I’m not going to be the first one to mention that cocktails are a big old pile of expensive, especially in the city. They’re a great treat on a night out, but before you know it you’ve dropped £150 on sub-par Pornstar Martinis and now you can’t afford a house deposit. So we know you’ve got a cocktail shaker lurking around at home somewhere and some old bottles of vermouth; why not make it a party? Cocktail masterclasses are a really fun way to learn a new skill, whilst getting gently boozy at the same time. Is there a better way to learn? I think not.
Find someone who knows how to make cocktails. Bit of an obvious one – but if you’re not the teacher, you’d be surprised by how many people you know may have been a mixologist in a previous life. He might work in project management now, but back in the day your best friend’s husband made cocktails in a 5 star bar, and he still knows how to make the best Old Fashioned because he cracks out the orange zest every time someone walks through the door.
Create your own cocktails. You need to know two cocktails to impress – so teach one classic, and one original. For the classic think Mojito, Cosmopolitan, or Negroni. For the original – the world is your oyster. Think about what suspicious liquors people might have in the back of their cupboards and how you could help them use it up. How about a creative twist on Apple Sourz?
Set the scene. Realistically, is your kitchen big enough to hold more than three people? If you’ve been martini-ing your way through your house deposit, probably not. We’ve put together some amazing spaces to hold a cocktail masterclass in London. Now all you need is some ice (don’t forget the ice).
Capacity: 60 standing, 25 seated
Check it out here: Pop Up @ 99
Cocktail pairing: Sidecar
Ideal for west Londoners – it’s a sweet little venue in a lovely area. The antique wooden floors and fireplace are hankering for a prohibition style event. Great space if you’re combining with a brand as there’s lots of retail space at the front. There’s a kitchenette towards the back, so no washing up in the ladies.
Capacity: 160 standing, 70 seated
Check it out here: The Violin Factory
Cocktail pairing: Modern Martini
New York loft meets modern luxury. Not available for private events, but ideal for exclusive brand launches. Think high-end alcohol brands launching a new line. Loads of natural light and a stunning space, so your event photos will be all over insta before you know it.
Capacity: 50 standing, 50 seated
Check it out here: The Cornershop Bar
Cocktail pairing: Margarita
If you’re looking to keep it more chilled, The Cornershop Bar is for you. It’s got the vibe of your favourite local, but with more crazy decor. We love it – the atmosphere is always great and they know how to have fun.
Capacity: 60 standing, 30 seated
Check it out here: The Drawing Room
Cocktail pairing: Manhattan
You can’t get more speakeasy than The Drawing Room. It’s a literal hidden gem, with walls lined with bookcases and leather chesterfields. Get everyone dressed up and in the party mood for this amazing space. It’ll be a night to remember, as long as you don’t drink too many cocktails. It’s a fine balance, guys.
Location: Leadenhall Street
Capacity: 1000 standing, 230 seated
Check it out here: 140-144 Leadenhall
Cocktail pairing: Billionaire
Got a lot of friends? Have we got the space for you. Ideally located for an after-work masterclass – maybe a fun away day or summer party. The venue has all sorts of different spaces available to hire, and it’s in an old bank just seconds away from the Gherkin.
Location: Canary Wharf
Capacity: 395 standing, 165 seated
Check it out here: The Pearson Room
Cocktail pairing: Mint Julep
Again ideally suited for work events, we love this spot in Canary Wharf. Even though it’s in the middle of the work-action, it’s not a sterile or overly corporate space. There’s plenty of room but you don’t need to hire out the entire venue. Loads of natural light and a mix of antique and modern furniture make it a really flexible option.
Location: Old Street
Capacity: 330 standing, 115 seated
Check it out here: Kachette
Cocktail pairing: Martini
Picture this: you’re under MI5, having a secret meeting with M. Bond is picking his way through the crowd, and what’s he holding? I’ll give you a clue – it’s shaken, not stirred. Another great option for a big event – a brand launch or corporate night with an exclusive, underground feel. It’s close to Old Street so super convenient, and we love the archways.