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Online bartending schools teach you how to mix and serve alcohol through video instruction and reading assignments that can all be viewed online. These schools are self-paced and many include quizzes or tests at the end of each module to help you evaluate what you have learned. Some schools offer professional certifications or certificates of completion to add to your resume.
The best online bartending schools have a diverse set of modules that cover important topics such as the fundamentals of bar service and tools needed along with foundational information on classic cocktails and how to mix your own. They provide the information needed to reach your individual goals, whether that is to work as a professional bartender or to simply mix better drinks at home. Continue reading for more about the best online bartending schools.
Best Online Bartending Schools of 2021
- Best Overall: Ananas
- Most Affordable: Bartending Mastery – Cocktail & Bartending Masterclass
- Best for Beginners: MasterClass Lynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana
- Best Free Option: Bartending Basics from Small Batch Learning
- Best for Mixology: A Bar Above Mixology Certification
- Best for Professionals: BarSmarts
Why We Chose It: Available courses combine reading and video instruction with topics ranging from the basics of bar service to deep dives into individual spirits.
Number of course options available
Beer, wine, and spirits covered
Tests for knowledge retention
More reading than video instruction
Time commitment of each course not clear upfront
Ananas is an online learning platform geared toward hospitality workers and has a large selection of courses that cover important topics for improving your bartending skills. Course options are categorized by Hospitality Fundamentals and Hospitality Professional. Fundamentals focus on skill building with courses on bar service and cocktail service. It also features courses focusing on individual alcohol categories: beer, wine, and spirits. The Professional section is where you will find deep-dive courses into individual spirits as well as a cocktail course covering cocktail origins and recipes.
Courses are taught by experienced professionals in the industry and use a blend of slide presentations with video and how-to instruction mixed in. A test is provided at the end of the course. The total time commitment is not listed before beginning a course, but most slides contain a few paragraphs of text and most videos are under five minutes. All courses are self-paced.
Costs range from free to $25 for each course. You’ll need to register (which is free) to view the available courses.
Most Affordable: Bartending Mastery – Cocktail & Bartending Masterclass
Why We Chose It: If you are serious about taking the first steps to become a professional bartender, this comprehensive course provides valuable information at an affordable price.
Lessons can be completed in 10 minutes or less
Job-searching tips provided
No quizzes or tests given
Music in the videos distracts from instruction
If you are a beginner with plans to work as a bartender, you’ll need to know more than the basics about spirits and the tools needed to mix drinks. This course offered on Udemy covers essential topics in a short amount of time for only $19.99.
Learning modules include customer service, setting up your station and keeping it clean, and increasing your speed of service. You’ll learn about the history of the industry and its most successful influencers as well as how to mix a long list of cocktails. Tips on resume writing and job searching for bartenders are included as well.
All of the content is delivered through a combination of three hours of video instruction and 20 written articles to support what you are learning. Most students agree that the instructor teaches in a clear and easy-to-understand manner, but that the background music can be distracting, sometimes making it difficult to hear the important content being shared.
Why We Chose It: You will gain a better understanding of classic cocktails and learn about ingredients and techniques that will allow you to create better cocktails at home.
Instruction split into easy-to-follow modules
Learn from two expert instructors
Not available to purchase a la carte
No certificate or professional certification
Well-known New York City-based bartender and mixologist Lynette Marrero teams up with top cocktail bar owner and bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana (known as Mr. Lyan) to teach you to be a better mixologist. This course from MasterClass includes four-and-a-half hours of content spread across 17 self-paced, pre-recorded video lessons. You’ll gain perspective through understanding the philosophies of each of these experts and will begin building your foundation of knowledge as you learn how to mix a long list of drinks.
The instructors keep things simple and effectively explain complicated techniques while providing essential background information on the how and why of preparing classic cocktails. MasterClass makes it easy to access the modules with lessons that range from three to 33 minutes. You can stream them online or download them to watch later.
You will need to subscribe to MasterClass to access this course. An annual membership costs $180 and gives you access to over 100 classes in cooking, baking, wine, photography, music, and more taught by industry experts, with new classes added every month.
Best Free Option: Bartending Basics from Small Batch Learning
Why We Chose It: You’ll quickly learn about spirits and the basics of bar service through short, easy-to-watch video segments at no cost.
