About three years ago, my wife bought me the Gordon Ramsay Masterclass for my birthday.
I’m embarrassed to say however, that it wasn’t until about 3 weeks ago that I actually watched any of it.
And man, I’ve been missing out.
Not only is the production quality absolutely fantastic, but to get interesting recipes, learn techniques, and get the backstory from one of the best chefs in the world is a really cool opportunity. I’m surprised how much I’ve enjoyed it.
After being so engaged in the Gordon Ramsay class, it got me thinking about all of the other Masterclasses out there that might be useful.
And the first one to catch my eye? Naturally it was Lynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana Teach Mixology.
In this Mixology Masterclass review, I’ll be looking at what is covered in the course, the drinks I’ve made, and if it’s worth investing in this specific Masterclass.
Who is Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr. Lyan?)
Admittedly, I wasn’t familiar with Lynnette when I first heard about the Mixology Masterclass. But I was very familiar with Ryan Chetiyawardana – even if I still can’t pronounce his name.
You see, Ryan is more commonly referred to as Mr. Lyan – and he’s one of the most successful bartenders in the world.
Ryan is the mastermind behind many of the best bars in the world, like Lyaness, Dandelyan, SuperLyan among others.
In fact, he pulled off one of the most impressive power moves I’ve ever seen when the day after Dandelyan was voted the very best bar in the world, he announced they would close the bar down.
A few months later it re-opened in the same space as Lyaness, which is a must visit when in London.
All of that said, of all the bars I’ve visited and bartenders I’ve learned about, Ryan is one of the most intriguing.
But, the real question is, is it any good? Is this (or any other other Masterclasses) all style and no substance? Or is it a legitimate, and educational course on how to make better cocktails?
Let’s find out.
What You’ll Learn in Mr. Lyan’s Mixology Masterclass
The Mixology Masterclass is broken up into 17 videos, each covering a different aspect of making drinks and cocktails.
Among them are:
- Meet Your Instructors
- Lynette’s Perspective on Craft Cocktail Culture
- Mr. Lyan’s Perspective on World Class Cocktails
- Get Behind the Bar
- Exploring the Palate
- Whiskey Smash and Mojito
- Intimate Classics: The Old Fashioned
- Sours: Clara Bow, Margarita, Siesta, and Cosmopolitan
- Egg Sours: Panacea, Pisco Sour, and Morning Glory Fizz
- The Martini
- The Negroni
- Sherry Spritz and Queen’s Park Swizzle
- Party Starters: Tiki Drinks and DIY Highballs
- Pre-Batched Cocktails and Punches
- The Lyan Mary
- Pairing Cocktails with Food
- Creativity and Craft
So as you can tell from the table of contents alone, they really do cover a broad base of cocktail techniques, ideologies, and recipes.
I found that what I was most initially drawn to was simply the recipes. To be able to re-create some of the drinks I had at say, Lyaness, was super intriguing.
But after going through the course I realized that’s not necessarily the strength of this (or any) Masterclass.
Both Lynette and Ryan do share recipes (and I’ll talk about the ones I’ve made in minute), but the best part about this class is learning the why rather than the how.
Anyone can grab a book of cocktail recipes and recreate a fantastic drink.
But to truly become a mixologist (for lack of a better term), and be able to start creating your own fantastic drinks?
You need to know the why behind everything.
For instance an Old Fashioned is a really simple cocktail. But why does it work so well? And how can you switch out one ingredient (as Lynette does in her video teaching a “Fancy Free”), and create an equally enjoyable drink, without ruining it?
Understanding those questions of why, and pairing it with good technique is what will make you a formidable bartender, and it’s something this class does a really good job of.
Mixology Masterclass Review: Specific Things I Learned and Enjoyed in Ryan and Lynette’s Training
So all of the theory is great, but what are some of the things I specifically took away from the class that make it worth investing in?
Well for one, hearing Ryan talk cocktails in simple terms.
He admittedly says some of the drinks in his bars can have 50 steps to make and take weeks to concoct.
So hearing him speak specifically to the home bartender about creating drinks that still allow you to be social, for instance, was interesting to me.
That isn’t at the expensive of some of those cool advanced techniques, however. He shares some hacks for infusions like his “nuked negroni” that you’d never think of otherwise.
He talks about spirits and specific ingredients worth keeping in your home bar, and they talk about the idea of multi-functional ingredients, which is really important. If you’re on a budget and have limited space – the last thing you want to do is spend $60 on an obscure liqueur that you only need a 1/4oz of, and can’t use in multiple different drinks.
