Cocktail Masterclass. Sounds sophisticated, right? Here's what I expected: a two-hour guided tour through a small selection of cocktails, each session coloured with some trivia and beverage history from a sleek, black-clad bartender. We might all get a bit tipsy, sure, but only incidentally, as a welcome side-effect of our education.
As fun as my experience was, I don't know how much it hinged on the success of the event itself and how much on the ethanol in my blood stream
The reality was far more chaotic, a Dionysian sprawl of crushed ice and lime wedges. As the latecomers poured in and numbers were pushing on 20, the voice of our host - a young and perfectly charming Swedish man - became more and more irrelevant.
Although each of us got a chance to make a cocktail of our choice (mine was the enticingly named Cuban Pussy), we didn't learn much about them or the industry. Soon we were just senselessly necking whatever was put in front of us, with only passing regard for what it was or who made it. A masterclass this was not.
It wasn't the bartender's fault, though. He candidly shared with us that he had only been called in half an hour before the event, without even time - he said - to style his unruly hair. There was no lesson plan, no intricate syllabus, but simply the good-humoured improvisations of a flustered host doing the best he could without any preparation.
The highlight was the games portion of the afternoon, which involved pairs of us making cocktails in various handicapped scenarios - blindfolded, for example, or with one hand. The results were hilarious and prompted extensive video recording across the group.
This was the first of the cocktail masterclasses and I suspect that they will become more refined as the Fringe draws on. As fun as my experience was, I don't know how much it hinged on the success of the event itself and how much on the ethanol in my blood stream, but I think I can make a pretty good guess.