Cocktail masterclass at All Bar One
June 29, 2016

So far on the blog this year there’s been beer in Sutton Coldfield, champagne in Walsall, wine in Kenilworth and London, and Pimm’s at home. Notice anything missing?

Yep – cocktails. Oh, don’t worry, I’ve been drinking them. I tried out a few at the launch of the brilliant Be At One in Birmingham, and there are all sorts of cocktails often involved in the lovely occasions I get to go to. But a focused cocktail masterclass? Alas, no. Until now, when I was invited to All Bar One on Newhall Street to try out their take on a cocktail masterclass.

That’s how I ended up spending a lovely evening with Ting from The Ting Thing, Charlotte from Lilmisschickas, and Erica from A Little Luxury for Me at probably the least well-known All Bar One of Birmingham’s three branches, indulging in a bit of cocktail-making, cocktail-drinking, and general cocktail-related fun.

Cocktail masterclass at All Bar One

Cocktail masterclass at All Bar One

All Bar One does these cocktail masterclasses and they seem a great bit of fun for anyone from a gang of mates to a hen party. While we were there, we actually saw a couple doing one on their own too. For our own session we started off with some ice-breakers, including picking a team name (props to Charlotte for coming up with ‘Blogito’ for us!). Then on to the cocktails themselves.

First up was a classic – the mojito. My mum’s favourite cocktail and one I’m also a bit partial to (especially the ones I had in Cuba – yes, that’s a smug reference I’ve dropped in there). Minty, refreshing, and one of those drinks that just reminds you of summer. Our helpful tutor (who happened to be the manager) took us through all the steps of making this historic thirst-quencher.

Making mojitos at the All Bar One cocktail masterclass

To continue the slightly competitive theme of the night, we were all marked on taste and presentation. But for me, the great thing about making your own cocktails was that you could have a go at tailoring it to your own personal taste. Got a sweet tooth? You’ve got the chance to go a bit heavier on the sugar syrup.

Yes, I’m sure cocktail experts just choked on their Negronis when they saw me say that, but come on – the object of the evening was fun, so why not make your cocktail exactly how you like it?

Mojito at All Bar One cocktail masterclass

Mojito at All Bar One

Next up was something I simply cannot believe I haven’t had before – a French Martini. Now, I’m not a massive fan of traditional martinis but I love an Espresso Martini and when I read the ingredients list for its French cousin I knew I’d love it. Pineapple juice, Ciroc pineapple vodka and Chambord. What’s not to like?

It was another relatively simple one to make – well, for most people. I think I was the only one who accidentally strained mine into the wrong glass. But mistakes aside, it tasted fab. Sweet, fruity, and yet slightly more sophisticated than a Sex on the Beach or Woo Woo.

Mixing a French martini at All Bar One
Straining a french martini at All Bar One

French martini at All Bar One

French martini at All Bar One

And so to our last little challenge – a Disaronno Sour. Another one right up my street. I was first introduced to Disaronno at university by one of my pals whose go-to drink is Disaronno and coke. If you haven’t had it, it’s a lovely amaretto-flavoured Italian liqueuer. Yum!

Our Disaronno Sour (I say ‘our’ because I was just following instructions. I am a numnuts when it comes to making cocktails, so really you could have told me to put anything in, and I’d have just gone along with it) mixed lemon juice, sugar syrup, pineapple juice, Disaronno and Angostura Bitters.

Making a Disaronno Sour at All Bar One's cocktail masterclass

The result was a lovely summery drink that combined the sweet almond and pineapple with a little punch from the lemon juice and bitters. Ironically, it was possibly the least summery day in Birmingham, with a rainstorm of biblical proportions raging outside. But hey, if you can’t bask in the sunshine, at least you can drink it!

Disaronno Sour at All Bar One's cocktail masterclass

Cocktails completed, I left All Bar One in much higher spirits than I had been in when I trudged in through the front door in the rain. I thought the cocktail masterclass was brilliant fun and a great way to spend a bit of time with either friends or people you don’t know quite so well.

Yes, I’m sure if you’re a cocktail expert you might be a bit beyond this, but for someone who likes drinking cocktails and loved the idea of making up my own as well as learning a bit along the way, I thought it was a lovely little event. We attended for free, but it usually costs £20 and that includes your three cocktails – you don’t even have to have certain drinks, you can tailor it yourself and make sure you get your faves. Not bad at all, in my view!

As mentioned, I was invited to attend All Bar One’s cocktail masterclass for free with some other bloggers to try it out.