Videos are short and to the point
Covers wine, beer, and numerous spirits in detail
Overview of tools and techniques
No recipes or mixology guidance
If you want an overview of the basics and want them quick, this free course from Small Batch Learning hosted on Udemy is a valuable resource. The course covers a lot of information in just over 30 minutes thanks to quick videos that get straight to the point. Each of the 22 lessons is under two minutes long and covers detailed information about beer, wine, and spirits. Then the course moves on to descriptive demonstrations for cocktail tools and preparation techniques. You’ll walk away knowing more about bartending in a short amount of time.
In addition, this free course will lead you to the Small Batch Learning website, where you can get additional free, high-quality bartending courses. However, once there, they are a little difficult to find. At first glance, the site promotes its platform as a training tool for bars and restaurants to educate their staff. If you sign up for free, though, you can gain access to more in-depth courses that build off of this initial basic course.
Why We Chose It: This mixology certification will give you the knowledge you need to expand your bartending skills and develop your own innovative cocktail creations.
Teaches how to create your own cocktail recipes
Not for beginners
Not all course details listed
Once you understand how to mix a classic cocktail, a deeper knowledge of the art and science behind ingredients, balance, and flavors is needed to create a winning drink that is all your own. Founder Chris Tunstall created the A Bar Above Mixology Certification program as a way to provide the resources he found to be lacking when he was ready to move beyond the basics and start creating his own cocktails.
The program combines two courses that cover ingredients and understanding cocktail components, followed by mastering balance and flavors. You’ll earn your certificate when you pass the two-part exam that consists of a multiple-choice test and a practical component, in which you will create your own original cocktail recipe and submit it for evaluation.
The course includes video lessons, interactive quizzes, and cheat sheets. Each unit has both video and text so you can learn by watching or reading. It is self-paced but you can expect to complete the course in three to eight weeks, depending on how quickly you move through each module. The total cost is $147 and you receive lifetime access to the content.
Why We Chose It: Build your bartending knowledge with this challenging course and earn a credential recognized in the industry.
Learn on your own schedule
Time limit for completion once you enroll
Course syllabus not on website for review
BarSmarts is a bartender education program created by Pernod Ricard USA with instruction led by industry celebrities such David Wondrich and Dale DeGroff. It is a comprehensive spirits training that covers the history of spirits, tasting, production, and service management.
There are four video modules with supporting reading material. While most successful students who review the course comment on how helpful it was, they also share that extra reading time and study are required to pass the multiple-choice test that comes at the end of each module. Once you’ve passed each of the tests, you’ll need to take the final exam called DrinkBuilder. It requires you to make classic cocktails by choosing the correct ingredients, techniques, and tools.
The registration fee is low at only $29, especially considering the knowledge and certification gained. While module viewing and study are self-paced, there is a time limit on this program. Once you enroll in the course, you have 60 days to complete it. Students are given two chances to pass each of the exams.
Online bartending schools can vary greatly in the content that they offer to students. Some take an in-depth look at spirits and mixology, but there is more to bartending than just making cocktails. We selected Ananas as the best overall because of its low cost and its selection of courses that range from fundamentals of bar service to those that take a deeper look at single spirits and cocktail preparation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is an Online Bartending School?
Most online schools consist of a single workshop or a series of course modules that teach through video lessons combined with reading. They often include both video training and suggested hands-on training for practice. Online bartending schools can cover one area of bartending such as mixology or they can be much more comprehensive to cover the business of bartending, safety, beer and wine serving, and spirits. Some schools also offer certificates and certifications that verify your completion of the course and that you successfully passed any related exams.
Are Online Bartending Schools Worth It?
If you plan to seek employment as a professional bartender, attending a bartending school is not only worth it, but completing some types of training might be essential. Depending on the type of bartending job you wish to obtain and the location, you may need a certificate to demonstrate that you have the skills to do the job. For hobbyists, online bartending schools can help you expand your knowledge of beer, wine, and spirits. Regardless of your goals, these schools deliver easily accessible, in-depth education all in one spot.
How Long Does an Online Bartending School Take to Complete?
Online classes can be as short as 20 minutes long while more extensive workshops are delivered through two to four hours of content broken into short modules. Certification courses require extra reading and studying over the course of several weeks or even months to successfully pass exams. A comprehensive course covering numerous industry topics and delivery of a professional certification often means a longer time investment to complete it.
We focused on schools and courses that would meet a variety of needs based on student goals, whether it is to become a better mixologist at home, build skills to become a professional bartender, or maximize creativity to develop your own recipes once you know the basics. We took into consideration time investment, cost, delivery of learning materials, any certification earned, and the knowledge and experience of the instructors teaching the courses.