I will confess, by the end of 2017, I had reached peak ‘cocktail making session’. They became quite the in thing for all blogger events, usually involving a lot of sugar syrup and fruit juice. I hit saturation point, and came to the conclusion that I much prefer ordering cocktails than shaking them myself. Until, that is, Tom’s Kitchen came to the rescue, with a well-structured, actually rather useful, cocktail masterclass.
A gang of bloggers gathered in one of Tom’s Kitchen’s private dining rooms, and were met by lovely cocktail wizard, Noel. He explained the masterclasses consist of three cocktails, usually on a theme (Classics, Sparkling, Seasonal, etc.), and for the evening, he’d be teaching us a different skill with each cocktail.
He began with a creation of his own, the Pompom, which is a combo of lemon vodka, kumquat liqueur and pomegranate juice.
Our first skill of the evening: the sugar rim. Noel ran a wedge of orange around the top of the glass, and then gently rolled the glass into the dish of orange sugar. Easy, and something you could easily do at home to add a bit of fancy to your drinks making.
The ingredients go into a Boston Shaker and get a good shake with ice. I’m generally a bit naff at this bit, but Noel actually explained the correct way to hold the shaker to avoid getting cocktail all over yourself, and how you can tell you’ve shaken it enough. I’ve shaken cocktails many times at blog events, but never actually been told that the shaking is complete when the metal part gets cold to the touch and has a nice layer of condensation across it. Under Noel’s guidance, I was also able to get the glass free of the metal tumbler on my own, for the first time ever. A good start!
Shaking complete, into the glass, as modelled by the lovely Bite Your Brum. I was expecting this cocktail to be very sweet, but it actually wasn’t at all. Instead it was pleasingly fruity, and very drinkable.
Next up was the Poinsettia, a champagne cocktail with Cointreau and cranberry juice. To create these pretty layers, you start by putting the Cointreau and the juice into a champagne flute. Get a bar spoon, and rest the flat part of the bottom of the spoon onto the surface of the juice. Slowly pour the champagne down the twisty bit of the spoon, carefully lifting the spoon up with the champagne as you go. Lift the spoon out, and there you go. Layers.
I don’t have the steadiest of hands, and I was expecting to make a total mess of this, but it’s actually a lot simpler than it looks. Pour slowly, and move the spoon slowly, and you’ll be fine. The above is my attempt, and I think I made some pretty good layers!
Lastly, a classic Gin Martini. We made the stirred version, which is super simple to do, and Noel showed us how to create those pretty curls of lemon peel, by wrapping the peel around a stirrer. Top tip, do this over the glass, and any juice squeezed out will drop into the cocktail. Delicious!
Noel had made the mistake of telling us about another of his creations, that sounded amazing, so we made a fuss until he very kindly rustled one up for us to try. This is the now off-menu CBGV, which combines Bimber Gin, sweet vermouth, basil leaves and fresh chilli. I love a savoury cocktail, and this was absolutely delicious, with a delicate hit of spice. If you’re in the bar of Tom’s Kitchen, ask for Noel, and I’m sure he’d be happy to make you one, even though it is no longer on the menu.
After my masterclass burn-out, I was pleasantly surprised by how good and interesting this was. I learned some new tricks I can easily recreate at home to step up my drink making game.
The masterclasses can be booked at £35 a head (£40 for sparkling cocktails) for groups between 6 and 12 people. Current classes offered are Classics, Tom’s Favourites, Seasonal and Sparkling, but if you want something specific, it’s definitely worth asking. Find out more about the classes here.
I was a guest of Tom’s Kitchen and Rewired PR, and the masterclass was complimentary in exchange for honest review. All words, images and opinions are my own.