As bona fide cocktail aficionados here at European Bartender School, we were delighted when new series, Drink Masters, dropped into our Netflix recommendations.
An entire series devoted to the crazy and competitive world of professional mixology - what could be more up our street? And hosted by some industry heavyweights, too.
So, let’s take a look at the nine reasons why you should tune in to Drink Masters, right now!
Prepare to witness dazzling cocktail-crafting skills from North America's finest mixologists...
1. This is not your usual reality show
Forget plumped-up lips and barely-there swimsuits. Or chefs throwing tantrums over a raspberry coulis. The stars in this new reality show are the cocktails - and calling them creative masterpieces doesn't do them justice.
Instead of bickering about who is the hottest, these contestants are fighting over bottles of triple sec and 30-year-old aged rum as all 12 mixologists compete for the title of Ultimate Drink Master. There's also a whopping cash prize of $100,000, which isn't too shabby.
2. The powerhouse judges
Enter two top-name world-class legends in mixology: Julie Reiner and Frankie Solaris, who are on hand to make sure the cocktail competition is of the highest calibre.
Julie Reiner has 25 years experience as a first-class mixologist and was responsible for igniting the New York cocktail scene in the early 2000s with her fresh take on classic cocktails. She also founded three ground-breaking bars including Brooklyn's infamous Clover Club.
Meanwhile, Canadian cocktail maestro Frankie Solarik is a pioneer and champion in the art of contemporary, modernist cocktails and applies the same detail and passion to mixology that a Michelin-star chef gives to haute cuisine dishes.
You can learn a thing or two from this pair.
3. Made by mixologists for mixologists
The contestants are top drawer mixologists (there’s no room for fakers here) which means making a mojito from a packet isn’t going to cut it.
Notable competitors include Kate Gerwin, who was the first woman to win an international bartending award, plus Lauren 'LP' Paylor who was the cocktail maker at the Emmys, and on the '40 Under 40' list from Wine Enthusiast in 2021.
4. The booze-related puns
Your host Tone Bell might not know his negronis from his mint juleps - but he can deliver a good (fruit) punch line. So just when things start to get serious, the show's host will lighten the mood with some gregarious gags.
5. Liquid art inspiration
Artichoke liqueur and reposado tequila, anyone? Or perhaps vodka, pink gin and sesame oil?
If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next signature cocktail, then Drink Masters will help you to conjure up new, exciting flavour combinations and mouth feels that will take your drinks to the next level.
Our favourite in the series is called 'Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost' and is a mix of agricole rum with a tapenade distillate and jerk-infused clarified citrus.
6. To pick up advanced techniques
If you’re looking to up your game when it comes to mixology techniques, then you can learn from the best across these 10 episodes.
Smoking, gelification, clarification and air foams are just four of the advanced crafts that feature in the competition, as the judges take their molecular mixology very seriously - setting rock-hard tasks to put the contestants' skills to the test.
7. The production values
Unlike most reality TV shows, Netflix have spent a bucket load of money on this show, and the set is magnificent!
The competition takes place inside a cavernous room with the bar shelves that reach up to the ceiling - jam-packed with every syrup, spirit and liqueur known to man.
Chuck in some low hanging chandeliers, plus a job lot of opulent gold features and plush velvet accessories, and you get the picture.
8. Unrivalled creativity
In Drink Masters, the cocktail challenges aren't just about taste. Presentation plays a vital part in whether a mixer stays or goes in each episode, and the stakes are high.
Mixology is presented as a culinary art in the show, which means there can be multiple elements to any challenge - as all the ingredients must be tasted together to make a well-balanced drink.
You’ll see even see deconstructed three-part cocktails!
And as each round progresses, the creations get more and more elaborate, beautiful and show stopping.
9. There’s something for everyone...
Bartenders, mixology experts, or those of you who have never made more than a traditional gin and tonic - there’s something for everyone in this programme.
The Masterchef-style format creates a big dollop of suspense that will keep you glued to the screen till the end each episode - as you discover who will be in the the Mix Off and who progresses straight through to the next round
Edge of your seat stuff.
Which of the mixologists will claim the title of Ultimate Drink Master? Binge the show now and you'll soon find out. Or you can google it (but that would be cheating).
Loved what you've seen on Drink Masters from Netflix? If you’re new to mixology, or keen to up your cocktail game, sample every flavour combo imaginable on our Mixology Course.