Cocktail Making Classes - How do they work?!
So what exactly does go on at one of my Mobile Cocktail Making Classes at Home?!
And why are you so busy?!
That’s the 2 questions I get all the time from interested Hens and Corporate Events.
Well, I’ll start with the 'busy' part of the question…
I believe in the power of owning a real tight niche. When I started out as Thirst First back in 2012, I didn’t really know this. I just took on anything and everything. Big Wedding Bars, Small House Parties and the odd Cocktail Making Class at Homes. Even though I was doing Cocktails as a Mobile Bar, It was still kind of 'Jack of All Trades'. If you look at any Industry, there are always Smaller Niches within the main Niche. Make Up Artists and Hair Stylists specialise in certain Styles. Photographers will have their own Style and Events...Weddings, Portraits, Animals, Property etc etc. A Baker may bake a unique kind of Bread. And on a different Level, Doctors and Nurses specialise in one major thing. So just because I did Cocktails, it still doesn’t matter, to get busy and become memorable, I still needed a smaller niche.
It wasn’t until I hired a Business Coach in 2015 who dragged my 'Why' out me in my first session, that I realised, not only did I love educating, but I had a unique talent of making Education, Fun.
At that time, I had started to get more and more Cocktail Making Class enquiries, but nothing like what it is today. back in 2015, I was getting maybe 2-3 a week. Now i get 5-8 on an average DAY!! So I took that bold decision to drop everything big. All the Weddings and Parties of over 100 people. My Van Went. My Unit went. My Team went. And I niched right down into Hen Party Cocktail Making Classes, with the odd Corporate Event thrown in. And Yes, I still take small House Parties and more and more Gin Tasting Nights, but the one thing that is truly synonymous with Steve the Barman, is that Hen Party Cocktail Making Class.
Over the last 4 years, I’ve reinvested in my own Kit. I’ve constantly evolved. But the true key is that I have absolutely perfected the flow of the class. The Cocktail choices and more importantly, how it all comes together on the Night.
You see, I do it as a Story and a Theme.
My whole ethos is to bring you as much Fun as possible. BUT, I want there to be education. I WANT you to be able to go away and recreate these Cocktails for yourselves at home. I base everything I do on ingredients you can source easily. I teach Hacks and Methods that make it easy for you to replicate. There is nothing complicated.
Because I learned early on that actually, Hens ARE interested. They are not just there to get drunk. Deep down, they actually want to learn how to make a Pornstar Martini, or a Mojito at Home. They want to be able to impress friends and family with slight quirks on original recipes.
So that’s what I’ve done. I’ve crafted this whole 2-4 hour experience around that central theme. Yes you will have Fun. Yes you’ll get those funny Instagram and Snapchat moments. You'll get your Boomerangs. Yes there will be banter. But also, you will learn something.
And that’s why I believe I dominate my Niche.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some other really cool Mobile Cocktail Class people out there, and in fact I regularly pass enquiries off and recommend at least 5 others nationally. That’s all part of my Customer Service. I now get enquiries all over the UK, but I'm too old to travel over 2 hours now. So 10 years ago, a Scotland Road Trip may have been fun, but now, Social and Cocktail gets my Enquiries. Down south, while I'd LOVE to get back home for an event, Bar Matt and Cocktails & Games get my Enquiries. And anything along the M62 Corridor up north goes to Mix & Twist or Zest. But the thing is with some of these companies. The bigger they get, the more overheads they incur. So not only does it push price per head up, but some of them are just not interested in a Hen Party of 14 Ladies. Where as, I’m in my absolute element! I'd rather have 12 Hens, than 30! Again, that's my Niche!
How does the night work?!
I have 2 formats, the Standard and the Premium. Basically 3 Cocktails and 5 Cocktails.
With the Premium you get a Cocktail Tree and of late I’ve been rolling out my Blood Orange Spritz's. Think Aperol Spritz, just ever so slightly sweetened up with some Blood Orange Syrup. It’s simply lush! I have been thinking of changing it for a while now, but it just goes down soooo well at the start of my Masterclass, I never want to get round to it!
