What You'll Need to Get Started at Home

Room Setup

You’ll want to take the time and get yourself set up for practicing the drinks. Yes, we always want to jump straight into having some fun making cocktails, but preparation is always important. 

  • Find a space with a waterproof floor. Carpet is no good. Glass still breaks on carpet and any slivers will remain in the fibers for years. Tile, Linoleum, Concrete… all of those work well. 
  • Get a broom and mop. You will spill. You will spill many times. That’s all part of the learning process. Make sure you have a mop ready to soak up that wetness so you don’t have a slippery floor. A broom and dustpan will sweep up any ice before it melts, plus is great for collecting broken glass. Yes, you will probably break some glasses too.
  • Turn on the lights. To see everything that is going on, you will need to have enough light to learn by. Sure, setting the ambiance by turning the lights down low is cool… but as humans we are visual learners. If you can’t see what you are doing right, or wrong, then it’s really hard to build good habits.
  • Set up a mirror. Being able to see yourself make drinks is a big benefit. Keep an eye on your body language. Watch your use of the shaker tin. Model your actions on those bartenders you have seen in action
  • Turn on some music. Fill the room with some music at a low volume. That ‘mood’ music will help fill your practice bar area with some much needed noise. 
  • Set up a tablet or laptop. Keep these expensive devices away from your drink making area, no need to get those wet. Consider setting up a separate ‘learning’ area where you only sit and make notes on the drinks. Use your time behind the bar to recall those recipes, and use only your flashcards for support.

Learning Materials

Get yourself the usual tools needed for learning anything, including

  • Two Pens
  • 1 Notebook
  • A set of Highlighters, different colours
  • 100 index cards

You will likely want access to a printer as well, so you can print out the cocktail recipes for quick reference. We have those cocktail recipe sheets available for download in each section to give you another way to absorb the material.

Also, get yourself a stopwatch. When we are training the students in our hands on classes, we’ll just use an app on our phones. Understanding how long it takes you to make one, or 5 drinks, will help you gauge your speed and efficiency.