Skeptical by nature, we keep looking for the catch with DrinkSkool.com. The site hosts a new spirits and cocktail education service designed to turn Ordinary Joes into knowledgeable mixologists in just 10 lessons. The profs are beverage industry superstars who seemingly have little to gain from an online gig where students pay nothing for the in-depth education they receive.
But maybe we’re overanalyzing. In terms of quality, cost and convenience, DrinkSkool is the kind of training opportunity any restaurant owner should encourage his employees to pounce on, immediately.
B.A.R. stand for Beverage Alcoholic Resource. It’s a spirits education company founded by six leading mixologists, including Dale DeGroff, Steve Olson and other high-wattage cocktail pros. Its DrinkSkool program is aimed at aspiring or newbie bartenders, but there’s plenty of valuable information for experienced mixologists, too.
Says B.A.R. partner Doug Frost, “DrinkSkool is the cutting-edge, step-by-step on-line resource for cocktail creation and mixology methods. We designed and constructed DrinkSkool in such an approachable way that virtually anyone can become an accomplished maven of spirits and cocktails…even Dale.”
The price is definitely right.
“DrinkSkool tuition is free,” a B.A.R. promotion says. “And we expect to keep it that way.”
Likewise, there are no sponsorship deals in place that would cause the course to emphasize certain brands of spirits over others. “You won’t see brand recommendations here for the most part,” the website notes. “We B.A.R. men are catholic in our tastes, agnostic in our brand connections. DrinkSkool is all about the how to. The what and the which ones are for you to figure out through extensive, gustatory research.”
Each course segment includes recipes plus expertly made videos that show how to concoct the drinks. The course sequence covers these topics:
• Lesson One: Mixology
• Lesson Two: Recipes
• Lesson Three: How People Make Distilled Spirits
• Lesson Four: White Spirits
• Lesson Five: Brown Spirits
• Lesson Six: Liqueurs
• Lesson Seven: Tasting Spirits and Cocktails
• Lesson Eight: Advanced Mixology
• Lesson Nine: How to Judge a Bar
• Lesson Ten: Preparing for the Certified Drinks Expert Examination
That final lesson leads to the only aspect of the DrinkSkool course that costs money: becoming a Certified Drink Expert. Those who want to be one must take and pass a final online exam and pay $50 if they pass and earn the CDE credential. But everything up to that point is free.
Restaurants whose existing bartending crew could use a refresher course would likely find DrinkSkool useful. And if one or more of your waitstaff, bussers or kitchen crew would like to try his or her hand behind your bar, DrinkSkool looks likes a good way to get them started.
The course won’t turn rookie bartenders into happy hour drink-making studs overnight. But it can still be a valuable training resource for any restaurant whose bar staff could use an extra set of hands during busy times.