Making cocktails is a fun group activity that will reward a workforce and develop communication skills.
Design, plan and run your own session or take the team to a city centre bar and let their staff take the lead.
From ideas to pricing, pros and suitability, we’ve covered everything you need to know about making cocktails with your team. Take the DIY approach or book a master class through an external events company. When it comes to fun group activity ideas, this one is a no-brainer.
Scroll down for advice on how to customise a session and a ‘how to make cocktails’ video clip.
Happy planning, folks!
Ok, so obviously you’ll be mixing some easy cocktails, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
However, that’s not all you’ll be doing. While making cocktails is primarily an enjoyable activity, it’s also a good way to assess group behaviour, build communication skills and stress the importance of team member roles.
It’s also a fast and easy way to integrate new team members.
The format of a lesson or master class tends to follow a set formula.
Cocktail making is suitable for groups of 6-10 people and usually involves learning how to make 2-4 easy cocktails.
In the case of externally run events, a mixologist leads the session. It will start with a brief introduction to the history and origins of cocktails. After the intro, your barperson will reveal how to make cocktails without the results tasting like a concoction from the medicine cabinet!
You will also be shown how to perform bar tricks such as flaring – the classic over the shoulder move performed with a cocktail shaker.
Free pouring is also commonly taught and teams will be given lots of cocktail tips.
After a demonstration of a few techniques and secrets to making great cocktails, the group is split into teams. Then everyone gets behind the bar to put the skills displayed during the demonstration into practice. Teams can create already existing cocktails or you can put their creative skills to the test and ask them to concoct a brand new one and name it.
The master class ends with a judging session so you can see who mixed the best beverages. Cocktails are an art and those who listen and work together always get best results.
The experience tends to last between 1.5 and 2 hours and in most cases takes place in a city centre bar, often one that’s part of a chain such as Revolution (UK), Hooters and TGI Fridays (US). Rumour has it that Tom Cruise learned his drink mixing skills and bar tricks for the movie Cocktail from the guys at TGI Fridays so you’ll be in good hands!
Watch this clip to get a feel for what’s involved and pick up some cocktail party ideas:
There’s more to this fun group activity than creating drinks and getting ever so slightly squiffy on delicious beverages. Making cocktails as a group has hidden benefits.
If you are considering it as part of a team building away day, think of it as you would a school field trip. People are learning skills they can transfer to the workplace without actually realising it.
Here are just some of the benefits:
Yes you can, although it’s not necessarily any cheaper to do so as you will need to buy ingredients and source equipment. Whilst you can pick up inexpensive plastic cocktail glasses, spirits are a different matter. Having said that, you don’t need to splash out on top shelf spirits or mixers.
Think carefully before you decide to take the DIY approach to a fun group activity such as cocktail making.
For starters, if you do elect to run the session yourself you will need to be able to mix a decent long drink and perform bar tricks in order to give the group the authentic experience.
In my experience, this activity can easily be customised.
The master class I attended ended with the barman creating a cocktail especially for our group. We modelled it on a favourite celebrity. If you want to put a business slant on the experience, you could always model yours on a famous business tycoon or a figure who personifies your company.
The format may vary slightly but all types of session focus on learning a new skill in a fun and informal environment and are brilliant for boosting morale in the workplace
Here are some cocktail party ideas and tips that will help you to plan your own session:
This video clip will show you how to make cocktails
If you are planning to run your own master class, make life easy by choosing simple beverages. Cocktails that require 4 or more spirits are best avoided!
Here are a few suggestions for easy cocktails:
Alabama Slammer – all you need is Amaretto, soda water, cranberry juice and fresh limes
Blue Lagoon – this one requires vodka, blue curacao and lemonade
Cosmopolitan – you will need vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice and lime juice
Pina Colada – the alcoholic version requires white rum, pineapple juice, cream and coconut cream. To make the virgin version, simply ditch the rum.
Due to its universal popularity, lessons in making cocktails can be booked through many events and activity companies. It doesn’t matter if you’re based in Britain or Berlin; this fun group activity is available in countless cities around the world.
For some activities, using an external events company is not necessarily the cheaper or simpler option. I would argue that cocktail making is an exception and that you will get better results if you book it through a professional company.
They know which bars offer the best deals and will provide you with a full session itinerary and instructions on how to get to the venue.
You won’t have to worry about the finer organisation details of planning and running a fun group activity. All you will have to do is turn up at the right place at the designated time.
The good news is that prices are really quite reasonable considering the usual price of bar beverages! Cocktail making lessons conducted in bars cost around £30/$55 per person.
Sensitive timing is important for a session making cocktails. I would recommend planning this fun group activity for a Friday afternoon when people are more likely to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy it.
Arranging a session of this nature the day before a big presentation isn’t a good idea!
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