer service, salesmanship, how to deal with problem customers, responsibly serving alcohol, and even joke-telling ("You've got to have some good bar jokes," he says.)

In fact, he gets offended at bartenders who are just phoning it in. "This is my business," he says. "If you clearly don't give a shit, go drive a truck."

At Fletcher's, Young might also give away a few tips about popular new recipes. One of his recent favorites is the Killer Watermelon (a half-ounce each of melon liqueur and Southern Comfort and an ounce of cranberry juice. Shake and strain into a double shooter or martini glass). He also mentions something called a beerita. Yes, it's a combination of a beer and a margarita. Like we said, this is extreme bartending.