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Solo Starters: Mojito and Whiskey Smash

Ryan and Lynnette demonstrate some cocktails to relax with on your own after a long day.

World-class bartenders Lynnette and Ryan (aka Mr Lyan) teach you how to make perfect cocktails at home for any mood or occasion.


[00:00:00.00] [MUSIC PLAYING] [00:00:21.76] - I'm gonna delve into kind of more intimate style drinks, drinks that are really good for when you've just knocked off work. Or you've had one of those days where you really want a cocktail to round things out. And one of my favorite drinks to explore in that is a highball drink. [00:00:34.59] So named after the glass, it's a drink that really is designed to unfold. You know, it's something that changes a lot from the start to the finish. Think of things like a gin and tonic or a whiskey soda. These are things that fall into this family. [00:00:47.92] But this is a drink that I want to kind of play to that really helps when you just need to be somewhere where you're not, you know? Particularly in Britain, you've got a miserable day out. You want something that transports you to a tropical island, you know? Something that feels fresh, that feels uplifting, and it's got this real cleanness to it. [00:01:04.20] And this is within the family of highballs, and I think it's a drink that I think is often made really badly, and that's the mojito. So it's a bit of an island favorite. And it's something that really plays up to this image of kind of like white sandy beaches and something that feels fresh and uplifting. [00:01:19.08] And often times, you'll see somebody kind of grinding away at your mojito and smashing the hell out of some of the mints. And that, to me, is a bit of a red flag for a couple of reasons. So first, you do want some of that zestiness. You want that brightness coming from the skins of the lime, but you don't want to tear the hell out of the mint. [00:01:35.99] So mint's a kind of fascinating herb. You know, it's got all these little capsules of flavor locked into these leaves. And you don't need to tear it to be able to release those flavors. [00:01:46.22] Actually, you can get a lot of it by just brushing against it. You pick it up on your fingers. It gives this amazing, cooling aroma. But when you start to tear it down, you actually release some of the bitterness, the chlorophyll, all of the kind of slightly more kind of green notes that you don't actually want in your drink. And you certainly don't want the little bits of mint stuck in your teeth afterwards. [00:02:05.13] So one of the techniques I really like to do is explore, how can we get all of the flavors out of the mint and make this a really fresh and bright drink without having any of those trip ups? How do you keep it tasting really clean and bright? So we're gonna make a mojito. [00:02:19.39] [MUSIC PLAYING] [00:02:33.98] It's a drink where you don't need to add a lot of complications into it. It's something that's really simple to put together. It shouldn't take you the 15 minutes you sometimes see waiting in a bar while they're grinding things out. [00:02:44.25] A little bit of mise en place, getting things ahead of time, makes life really easy. And you want to make sure that this drink gives you that time. You...

About the Instructor

James Beard honoree Lynnette Marrero has been at the forefront of the NYC craft cocktail movement. Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr Lyan) is the founder of Dandelyan, named the world’s best bar. They will teach you the essentials of cocktail making, from developing your palate to building your home bar. Learn how to mix a perfectly balanced drink for every occasion and mood—and become your friends’ new favorite bartender.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Both instructors make drinks from the heart and gave me lots of ideas on how to experiment with flavor profiles. I especially loved Mr. Lyan's premade cocktail lessons as they will make excellent birthday/holiday gifts!

Easy to follow and love that they give you tips to expand on the cocktails that they make. Do another one!!!

I have enjoyed this class tremendously! My guests are enjoying what I've learned as well! The lessons were perfectly demonstrated. Thank you for introducing me to my new passion for a well crafted cocktail.

I learned so much. Perfect distraction from being in quarantine! I'm excited to give a bunch of these recipes a try!


Gladys P.

Mojito is indeed my go-to drink, especially on a Friday after a long week. Good tip not to smash the mints so much, and to have a mint bouquet after--- no one has served me that in any of the bars I've ordered a mojito before. The class inspired me to create my own drink at home, so I got my own cocktail set, and a mint plant too so I can prepare the drink whenever the mood calls for one. Cheers!

A fellow student

Loved the "lemonade test" and thinking about balance and palate. really enjoying so far!


Love how they make you feel that you can do it and that is really easy, only one thing, for me, when they said mint I get confused because in Mexico what we call mint the flavor is different than "yerbabuena or hierbabuena" that is what they are preparing with those cocktails. And indeed, a mojito will make you feel that you are in the beach

Randall S.

Do you guys drink cocktails through a straw? I've never done that in my life, probably on the strong advice of my father.

Erin A.

This lesson inspired me to make one of my favorite drinks I've made to this day! I didn't have mint, but I had rosemary! I didn't have a white rum, but I had gin! And I have an herbal simple syrup that incorporates lavendar/thyme/mint/rosemary. Threw it all together in a shaker, strained it, and topped it with some club soda. Guys. You inspire me. Best drink ever.


I always wondered, why barmen don't care about chemicals in lemon/lime zest. My friend even from Hilton told me, that nobody cares really. They make you a mochito, put a lemon slice to cola and here you go, drink some chemistry alongside the coctail. That is why I should not be surprised, that Ryan doesn't mention "BIO" limes. But I am - his should be at the top of his league.


If i were to buy 10 staple must have liquors to have in the bar that will complement all the traditional distilled spirits.

A fellow student

Best mojito i've had in years! Both of these drinks will be staples from here on out.


loved this in that I found out proper technique for making these two classic drinks and both turned out very well.

Paula M.

Both of the drinks were excellent! I have been making a cocktail a night and leaving them on my neighbors front porch. We all agree the mojito has been the best