TT Liquor review: the screwball science of cocktail making

A one-of-a-kind cocktail class at a converted police station in Shoreditch


From the outside, TT Liquor, on East London’s Kingsland Road, may appear to be nothing more than a cosy bottleshop.

However, inside the former police station you’ll find a veritable warren of rooms to explore, with a drinking parlour, a “speakeasy” bar and a space for movie screenings.

It is the “classroom” which has brought us here tonight. TT Liquor hosts a cocktail making class every Friday - and the last class of each month is dedicated to the mysterious artform we are about to learn: “molecular” mixology.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The name might spook chemistry-phobes with visions of blackboards and test tubes, but the class takes a feather-light approach to the science of cocktails.

In fact, the “molecular” component really means fancy gadgets and eye-catching tricks, from blasting your concoction with Earl Grey-infused dry ice or frothing up a cocktail with nitrous oxide.

In fours, we are shown to a mini cocktail counter, stocked with everything we will need, and welcomed by Kay, who proves to be an energetic and - crucially - encouraging teacher.

After a nerve-steadying welcome cocktail, we start off with a simple classic - the Negroni. As you might expect, however, there’s a twist.

Once all the ingredients have been mixed, we pour a pot of freshly-brewed Earl Grey into another teapot containing dry ice pellets. As the combination erupts into tea-scented clouds, we direct the spout over our Negroni, giving it a fragrant final touch.

The dry ice is put to creative use again to create a spiked ice cream float. A handful of pellets are tossed into a bowl of cream and kahlua, and a few seconds of furious churning later, I am looking at a miraculous lump of honest-to-goodness ice cream.

Science also puts a novel spin on the Ramos gin fizz. Its creator, New Orleans landlord Henry Ramos, gave the drink its trademark full-bodied froth by shaking it for 12 minutes back in the 19th century.

However, Kay has an ingenious shortcut - blasting the ingredients through a whipped cream dispenser to ensure the perfect airy texture without the sore arm.

The last of the four drinks on the cocktail curriculum is the Zombie - a potent combination of fruit juice, liqueur and an ungodly quantities of rum, served in a traditional Polynesian tiki glass with a hollowed-out lime full of (more) rum as a garnish.

This is set alight and then sprinkled with cinnamon, igniting into a spectacular finale.

The last event of the class gives us a chance to put our new skills into action. Each team of four gets to concoct their own cocktail, with Kay declaring the winner.

Our melon-heavy rum punch failed take the top spot, but, after five cocktails, who cares?

TT Liquor cocktail making classes cost £70 per person and run every Friday from 7pm-9pm, and Saturdays from 1pm-3pm. The molecular cocktail masterclass takes place on the last Friday of the month.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.