Westminster Kingsway College’s hospitality students have been shaking things up behind the bar at the world-famous Waldorf Hilton hotel, with a series of cocktail masterclasses.
Twelve aspiring mixologists from the college’s Victoria Centre have been honing their bar skills at weekly training sessions at the luxury five-star hotel on London’s Aldwych.
Under the instruction of bar manager Massimiliano Terrile and his team they have learnt about various spirits and how to use these as a base for making different cocktails.
The students have also been trained in the correct use of professional bar equipment and discovered more about the history and tradition of many classic drinks.
Matthew Deller, 18, said: “I had no idea about any cocktails before I came here, but now I know about the different botanicals in gin, how vodka suits sharp flavours, the best way to mash and grind the mint for mojitos and how to make daquiris and negronis. It’s amazing to go to a college that’s so well connected and can give you these kinds of opportunities.”
Mia Lambert, 17, added: “I’ve learnt a lot about the history and science of different drinks and the methods of making different cocktails. We’ve not only been exposed to the bar side but been able to work at events as well. I feel so lucky and privileged. Not many people my age can say they’ve been able to have this experience.”
The students have been training at the Waldorf Hilton since November as part of their Hospitality and Events Level 3 Diploma and Food and Beverage Service Level 3 Diploma courses.
Jessica Grady, 17, said: “We’ve been given so many amazing opportunities on our course – meeting lots of famous chefs, experiencing fine dining and visiting hotels and events companies. The teachers are amazing. They know the way we work, and we can talk to them about anything. We get so much support.”
Each of the participating students will be presented with the Hilton Bar Qualification when they complete their training in April.
Bartender Silvia Dias, who has been helping with the training, said: “The students came in ready and excited to learn about new things and were open to everything. Some of what they learnt can be quite technical, but they didn’t put up any barriers and acquired a lot of knowledge very quickly. They were very interested and engaged and have bright futures ahead of them.”
WestKing’s Hospitality and Events Diploma, and Food and Beverage Service Diploma courses cover food and gastronomy, restaurant service, events, customer service, human resources, finance, marketing and business. These courses are the ideal preparation for anyone who wants a career in the hospitality, events, hotel or restaurant sectors.
Lindsey Lamont, Lecturer in Hospitality, commented: “This was a fantastic opportunity for our students to receive professional drinks and cocktail masterclasses at one of London’s most prestigious hotels. It has helped them with their studies and developed their wider skills and knowledge with an unforgettable experience learning from the best in the business.”
WestKing always ensures parental permission is given for students under 18 to undertake training involving alcohol.