A week ago London was hosting the world famous Gelato Festival which took place at the Old Spitalfields Market. Those who visited would definitely agree that some incredible flavours, colours and textures were available for tasting for the thousands of people wondering around throughout the week long celebration of Italy`s very own take on ice cream, GELATO.
So, here we will run through our experience in organising a successfull masterclass and will also leave you with 5 steps that we believe helped us to create a great experience for those attending. As an extra special treat we will also reveal a recipe of one of our very own signature cocktails made with gelato that you can easily make at home.
Organising a masterclass can be fun and challanging at the same time due to dozens of different factors you need to consider when planning. How to keep your audience engaged? How long should it last? What cocktails should be introduced and which ones would not work that well? These questions can be daunting, however they should not stop nor frighten you. For instance, as we first got asked to make some cocktails with gelato we thought that it could be quite complicated due to the creamy texture and unusual flavours best describing these work of art concoctions. Essentially this was never something that could have stopped us, so what followed next was an extensive research on the use of ice cream in cocktails.
Step 1 : Research
Whether you are representing a brand, you are asked to use specific ingredients or simply organising a masterclass for your friends research is a crucial part of the process. It is important to understand what sort of flavours you will be working with and what will go in your drink. As we were asked to use premium quality Italian gelato, we asked the event organiser to provide us with several samples so we could taste them before designing our cocktails. Not too bad after all is it? Tasting the product is crucial and inevitable for a genuine masterclass because it will give you a better knowledge, confidence and credibility for the final show.
Step 2: Time
The length of a cocktail masterclass can vary between just a few minutes and several hours therefore it is important to know how much time will you have to present the cocktails. For example, we have been told that our masterclass should last for about 30 minutes. There were no limit in the number of cocktails that we should introduce to the public thus we decided to present three different drinks. Our point is that time awareness is very important when you plan your masterclass. The time available will have a huge impact on the length and speed of your speech and presentation, the amount of detail you can include regarding each cocktail and the show that you involve in your class. Therefore when planning a masterclass, test how much time does one drink take to make and make sure you have enough time for questions and other interaction, which leads us to our third step.
Step 3: Interaction
If you look up the word masterclass on Google you will get various different descriptions, however the core idea is that ones expertise and knowledge is being passed on to those willing to learn. Keeping this in mind, the story behind each of your chosen cocktails is something that your audience will expect and want to hear and learn about. For example, when creating this specific masterclass, we prepared at least 3-5 minutes of history about the original cocktail, on top of that we spent time in introducing how we created the drink that our guests will be tasting. Of course, this does not mean that the speech has to include all the dates and sometimes overwhelming facts. Think of interesting topics like why the cocktail is so popular at the first place. Which celebrities favourite cocktail it is and what are the origins of its name. For example, if you are introducing the daiquiri in your masterclass why not to start with something like this: `The legend says that Hemingway used to drink 16 glasses of daiquiri in one afternoon!` Information such as this one will definitely get your audience more engaged.
Step 4: Presentation
Here we are talking about the presentation of your cocktails. The looks of your drinks account for half of the desired customer satisfaction. Think of colours, glassware, ice and garnishes. These details determine whether people will be intrigued and happy to taste. As we at Shake&Stir love creativity and experimenting with the newest mixology techniques, we decided to go all in with molecular mixology for this masterclass. Our experience was that using a cream whipper for an alcoholic Bramble foam or making coffee flavoured caviar did not only excite our audience but also got them more engaged wishing to know more which should be your ultimate goal when running a masterclass. Therefore when designing your drinks think of how will they look, what sort of glassware will you be using and how will you garnish them.
Step 5: Personal Brand
Chris Ducker said ‘Your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room – remember that‘. You may question why this is important. Well, if you are organising a masterclass on behalf of you or your company, personal brand plays an important role in your decision making. For example, we at Shake&Stir position ourselves as a bespoke mixology company where we focus on premium quality ingredients and prioritise uniquely designed cocktails and top class service. Thankfully these values went along perfectly with the gelato brand that we represented, however if this was not the case we might have passed on the offer. Therefore when you are organising a cocktail masterclass it is important to understand what you are expected to deliver, whether this is something you believe in and feel confident to get associated with. Think of your values and beliefs, whether they are in line with what you are about to present. Simple as that if you want to come across genuine and want people to believe in you and the masterclass you will have to make sure you believe in it at the first place.
So these were the 5 steps that helped us to deliver a successful cocktail masterclass. We hope that they will help you in organising your very own amazing class and lead to memorable experiences for your guests. Below you will find a recipe of one of our signature cocktails that Shake&Stir introduced at the gelato festival.
Strawberry & Mint Grasshopper
40 ml Creme De Cacao
35 ml Creme De Menthe
1 big scoop of Strawberry&Mint Gelato
Shake and strain in a coupe glass
Garnish with a mint sprig