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An online bartending school is just as it sounds—bartending classes taught online. These virtual classes teach the art of making cocktails, bar industry information, career tips, patron safety, and more. Some bartending classes are offered to learn bartending as a hobby or just pick up tips for a current job and others offer a bartending certificate at the end.
With the trend toward all things online, there were so many online bartending schools to choose from. We looked at more than a dozen schools before deciding on the top five. We researched the online bartending schools based on their overall reputation, quality of instructors, type of classes, costs, and additional features.
Best Overall : BarSmarts
Why We Chose it: BarSmarts is ideal for professionals and enthusiasts and offers full drink history, recipes, and servicing techniques taught by an industry professional.
Created by leading wine and spirits distillery
Drink builder exam at the end
It was originally an in-person class so may not be fully appreciated online
Website doesn't offer as many industry tips and tricks as other sites
BarSmarts is an online bartender and spirits education program and claims to be the nation’s leading program. It provides comprehensive online instruction that is also engaging and results-driven. The program was created exclusively for Pernod Ricard USA (the world’s second-largest wine and distillery) by the partners of Beverage Alcohol Resource. The beginner course is good for both industry professionals and people just interested in learning how to make cocktails, serve them, and their history. The company has a solid reputation and customers appreciate the quality instruction.
The class includes videos, tests, and workbooks, including a drink builder exam at the end where bartenders need to build seven cocktails. The curriculum includes profiles of spirits, cocktail application, guided video tastings, cocktail recipes, and serving techniques. Expert instructors include David Wondrich, a correspondent for Esquire magazine.
After you register, you have 60 days to complete the online program, and upon completion, a certificate will be mailed to you. After you pass the beginner class, which is only $29, you have the option of taking an advanced class which is an additional $29. In addition, the company offers bar owners staff-certified programs for their entire staff to take. Interested bar owners will need to contact the company for exact pricing for those programs.
Best for Self-Paced Instruction : Jerry
Why We Chose It: Jerry offers five different course levels that you can complete online at your own pace. It also has a cocktail library and beverage database.
Accessible by phone, tablet, and computer
Easy-to-use program with a range of topics
Courses are only 30 minutes each
You will need to be self-motivated to finish the courses
It’s more expensive to take one class at a time than the subscription model
Spirits distributor and bar consultancy firm Proof & Company built the Jerry program and named it after Jerry Thomas who is considered to be the godfather of bartending. The course has a great reputation among bar owners and bartenders. You can study online, watch videos, earn Jerry certificates, and apply what you’ve learned by completing real-world activities.
There are five course levels to choose from starting at beginner and going through advanced levels. Each class is 30 minutes long and there are multiple topics for food and beverage industry professionals. Some topics include the basics of beverage retail, herbal liqueurs, operations basics, ethics, and leadership. You can choose to pay $10 monthly to access all of the courses or $30 per course. Courses are taught by renowned bartenders including James Goggin and Chris Lowder.
Bar owners use the course for their employees and bartenders who want to take self-paced courses based on their experience level and interests. They can complete as few or as many classes at a time as they want, making it easy to fit into a busy schedule.
Best Budget Option : A Bar Above
Why We Chose It: A Bar Above is a one-stop-shop for the bartending industry offering many free features and tools as well as a paid certification program.
Free industry content
Classes, tips, and advice in one place
Online bar community
They sell their own products on the site which can feel a bit pushy
Website feels a bit unorganized
A Bar Above teaches industry tips and tricks and specializes in craft cocktails. Its goal is to help bar industry professionals thrive and grow in their careers. It was founded as an online hub in 2013 by a husband and wife team with over a decade of hospitality industry experience. The site focuses on bar education, premium bar tools, and consulting services for bar and restaurant owners. It also features a shop where you can buy quality barware.
You can access the site for free and take advantage of no-cost tips and tricks of the trade, recipes, interviews, educational YouTube videos, Facebook groups, and bar industry podcasts. This is ideal if you want to learn more about bartending before making a monetary investment.
If you want to further your bartending education, you can opt into the certification program for $147. This includes a lifetime membership and exclusive access to HD courses that can be accessed on your smartphone. Notes, quizzes, and online community mentorship are also included. You will learn about cocktail ingredients, how to get the most out of them, and what to use with what. You will also learn how to balance cocktails and will end the course with an exam.
Best for Hobby Bartenders : Hollow Leg
Why We Chose It: Hollow Leg is our choice for beginner bartenders because it teaches the science, theory, and principles of making drinks.
Classes are centered around a science-based approach
In-person and online classes offered
Teach the science behind no proof cocktails for non-drinkers
Confusing website is a bit cluttered
Need to email for specific online course information
No certifications mentioned
Founded in 2014 in Chicago, Hollow Leg started as a place to teach mixology classes online so more people could access them from the comfort of their homes. It focuses on teaching in an interactive, fun, and relatable way while relaying the art and science behind mixology and bartending. It also teaches interactive cocktail classes for public, private, and corporate events and hosts mixology parties including making mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails). Classes are in-person and offered virtually and all aim to teach with Julia Childs’ methods in mind.
