From Mixology to Stand-Up Comedy: Skills to Learn

Lauren Hill

Senior Contributor

While many of us are stuck at home twiddling our thumbs and waiting until everything blows over, that time could be better spent by learning a new skill. It could be the art of stand-up comedy, cooking or mixing cocktails - whatever you want to learn, the internet can give you access to tips and tricks from some of the best in the business. Here are a few options that will leave you better off than you were before the lockdown started.

Cook with the World’s Top Chefs

Social distancing measures have spurred well-known figures across the world to bring their expertise to the digital sphere. Among those helping food lovers sharpen their kitchen skills is the celebrated Italian chef Massimo Bottura behind renowned restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena. As countries went into lockdown, Bottura announced the launch of his new Kitchen Quarantine Instagram series giving viewers lessons in preparing basic recipes.

For a longer course, sign up for the lessons offered by the online platform, Masterclass, where Wolfgang Puck and Gordon Ramsay are just two of the chefs sharing their culinary expertise.

Make Your Own Kombucha

A beverage lauded for its antioxidants and probiotics, Kombucha is now a beneficial part of many people’s diet. Several online platforms provide a step-by-step guide to brewing this fermented tea at home. Follow the instructions of producing kombucha, and even create custom flavours, with online course provider, Udemy; find out about the methodologies and techniques behind brewing kombucha on a larger scale with Kombucha Masterclass; or take a series of easy-to-follow lessons in the Kombucha-making course by Edible Alchemy.

Become a Master of Mixology

Most of us will know how to whip up a basic cocktail but we also know it takes a little more practice and skill to understand the art of mixology. Taking an online course opens up the recipes and techniques of real experts in the cocktail industry. You can learn from the James Beard-honoured, New York-based mixologist Lynnette Marrero and renowned cocktail creator Ryan Chetiyawardana of the world’s best bar Dandelyan by signing up for their mixology course on masterclass.com. You’ll learn all the essentials of cocktail making and get tips on building your own home bar.

Sharpen Your Photography Skills

If you’re going to take a photography course, why not find one that’s led by one of the world’s most highly acclaimed photographers. This is the concept behind Masters of Photography, an online platform providing inspiring and informative courses with legendary photographers such as Joel Meyerowitz and Steve McCurry.

Choose between masters in street, landscape, portrait and wildlife photography, then follow their expert tips to capturing exceptional images. Over on the Masterclass site, legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz reveals the approach behind her spellbinding portraits, while Jimmy Chin breaks down the process behind his adventure photography.

Learn the Art of Stand-Up Comedy

There’s more to stand-up comedy than just being funny. This is a discipline built on the development of material, character creation and timing. Anyone can practice these skills online by taking a stand-up comedy course. Sign up for an online course with comedy director and author of A Director’s Guide to the Art of Stand-Up, Chris Head, try the comedy taster lessons by Brighton Comedy Course or take actor and comedian Judd Apatow’s nine-lesson comedy master-class available on masterclass.com.

Try Your Hand at Horticulture

Anyone with a passion for plants can take their interest further by signing up for one of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s online courses. Begin with the Getting Started botany short course or take a more extensive course in horticulture or garden history.

Alternatively, opt for a course in Caring for Your Garden or Garden Design with The English Gardening School Chelsea. Each of this gardening school’s distance learning courses can be started at any time, but as a correspondence rather than online course, all project submissions are sent by post.

Heighten Your Knowledge of Wine

Many of us have an appreciation for wine but also have the desire to better understand a particular wine’s characteristics and really get to know the viticulture process. The World of Wine: From Grape to Glass online course by the University of Adelaide on Class Central gives you a broader understanding of the winemaking process and teaches you how to describe a wine’s appearance, aroma and taste.

If you want to take this knowledge further, you can sign up for a WSET online course. You’ll need to visit a WSET centre to take your final exam but you can carry out the rest of the work before that point online.

Learn the Secrets Behind Acting

Online acting classes have become increasingly accessible. Masterclass in particular stands out for its compelling insights from world-class actors. You can follow a 20-part master-class with Oscar-winning, self-taught actor Natalie Portman, immerse yourself in the captivating classes given by Samuel L. Jackson and gain insight into the techniques of Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren.

For a course with personalised feedback and coaching, you can alternatively opt for the online acting course by StageMilk Drama School, which encourages you to apply the theory you’ve learnt through practical projects such as monologues.

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