There’s nothing like a few stiff drinks to perk up a drab day. We met our instructor, Piyush Chavda, above the Exmouth Arms in the stylish 5cc cocktail bar on a grey Saturday afternoon. His ‘forgotten cocktail’ masterclass was dedicated to the Negroni, said to be invented in 1919 when Count Camillo Negroni asked the bartender in his local Florence boozer to strengthen his Americano. The bartender did what many of us would have done: added gin. We were treated to several Negroni variations, including a smokey Mezcal Negroni, while being well informed about the ingredients, the ingredients’ ingredients, how they impact the end result and the potential for bottling and ageing. The final practical, using our new knowledge and Dutch courage, produced inspired experimental Negroni concoctions, I think. We left with a warm glow and a life skill as important as swimming. These unique and fun sessions are offered to small groups at £40 a head.