European Bartender School

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Who doesn't love a good cocktail? Sometimes, I like to think cocktails are more of a girl's best friend than diamonds

When the European Bartender School based in London invited me to their first ever blogger event I was definitely intrigued. I could just imagine myself shaking those cocktails to perfection and flipping stuff around my head like a pro
I could not have been more wrong. Read on to find out more...

The European Bartender School (EBS for short) is based in Bermondsey in London, but they also have schools all around Europe also. The instructors themselves were from various places such as New Zealand, Lithuania, so it is a very multi cultural school

When we got there, they had a mojito all ready and waiting for us to sample and then we dived straight in with learning how to free pour

Free pouring is basically where you pour a certain measure of alcohol freehand! No measures or optics to help you at all. Seems daunting, and is definitely much harder than I anticipated
You had a certain way to hold the bottle of alcohol and grip it (ours were filled with water, so there was no wastage don't you worry) and to stop the flow from the bottle you had to give it a little bounce and a flick of the wrist. I got the hang of it... eventually...

We were then given the task of pouring a single shot, and a double. A single is 25ml, so we were taught to pour for 4. A double is 50ml, so a count of 8. I found I got closest when I poured for 3 and then did the whole 'bounce and flick'

After free pouring and trying to master that technique, there was the chance to sample another cocktail *yay* with some food
This one was called a 'Crush 43' and used Licor 43, lemon and topped with soda
This was heaven in a cocktail and I thoroughly recommend

Whilst eating, we were given a cocktail list of cocktails that we would be recreating at the bar they have set up. Again, all alcohol bottles contained water in so there would be no spillage or wastage

The bar was so high! And I am not saying that to be punny. I wasn't much taller than it LOL, so pouring from shakers, and free pouring into the cocktail glasses proved a bit more difficult because they were actually higher than I practiced with

We also learnt how to make 2 cocktails at a time, as well as the methods of making drinks with a strainer, a muddle and a churner and the good ol' shaker everybody knows

Making 2 at a time was so complicated when free pouring and I just don't know how bartenders do it! Having to count out 2 different measures at the same time gets confusing

After the bar work and making up our cocktails, that weren't actually real but the principle was the same, we went on to flair work

The exciting and awe inducing throwing about of cocktail shakers and bottles
Needless to say, I did not come away the expert that I wanted to. I only managed to twirl a straw around my finger successfully! I did come away with many bruises from the flair work though as a parting gift, as well as the knowledge that it is much harder than I thought and I have a massive new respect for bartenders who can do all of this fancy trickery whilst making drinks

I couldn't even twirl a napkin in the air! Let alone throw a bottle behind me and catch it within my other hand
It was definitely fun to try it all out though and be given the opportunity to learn how to attempt it all

As a parting gift we were then handed one final cocktail, and a really nice EBS bottle opener as a lovely little unexpected gift, but also a great memory of the day itself

It is all definitely a lot harder than I ever anticipated! I am so tempted to book a course so that I can become a bartending master, as it frustrated me that I couldn't do it. But we managed to learn a lot within blocks of 45 minutes. These courses are normally 4 week courses! So I didn't do too badly after all which makes me feel a bit better and a little less frustrated

Do you enjoy cocktails? Would you want to learn flair bartending?
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  1. This looks like such a cool experience! I always left the cocktail making to my manager as it looked so difficult lol

  2. Freehand measuring sounds do-able (ish!), but 2 at a time - jeez! No wonder they need to offer courses in it. It must be sooo hard!!


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