The Beer One
So you know your pales from your pilsners, but you’ve got to ask yourself: in this age of wasp-infused stouts, is that enough? Hosted on the Kingsland Road by those booze scholars at TT Liquor – a really brilliant bar/shop if you haven’t tried it yet – this is a proper history lesson in the stuff, placing beer right at the heart of the growth of civilisation as we know it. It’s not all lectures and note taking: they lay on 12 different beers, from the ones you know you love to the ones you’ve never dared pay for, with cheese pairings to boot.
The Dim Sum One
Once you’ve shown off your “unique” green curry and “endearing” attempts at sushi, you need something else up your sleeve to impress the in-laws. Proper dim sum chefs show you how to make various different dumplings from their menu, and they’ll even pit you against everyone else in the class for a dim sum battle royale (nicest-looking basket wins). The clincher is the special Ping Pong recipes they give you to take home – that and the free booze.
The Whisky One
All whisky tastes similar, doesn’t it? A burn on the tip of the tongue and a burn down the throat. Or apparently not. Get yourself on a whistle-stop tour through whisk(e)y history with Japanese heroes Hibiki, from the Highlands of Scotland all the way to Japan via Kentucky, tracking the development of whisky from your single malts to the fancy new blends. If nothing else, it’ll give your sage smile-and-nod a bit more authority the next time you pull off sneaking into Soho House.
The Burger One
To be honest, there’s probably a bigger market out there for masterclasses on how to eat a burger nowadays – but until then, this is the best we’ve got. There can’t be many better places for a lesson on patty-pounding than Cut & Grind, the King’s Cross outfit famed for making everything in-house right down to the sauce, and they take you through the whole process of what makes a burger taste just the way you like it, even down to the difference between rump, chuck and brisket. Throw in sides and a drink, and baby… you got yourself a meal!
The Gin One
The gurus at the Imperial down Tooting way take their gin pretty seriously, judging by the ridiculous amount of kit they’ve got festooned about the place, and in an act of courage (Dutch or otherwise) they’re letting the likes of us loose on it. As well as the expected cocktail beforehand, you leave not only with the swell of gin-making pride, but also with two bottles of the possibly groundbreaking, possibly lethal hooch your wild mind has gone and made.