Heading upstairs into Chelsea’s GOAT you get the feeling that you aren’t in your average London pub or bar. The walls are covered in a variety of pictures, portraits, and trinkets, and this is only magnified when you pass through the concealed entrance to their infamous Chelsea Prayer Room.
Greeted by vintage music, and an intimate lounge-like layout, it has the ring of a prohibition speakeasy, making the Chelsea Prayer Room perfect for a cocktail masterclass. Run by GOAT owner Steve Manktelow, an experienced and well-known player in the mixology game (he created the Watermelon Martini and Crackbaby cocktails), the masterclass was so much more than learning how to throw some ice and vodka in a shaker.
Steve runs the show with seamless ease, probably because he has been giving classes here for five years and has an infectious passion for spirits. He takes you on a journey through the history of cocktails, showing why he has selected them for the menu and providing thoughtful and warming stories about the origins of these drinks. Pay attention when he is sharing his knowledge – you might be rewarded!
Steve started us off with a classic, and one of the oldest cocktails known – a Brandy Punch. We learned why this drink was so iconic and then the subtle way to assemble it for a perfect opener to the evening. In our class with around ten people, everyone got to make at least one drink and of course, we were able to try all the others created by our peers.
We moved on to another timeless taste, the Old Fashioned. Throughout the evening we were treated to tips and tricks as well as learning about how the conventional spirit in some drinks could be swapped out for another, including the Old Fashioned – all of which can be used to impress at your next party.
A change of direction saw us learn what to do if we ever found a bottle of sherry hanging around – the Sherry Cobbler. Surprisingly refreshing and packed full of oranges, this one required some serious shaking, but the result was worth the effort.
The group decided that the next lesson would cover the Martinez, rather than the Martini, as most of us knew little about it and by this point were keen to learn more. Red Vermouth, Genever (not standard Gin) and Maraschino were mixed with bitters and produced a very tasty yet delicate drink, that oozes sophistication.
After a tutorial in Margaritas, we moved on to the final drink of the night, which turned out to be the biggest surprise of all – the Coffee Cocktail. Upon hearing that a raw egg was being chucked into this, a lot of people were a little hesitant. However, Steve worked some magic and after combining the egg with brandy and port, some homemade sugar syrup and a big old shake, out came a beautifully smooth, coffee-like liquid, delicately finished with nutmeg. It was the perfect end to the evening, with the qualities of a dessert, and proved to be the group’s favourite drink – which would not have been on the cards when we started to make it.
See our final thoughts and review score below.
Classes run on Thursdays from 7pm to 9pm and cost £16.