The sun is shining and the temperature is creeping up, but while we’re still in lockdown it means we can’t plan any trips to the pub garden or your favourite rooftop bar to make the most of enjoying drinks in the sun.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t make your own happy hour from home.
We’ve already got you covered with three-ingredient cocktails you can make at home here, but if you want to refine your repertoire beyond these simple drinks, try a virtual cocktail-making class online.
Led by the experts, you can master the art of mixology and concoct your very own at-home bar.
If you’re looking to practice on your own beforehand to perfect the basics, try a few recipes from A mixologist’s guide to making cocktails by Jordan Spence (Amazon, £19.83) which topped our IndyBest guide to cocktail recipe books. It has straightforward diagrams and easy to follow advice to get you started.
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Have your equipment ready
While some of the cocktails classes below will send you all the kit you will need, for those that don’t, we’ve got some tried-and-tested of the essentials you’ll need if you’re joining an Instagram class.
In our review of cocktail shakers the KitchenCraft boston shaker (Bakewell Cookshop, £15.50) was our top rated product.
Made from brushed stainless steel and sturdy glass, it’s been printed with classic cocktail recipes for you to easily follow. All you need to do is follow the recipe and fill the shaker to the line and you’ll have the perfect serve for a dry martini, manhattan and more.
For a stylish addition to your kitchen cabinet, this Alir brass cocktail shaker (Trouva, £42) is more than purely decorative. Our reviewer found it to be very easy to use and said the knob on the top makes it easy to pull apart the two pieces when you’re finished shaking.
If gin is your tipple of choice, try Ramsbury gin, 70cl (Waitrose, £35) which topped our best gin list. It’s made on the Ramsbury Estate in Wiltshire (also home to the UK’s pub of the year, The Bell), utilising wheat and barley that’s farmed on the estate. It’s then combined with water from their own chalk-filtered source and finished with quince (also grown on the estate). Any leftover grains are fed to their friendly herd of cows.
Vodka fans, however, should taste the Reyka vodka, 70cl (Master of Malt, £26.95) which we loved for its clean, peppery taste, which also the faintest touch of aniseed.
Claiming to be the world’s first green vodka, it uses Icelandic’s pure glacial water and is distilled in a coastal village with air so clean that CO2 levels are actually falling. It’s made in small batches and the distillery is powered by geothermal energy from underground volcanoes.
Once you’re all set, try out one of these online classes in time for the bank holiday.
Chelsea-based cocktail club, GOAT, offers 90-minute classes every Saturday from 7:30pm, in which you’ll learn how to make four cocktails each class, based on a different spirit.
The class costs £8 and as many people in your household can join in. There’s also private zoom party bookings available for three households for £75, which are perfect if you’re celebrating a birthday or hen-do.
Every class you’ll need the same equipment: a cocktail shaker (or anything large enough to fit ice and then ingredients, and have a sealable lid so when you shake it, it doesn’t go flying – a large jar is good for this), ice, a strainer, a measure, a bar spoon and a lemon squeezer.
Visit GOAT now
Before the pandemic hit, Boozy Events hosted pop up bars across Scotland. But now, you can take online cocktail making classes with an expert mixologist.
There’s two classes to choose from, either a private class for just you and the expert, or a group version for as many people as you like, with prices starting from £29.99.
Within that cost includes a cocktail care package with everything you need for the class that will be sent to you, including shakers, jiggers, strainers, muddlers, sieves, the alcohol and all the ingredients you’ll be using, and then all you do is pick a date to book a class.
Visit Boozy Events now
While Mixology remains unable to offer its usual mobile cocktail classes, you can still book online for a virtual one.
Following a similar structure to its physical ones, your host will teach you techniques and lead you in concocting your own creations, finished with a cocktail making competition among all of the attendees.
Prices start from £70 per person, which includes all the professional kit and ingredients in boxes delivered directly to your door. All you need to provide is the ice.
Visit Mixology now
Direct from its Ibiza outpost, Southside Bars is delivering cocktail making classes for you to make your own “quarentinis” from the comfort of your home.
Each class is an hour and there is a minimum booking requirement of four screens (from different households) and a maximum of 10. It also offers non-alcoholic tutorials too.
Designed so you can join using equipment you already have, all you need to do is enquire on its website and it’ll send you a list of class prices and cocktail options to choose to make in your class.
Visit Southside Bars now
Soho’s 1940s-inspired cocktail bar, Cahoots, has taken to its Instagram to share cocktail making masterclass tutorials that you try your hand at whenever you fancy.
It’s ideal if you don’t want to splash out on a course, but still join in on the fun.
It is also regularly releasing recipes to help you recreate its signature tipples using store cupboard staples.
Visit Cahoots on Instagram now
Every Friday at 5pm, Camille Vidal (the founder of wellness brand La Maison Wellness) hosts mindful happy hours via Instagram Live.
The focus behind the classes is to make mindful and low alcoholic alternatives to your favourite drinks.
While it’s tempting to drink more often while in lockdown, if you’re looking for something that will have less impact on your body, but be just as delicious, make sure you catch one of these classes.
Visit La Maison Wellness on Instagram now
If you prefer your cocktails caffeinated, join in on the #mrblackfriday club, created by Mr Black Spirits.
Every Friday at 4pm, it encourages its followers to create their own coffee-based cocktails at home (hello, espresso martini) and then share their creations on Instagram with the hashtag, as well as sharing recipes to try making themselves too.
Think of it as a virtual get together with fellow coffee cocktail fans.
Visit Mr Black on Instagram now
The best bar trolleys
Once you’ve finished your creation, serve them in style with a decadent drinks trolley.
We were impressed with this deco-inspired Cox and Cox mirrored drinks trolley (Cox and Cox, £450).
Giving the Art Deco trend an industrial edge, it’s reliable functionality is obvious – you won’t have any wobbly mishaps here.
On its own it is an arresting piece, but when filled with reflective glasses and bottles, it positively dazzles – and truly comes into its own.
If you’re after something more minimal, this Cane-Line roll bar trolley (Cane-Line, £835) is sleek and chic thanks to its Scandi design.
A substantially sized product, its industrial influence is clear on first sight. The robust frame is made from powder-coated aluminium, while slatted natural teak forms one of the two trays. We loved the way the wooden tray could fit top or bottom, depending on preference.
10 three-ingredient cocktail recipes you need for this bank holiday
13 best new gins you need in your drinks cabinet
This is where you can get beer and cider delivered from
The online wine shops still delivering during lockdown