So hearing thoughts on getting the most bang for your buck for your bar investment, was useful.
Another thing I also specifically enjoyed were some of Ryan’s thoughts on batch cocktails.
Specifically he teaches an incredibly easy Vodka Martini that I’ll be trying very soon, along with a more involved, but still relatively straight forward beeswax old fashioned.
Both of these can be pre-made, which again can allow you to be more social when hosting gatherings, or simply make a cocktail at the end of a long day a much easier process.
The Mixology Masterclass Workbook
One of the things that has always impressed me about some of the other Masterclasses I’ve gone through is the accompanying workbook – and it’s no different with Ryan and Lynette’s Masterclass here.
The workbook is like a cocktail book and in and of itself.
It does a fantastic job of distilling down the ideas presented in the videos, and putting it in a very well designed, and easy to reference package.
It’s also the easiest way to follow along and make the drinks that they share.
To be able visually see things in the videos and have a printed out roadmap to follow as you put the lessons into practice, is a great bonus component that truly puts the Masterclass experience over the top.
The Drinks I’ve Made from the Mixology Masterclass
So far I’ve only made two drinks from the Masterclass, but I’ll be updating this post as I try more of them.
The Sherry Spritz
The first one I made was Ryan’s Sherry spritz. It was essentially a sherry tonic, that had some nice herbal and vegetal elements to make for a unique, low proof drink you can have with appetizers before dinner.
It was very easy to make, and when you include the sweet peppers and basil – it looks great.
I thought it was a decent drink. It didn’t blow me away as much as I’d hoped it would, as it was relatively benign, and the garden ingredients felt like they were more for smell than taste.
Although the longer the drinks sat, the more pronounced the flavors would be.
“Fancy Free” Old Fashioned Variation
The second drink I tried was Lynette’s Old Fashioned variation called a Fancy Free.
This is what historically is called an “improved” cocktail, where you make a slight variation to one of the ingredients of the standard drink.
In this case we’re switching out the sugar for maraschino liqueur.
And the result was actually very good.
I’m surprised I hadn’t tried this before, but it literally was as simple as 2 oz of bourbon, .5oz of maraschino, a few dashes of angostura, and a couple dashes of orange bitters.
Unique old fashioned.
And what’s great about all of the recipes in this Masterclass is, once again, hearing the why behind it all.
Why does it work to switch those things out?
What is the history of the drink?
What is the science behind elements of a drink that make it what it is.
This is where the course shines, and taking what you learn from their examples will not only lead to a delicious learning process, but will make you a better bartender as well.
What I would have liked to see in the Mixology Masterclass
Over all I’ve been really pleased with the Mixology Masterclass, but there are definitely a handful of things that I would have liked to see.
One would be a video on non-alcoholic drinks, or specifically how to take a drink with alcohol and easily make substitutions to make it N/A.
At Lyaness for instance they had non-alcoholic variations of many, if not most of their drinks. So hearing about the process for creating those would be really interesting.
This is especially true these days as more and more we’re seeing people skipping the booze and going spirit free.
Also, for as much as I enjoyed the focus of this being for the home-bartender – I would have loved to see more discussion about their bars and restaurants. The business behind them, secrets to their success, and maybe some more of their signature recipes that are a little more elaborate – like what you might find in the Aviary Cocktail book.
But overall I was really pleased with the depth and breadth of information provided.
Is It Worth Buying the Mixology Masterclass?
So, the big question: is it worth it?
Short answer, yes. I thought Ryan and Lynette’s Masterclass overall was fantastic. It strikes a great balance between the what, the why, and the how – and it’s all done in a visually impressive production that is enjoyable to watch.
If you’re just buying the class on it’s own at $90? That feels a little steep, but if you’re someone who really wants to understand the ins and outs of making a good drink? I think you’ll be happy with your investment.
To be able to have a video course that takes you from A to Z, rather than just bouncing around between blog posts or YouTube videos really is a useful medium and make it worth the expense.
But where Masterclass really shines? It’s their All-Access Pass.
The face value is $180 a year, and that seems like a steal.
To have access to dozens of world class experts, and their thoughts and strategies? Totally worth it.
And getting access to all of these for under $200 makes me feel like I’m stealing.
Especially as we’re just beginning to hit the Coronavirus lockdown – where we’re all going to have a lot more time on our hands!
So if you’re looking to learn, be entertained, and do something more productive than binge Netflix during your quarantine – I can’t recommend Masterclass and the Mixology class specifically, highly enough.
You won’t be disappointed.
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