LIVING LEGEND – I Taught Tom Cruise

Updated: March 1, 2005

As you may or may not know, I’m the Bartender responsible for training and choreographing the Bartending sequences in the 1988 movie “Cocktail” starring Tom Cruise and Bryan Brown. Both guys were great to work with.

Despite the rumors and the sheer coincidence that many of the bar scenes where filmed at a TGI Friday’s, I want to make it perfectly clear that TGI Friday’s had nothing to do with me getting the Cocktail gig (they wish).

PosterEverywhere I go I am asked the same question “how did you get involved in the movie “Cocktail“? Actually, I was in the right place at the right time with the right talent. While working at the bar in Los Angeles two young ladies came in and they didn’t know what they wanted to drink. However, they did know that they wanted something fruity. I responded by saying “I’ll make you a drink and if you do not like it, I’ll buy it”. The ice, bottles and shakers went flying. I set the drinks down and they liked it. One of the young ladies told me that she worked for a VIP at Disney and that they were searching for a Bartender for the movie “Cocktail“. I told her that I had just won a Bartending competition and my performance was videotaped. She asked if she could get a copy of the tape. I said “yes”. The next day a messenger was sent to my home to retrieve the tape. The tape was viewed and I got the gig!

I spent three months training both Tom Cruise and Bryan Brown; a month in New York, a month in Toronto and a month in Jamacia.

It was an experience of a lifetime, it was beyond my wildest dreams.

Being invited as a celebrity judge at the Legends of Bartending competition held on March 1, 2005 at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada was a heartwarming experience. I was impressed with how far Bartending Flair had evolved. The competition was fierce, the showmanship was extreme and the entertainment was fantastic! They really knocked the top off! The professionalism and dedication of Ken Hall and Jim Allison was evident by their attention to detail. As a result, the three day competition ran like a well-oiled machine. The event was off the hook! I was very honored and proud to be a part of the Legends competition. The contest brought back fond memories to this “old skool cat”.

Be on the look out for my book “Cocktail Behind the Bar” about my memoirs and experiences. The book will include behind the scenes training, pictures, trials and tribulations of other bartenders and will put any tall tales to rest. The target date is November 2005. – Watch this space!




  1. Ken Karpinski

    May 16, 2022 at 8:35 am

    http://bartendbetternow.com/living-legend-i-taught-tom-cruise/ Paragraph 3 needs Los Angeles spelled with two “e”‘s.

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