Students who are learning the art of restaurant hospitality put their advancing skills to the test in West Nottinghamshire College’s Refined eaterie recently.

Learners on the Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Supervision and Leadership and Level 2 Diploma in Food and Beverage courses, were given a cocktail and mocktail-making challenge by tutors, testing their mixing, marketing and menu creation skills.

The event, held on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 September, began with a cocktail masterclass, led by front of house trainer Lee Coupe, who gave students lessons in cocktail and mocktail making as well as giving them the history of where different cocktails originated from.

Students were then challenged to design and make their own cocktail or mocktail using a range of fresh ingredients such as fruit, juices, garnishes and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks – for those students aged under 18. Learners were challenged to create a drink of their choice and create a recipe card and a leaflet to market the product.

Beverage creations were imaginatively put together with the ingredients available from the restaurant’s bar and kitchen. Drinks such as strawberry mint smash used the fruit and herb alongside vodka and lime to create a refreshing summer thirst quencher, while the citrusy fruit punch combined orange, cranberry, lemon and lime with gin.

The alcohol-free creations saw students utilise the fruits, juices, herbs and spices just as resourcefully, but without the potent kick.

After a morning of preparation and development students were judged on their creations by Victoria Booker, retail manager from Thoresby Hall, and front of house assessor Lee.

The winning cocktail came courtesy of 19-year-old Kelly Nyland from Mansfield Woodhouse. Kelly concocted the cheeky cherry cola combined with vodka, fruit juice and cola, decorated with fizzy cola jelly sweets.

The mocktail prize winner was created by 16-year-old Seven-Louise Mitchell from Mansfield Woodhouse. She made her own base syrup with strawberry, mint, lime and cucumber, then added fresh lime and lemonade.

Guest judge Victoria Booker said: “It’s been really nice to see this young inspiration and see the ways these students would want to serve their customers. They have had displayed such excitement and motivation to create something different throughout this challenge.

“I would happily have any of these drinks served at the bar at Thoresby Hall. There has been lots of imaginative and very different ideas put together and both our guests and staff would definitely enjoy these drinks!”

The winners will see their drinks listed on the restaurant’s cocktail menu for the autumn and winter season when it will be welcoming customers back to Refined in November.

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