Melbourne is awash with funky dive bars, hidden whiskey joints and laneways that end at a spiral staircase leading up to a swanky cocktail lounge. With all of these options, cocktail making classes in Melbourne have become one of the best things to do in the city. Learning the art of mixology has only grown with the bar scene and the coveted position of the bartender is now viewed as a revered necessity. Learning how to master the martini takes a particularly good teacher, so ClassBento has compiled a list of bars, restaurants and cocktails lounges that are ideal for learning how to make the perfect cocktail.
Rice Paper Scissors is one of Fitzroy’s finest establishments, having been shaking and stirring since 2013. With it’s relaxed, casual atmosphere interweaved with Vietnamese fusion cuisine, this exceedingly trendy joint offers you the chance to learn the mixology arts in a fun, chilled environment. What makes Rice Paper Scissors a noticeable step up from your standard cocktail making classes is the options it gives. You choose between three unique cocktail styles: Vietnamese, Thai, or Tiki. For an additional charge, you and the group can enjoy a five-course banquet after the cocktails.
Continuing the Asian fusion theme, Red Spice Road has been going strong for over twelve years and, having recently refurbished and relocated to Queen St in the heart of the CBD, is looking and tasting better than ever. The bar manager and local legend Kasey runs the private cocktail masterclass and ensures that any group over ten all walk away mastering Red Spice Road’s spirit-fuelled signature drinks. The restaurant in itself is one of the unique experiences Melbourne offers, but learning their signature cocktail art it’s notorious for is a next-level adventure.
Nestled in Prahran - just a short walk from Chapel St - lies Mofo Lounge, a Morrocan inspired bar that’s been feeding and watering Melbourne natives for 17 years. What sets Mofo Lounge apart, however, is the emphasis they place on private bookings. With two unique function spaces over two floors, they have the space to suit almost every booking size and prioritise their booking schedule over standard bar traffic, so you can be guaranteed you and your party are getting the attention they require. The private cocktail classes will show you and your mixology enthusiasts how to prepare three signature cocktails, with a complimentary beverage and a dips platter and cheese board to top and tail your evening, respectively.
Cocktail Making at Bar Ampere
Blink and you’ll miss it, this insanely fashionable French bistro is hidden away just off Bourke St below an ageing electrical substation. Stylish and elegant, Bar Ampere oozes classic French chic and is pretentious enough to be beautifully authentic and self-confident without ever crossing into the realms of intolerable. Their bar staff are experts in cocktail making, and their unique function space is nestled away from the street and the main bar. Serving exquisite Parisian aperitifs and the stinkiest of French cheeses and meats until 3am ensures there’s no better place for a late-night cocktail rendezvous and an exceptional cocktail class experience. Find the secret door and you may just also stumble into Melbourne's notorious Gin Palace...
Cocktail Making at Madame Brussels
Another creation from the brains trust behind Bar Ampere, Madame Brussels is surely one of the cheekiest drinking spots in all of the CBD. A rooftop bar and parlour room, Madame Brussels combines the charm and eccentricity of Alice in Wonderland with the La Maison Derriere burlesque vibe of pre-war Paris. A little bit naughty, their private mixology classes will be sure to get the blood pumping. They only take bookings over ten people however, so make sure you get a larger group to embrace one of the best things to do in Melbourne after dark.
Cocktail Making at The Kilburn
The Kilburn - formerly Melbourne’s famous cigar bar the Baranows Lounge - now lays claim as the suavest corner bar in all of Hawthorn. Thriving inside the heritage-listed “Commercial bank of Australia” building, it boasts the largest whisky selection in the entire city. With a retro, Mad Men-style feel, you’ll be toasting to the golden age of industry as you whip up three classic cocktails with your bartender extraordinaire. Not only can you choose from white and dark spirit classes, but The Kilburn also offers a whisky tasting masterclass, if you have a group that savours the bolder flavours of life.
Cocktail Making at Salona
Old school Greek influence with a modern kick in the teeth, Salona in Richmond is fifty years young and is ageing so damn gracefully. Punching well above its weight, Salona prides itself on fresh, locally-sourced seasonal ingredients and boasts a menu that reads like a yiayia’s cooking dream. Their cocktail courses have gained a reputation as one of the best things to do in Melbourne if you’re looking for a face full of flavour. Their upstairs function space ensures privacy whilst you sip your perfectly balanced cocktail while chowing down on housemade meze, matched to the cocktails by the head chef.
Cocktail Making at Polly
Since 1999, Polly has been making the rest of Fitzroy’s bars, pubs and restaurants up their game. One of Melbourne’s standout walking holes, it recently won the People’s Choice Award in Time Out’s 2016 Bar of the Year competition. It’s also been featured in the Lonely Planet guide to Melbourne, so you know it’s a certified catch. Their rococo-via-speakeasy decor is the ideal environment to master mixology with their famous cocktail classes and their unique range of cocktails. Not only this, but they also offer an absinthe appreciation class and a whisky tasting session. No one knows their booze like Polly.
If you’re looking for cocktail making classes in Melbourne, your martini glass runneth over. The popularity of mixology is only going up, and cocktail courses are steadily becoming one of the quintessential Melbourne activities. Get shaking and stirring and become your own bartender, so next time the drinks come out, you know just how to mix them.