Review: Beach Cocktail Masterclass by Pop-Up Forest + Recipes

On a peaceful, sunny Sunday Siala from Marwood Bar & Coffeehouse and I went to a cocktail masterclass on an imagined beach hosted by Pop-Up Forest. The theme was tropical sunset and all we knew was that there was going to be an immersive light and sound installation resembling a beach while someone teaches us how to make 3 exotic cocktails.

cocktail master class pop up forest beach

We arrived at Pop-Up Brighton on the seafront (ironically) in a warm Sunday haze and were taken into the secret dream beach. A really extraordinary feeling. I have to admit that at first I could barely see anything in that dark room, but after my eyes had adapted quite a lot of details were showing up out of nowhere.

The artists eye for detail is amazing. Everything looked absolutely spot on and planned out. The waves on the floor combined with the soothing Hawaiian vibes-inducing music and seashells and leaves laid out around the cocktail settings.

pop up beach masterclass brighton beach

Even the sun in the background projection was going deeper and the sunlight warmer as it became later in the evening. The installation has a very warm and unique atmosphere that makes the act of mixing cocktails even more fun.

It was a really small intimate class. We were 6 students and a bartender (the maximum is 8). After drinking the absolutely delightful welcome coconut cocktail (yes, out of a coconut) to ease you into the session and out of your last remaining bits of Saturday hangover, the first cocktail was made.

The "Shipwreck Gimlet"

Aviation Gin mixed with homemade seaweed syrup poured down a luge of kelp and dulce seaweeds and fresh lime.


The "The Beachcomber"

Evan Williams Bourbon combined with an orgeat syrup and pineapple juice served in a washed up tin can.


The "Sunset Martini"

Mamont Vodka combined with vanilla infused butterfly pea flower syrup shaken and served with a squeeze of lemon to make the colour change.

shipwreck gimlet cocktail masterclass mamont vodka

I definitely have to mention that I was the only non-bartender and complete beginner in the room. The four other people were our mates from Twisted Lemon, one of our favorte Cocktail Bars in Brighton. The skill-level was accordingly high, however I did not feel over challenged or left out. The Cocktails, even though special and extravagant, are still easy to make.

There was always enough time to ask and no judgement from anyone. To be fair after drinking the second cocktails nobody really knew what they were doing anymore. There was a lot of fun involved. After the second cocktail we took a little break to look around, take fotos and chill out in the sun loungers, or take your drink out into reality.

After the masterclass, having consumed 4 drinks in about an hour, I definitely felt quite cheerful. Oh, did I mention we drank Aluna shots out of real seashells for a final? - Well, know you know on what level of beach-credibility we are moving here.

aluna coconut cocktail

The price of £30 for this 90 minute masterclass including 4 high quality cocktails is extremely good in my opinion. That’s about the price you’d pay for 3 cocktails at the Ivy - minus the experience. I found it absolutely worth the extraordinary experience of a secret beach on an actual beach. It felt like a parallel universe where cocktails can change colour and I could even walk on waves…

It was pure escapism. The perfect activity for anyone who wants to do something different, out of the ordinary and dream away. It might be the best beach in Brighton and you’d never know…

I strongly recommend you go on a little cocktail adventure with Pop-Up Forest, who knows where it’ll take you. I personally can’t wait to see which landscape creative brain and organiser Thomas Buckley comes up with next! (I heard it’s already in the works…)

Click here for a little video impression of the evening.

Written by Anna Olivia Böke

Fotos and Installation by Thomas Buckley

Disclaimer: The tickets to the masterclass were given to us for free in return for this review, but our opinions are our own!