Bar supervisor and ace mixologist Ryan previously worked at Hotel Gotham – where he served Boy George at the opening party of ‘The Voice’ – and at Cloud 23 where he served a slew of ‘slebs’. To set the scene and relax the shaking arm we were offered a glass of Ryan’s own ‘Sangria’: he prepares all his own syrups and juices and this lovely mix of Rioja, Rosé, white wine, Cointreau and Brandy, spiced up with his own lemon Juice and ginger cordial, was perfect testament to his skills.
We’d pre-selected the cocktails we wanted to learn about: Classic Daiquiri, the quintessential rum cocktail, plus everyone’s current favourite, Espresso Martini. We learned from Ryan that a Daiquiri is basically a very simple mix of rum, lime and sugar, but like everything in life it’s getting the balance right that’s the trick. Ryan had pre-prepared his sugar syrup and lime juice and lined them up for us alongside the Havana Rum. Quality ingredients really do make a difference to the result, especially when there are only three of them! Then he showed us how to prepare the glass with lots (and lots) of ice and how to handle the measure and the glass at the same time – harder than it looks! Then the fun bit – shakin’! There’s a way to do this right and another way ….we struggled through the ‘other way’ for a little while until it clicked and we started to ‘get it’. This is the fun bit and caused quite an uproar as our various styles, and the end results of course, were assessed by Ryan. He agreed that our Daiquiris were absolutely delicious – reminiscent of tropical sunsets, and pretty impressive-looking for a first go.
By the time we got to the rich and indulgent Espresso Martinis we were much more relaxed (!) Our prep was spot-on, our pouring was perfect and our mixing amazing. Our shaking could best be described as ‘free-style’ however, but executed with much enthusiasm to make up for the lack of aplomb! That three simple ingredients (freshly brewed but chilled espresso, vanilla vodka and Tia Maria) could create this little bit of heaven when mixed just so is one of the wonders of the world in my humble opinion. Completely delicious in every way.
The result? Six happy testers who’d learned something new (and useful may I add), had a good old giggle and tasted quality cocktails as they should be. Thanks Ryan – cheers!
Cocktail masterclasses are available at Time & Place Bar, by arrangement for groups of up to 6 people, and cost £20.00 each including a welcome drink and two cocktails