Once they’re out of the way, step forward the Tiki Fire! This is also how the standard Masterclass begins.
Tiki Fire does exactly what it says on the tin. It Brings the Fire!!
It’s a 75% Spiced Rum. Although the reason it gets everyone, is that people think it’s just a Toffee Vodka.
Why do I use Tiki Fire?!
Well, I’m a bloke, I like to get to the Climax sooner, rather than later 😉. Haha. Well, it’s a little bit of that, but it’s also to get people in the mood. I do get a few nervous Hens and what I find this does is (a) a bit of Team Bonding from the off and (b) brings people out of their shells.
Now, I would also like to point out that I’m not sponsored by the product at all. But it’s been a staple part of my Masterclass for a good 12-18 months now. However, I am now working more closely with Dead Mans Fingers. It’s a Spiced Rum from Cornwall. And being Cornish myself, it’s a perfect fit. However, it’s not 75%. It's a mere 37.5%. So, I’m working on something to give it that shock Value. Watch this space for July 2019.
Now the Masterclass in earnest begins…
The 3 Cocktails are normally the same, But again I’m currently twisting them up. I do like to take on the whole Vodka, Gin, Rum thing, but obviously working with Dead Mans Fingers, it’s not what I’d call a Mojito Rum. So while “Mojitos” stay, I’ve now flipped them in to Gin Mojitos (or Southsides as they’re technically known) and I’m rolling out a Apple & Elderflower Mojito. So that’s Cocktail one.
Cocktail two is a staple. It’s the Pornstar Martini. This is where we get a bit livelier. We test Shakefaces. You see everyone has a different Shakeface. And Yes, this is where we get the big cheer from the Hens….
Cocktail three has obviously flipped up again. Until recently, it used to be the Gin based Bramble. However with Gin in the Mojitos, I now bring the masterclass to a close with my totally gorgeous Rum Punch, with, yup, Dead Mans Fingers. This is a proper Rum Punch in Tiki guise. Lots of Fruit, lots of Spice, lots of Flavour.
Now, if you’ve booked the Premium, there is also one more Drink in the form of a Game.
This has been a work in progress over the last year as nothing seemed to fit.
First up, I did a “Create you own Cocktail” Game. But with more than 12 people, it just takes waaaaay too long and loses the flow. So that’s out. Then I tried some layered shots. Now that wasn’t too bad…right up until the point I got a different brand of Sambuca one day and what I can only guess was maybe some defective Baileys. I did take one for the Team that night, but while demonstrating something I’ve been able to do for YEARS, do you think I could get the bloody Baileys to sit on top of the Sambuca?!! I thought I was just having a mental block, so in my haste, tried it the other way, even though I knew that for the last 20+ years, I’d been layering Baileys ON Sambuca…PERFECTLY!!!! Nope, that didn’t work either. So for 3 minutes I just looked like a right tit! And if you’re wondering, instead of the normal Luxardo, I had to use Antica that week. So that game has gone, just out of protest!!
So, what I have right this minute is, “Fumble in the Dark”. And it seems to be working quite well. Hens have to make a Cocktail…Blindfolded!! I show them first obviously! Now this could end in disaster, but it never has! Yet...
So that’s it. That’s 2 hours, or 3-3.5 hours for Fun, laughter and plenty of Banter.
It's such a simple format, but I like to think it’s my stories, my methods, my tried and tested “script” that I’ve now done 250+ times that I’ve got it nailed to an art form.
I may change the Game up again if something else springs to mind. Suggestions welcome. But the one thing it can’t do, is lose the flow with a Bigger group. Once you’ve got the Hens in the Zone, if you let them go, that’s it. You’re back to the start. Maybe with another Tiki Fire to re-invigorate….
Would you like to book a Cocktail Masterclass?!?!
I warn you though, Saturdays go exceptional Early. I’m writing this is May 2019. My next Free Saturday is November 16…and of the 22x 2020 Bookings already in my Diary, 19 of those are Saturdays. That’s insane. 19 Saturdays already booked well over 12 months out!