You don’t really need to know the back story to the drinks in your glass but a little bit of knowledge always helps. Nothing too geeky – well not to start with anyway – just enough information to make you stop and consider what you like, why you like it and perhaps introduce your taste buds to something new.
Let’s face it, the reason most of us stick to one particular spirit, cocktail or type of wine is because we’re scared to step outside our comfort zone. A class where drinks are brought to life can make you appreciate the nuances of whisky, understand the complexity of tequila and reaffirm your love of gin.
There are plenty of places to gen up on wine. Christie’s do an evening course spread over five weeks, Sotheby’s do something similar and Berry Bros. & Rudd run fantastic sessions, taking in fun but informative one-day wine schools including lunch, through to full-on wine boffin material with a certified course devised by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.
Speaking of which, the WSET run its own excellent courses from its campus in London Bridge. Take your pick from the myriad lessons devoted to wine or zone in on those dedicated to the equally fascinating world of spirits. For complete beginners there’s the Level 1 Award, a day-long course introducing pupils to various styles, production methods and service. You also get to try 16 spirits so be prepared! Want to take your knowledge a step further? Try the Level 2 Spirits Award for one day a week spread over three consecutive weeks, and if you really want to earn your stripes on the spirits front, they also run Diploma courses.
But if you simply want to get behind the bar and learn how to make great cocktails, book up at Shaker Bar School. Its highly-recommended one-day class provides invaluable tips on making classic and contemporary drinks including Martinis, Daiquiris, Mojitos and a whole lot more – it’s great fun and more importantly, extremely useful.
Then of course there are drinks Masterclasses. Our favourite in terms of subject, information and inspiration are held at 69 Colebrooke Row. Book up for lessons in Bourbon, Champagne, Mad Men and James Bond cocktails all coming up in the next few months.
Cocktail courses and classes:
69 Colebrooke Row, www.69colebrookerow.com
Berry Bros. & Rudd, www.bbr.com/wine-events/school
Shaker Bar School, www.shaker-uk.com
Written for The Independent Dish of the Day blog 18/4/2013