These classes are more for fun or to share in a group setting and not necessarily for industry professionals, as no certifications are mentioned. They are catered toward beginners and start with the art and science behind the cocktails before actually making them. They also teach in an easy-to-learn method so it’s easy for non-industry types to grasp.
Classes range in price, but listed prices for public classes are currently $75. This online bartending school has a solid industry reputation and has garnered some positive press and good customer reviews.
Best for Expert Instructors : MasterClass
Why We Chose It: MasterClass offers bartenders two world-renowned bar industry veterans as its instructors along with an affordable monthly subscription.
Knowledgeable industry renowned instructors
Entertaining and educational
Variety of class topics
No quizzes or exams
MasterClass was founded in 2014 as an online platform for all skill levels to learn about a variety of industries. Classes are taught by industry pros including celebrities and those at the top of their crafts. With each class, you receive video lessons, course workbooks, and class feedback. In addition to bartending, some topics include writing, sales and persuasion, interior design, voice animation, chess, photography, and more.
Lynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana teach the MasterClass on bartending and they are two of the world’s most respected mixologists and restaurateurs. Lynette is a James Beard honoree and created a female-only bartending competition called Speed Rack. Ryan is the owner of Dandelyan which was voted the world’s best bar. If you want expert instructors, this is your class.
There are a total of 17 lessons totaling about four and a half hours and these lessons cover everything from cocktail making tips, industry stories, sharpening your palette, remembering classic recipes, to the history of craft cocktails.
MasterClass charges $15 per month for its classes and you can pay monthly and cancel anytime.
We highlighted different online bartending schools with varying types of courses, instruction, and class formats. You can choose to visit an online bartending site to watch complimentary videos and read about tips and tricks of the trade or you can pay a membership fee to access ongoing classes, or you can even opt to take beginner or advanced courses complete with certificates.
Overall, we recommend checking out BarSmarts because they offer interesting bartending classes for beginners and professionals at affordable prices.
|Company||Why We Chose It||Standout Feature|
|BarSmarts||Comprehensive curriculum with option to take advanced class||Beginner and advanced classes and staff training|
|Jerry||Take the class at your own pace||Cocktail library and beverage database to reference|
|A Bar Above||Budget-friendly online bartending class||Online hub for all things bartending|
|Hollow Leg||Focuses on teaching beginners the basics of bartending||Includes the art and science behind bartending|
|MasterClass||Well-known expert instructors teach the classes||Other classes available on the same platform|
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is an Online Bartending School?
An online bartending school is a school that teaches bartending, but instead of being offered live in a classroom, it’s offered virtually. Classes teach a wide variety of subjects and can be taken for fun, as a hobby, to improve your knowledge, or to earn a bartending certificate once you complete the class. Keep in mind that not all classes offer this certificate.
An online bartending school’s curriculum should include the following:
- Popular cocktail recipes
- Types of liquor, history, and pairings
- Bar cleaning and maintenance
- Money handling
- Alcohol awareness
- Bar etiquette
- Upselling and maximizing profits
- Industry legalities
The curriculum should also include types of liquor and a brief history of the industry and its bartending pioneers as well as how to set up back and front bars.
How Much Does an Online Bartending School Cost?
Online bartending school costs vary depending on the type of course you take, who teaches it, and whether or not you receive a certificate in the end. Typically, online bartending schools tend to be relatively inexpensive. Expect to pay between $29 and $147 for classes. Some classes also offer monthly subscriptions starting at $10. Schools offer varying class formats from one class at a time to bundles.
Who Should Attend an Online Bartending School?
You should attend an online bartending school if you want to work as a bartender and don’t have the time to devote to an in-person class. An online bartending school can also be useful if you’re a bar owner or manager and want to be able to train your bartenders or know the proper bar protocol.
An online bartending school can also benefit you if you just like mixology as a hobby and want to learn more to impress party guests or make a fabulous cocktail.
Is an Online Bartending School Worth It?
An online bartending school is worth it if you want to learn more about the industry, pick up bartending skills, get some great recipe ideas, and be more in the know about what goes on behind the bar. Most classes will provide a certificate upon completion and this can help boost up your resume and may be required by some employers.
Keep in mind that regulations do vary by state and in addition to an online bartending school, some states require that you complete certain programs such as TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures).
How We Chose the Best Online Bartending Schools
We reviewed more than a dozen online bartending schools before deciding on the top five. These top contenders were researched and compared based on the class curriculum, type of classes, pace of classes, and any extras offered such as career tips and cocktail history.
All of our choices have robust curriculums, solid reputations with quality instructors, and reasonable costs.