How To Make Up A Bartending Class At Aqua Vitae Institute


In the last 6 months, we've had students from other countries, bar owners, retiring detectives, Ivy League double majors, yoga teachers, college students working three jobs to help pay for school, and everyone in between.

Frequently, we run into situations where the regular 1-5 or 6-10 bartending class just doesn't work for that particular student.  We've even had students who could only come in on one specific day, like a Tuesday, and had to complete the program that way.

If you've ever worked in a very competitive industry, like finance or restaurants, you might know what it's like to work so many hours and feel like it's a real challenge to learn something new, and bring more opportunity into your life.  At Aqua Vitae it is so so important to us that everyone who wants to change their life by learning to bartender is able to, regardless of how tough their scheduling situation first appears, and believe me, we've certainly had some challenges.

Here are three ways to make up a class:


The library and wine tasting room at Aqua Vitae is kept quiet on purpose.  We never blast music here.  It is meant as a quiet place for students to study and hone their skills, and if a student is attending a class they've already had, they can watch a video of a class they need to make up right in the library while other students are getting a lecture. 

After that, they'll go over the lesson briefly with the instructor while the other students take their break, and they'll demonstrate that they understood the knowledge and drinks involved.  And then they'll practice in teams with other students who have had the lesson they were making up, and integrate with the rest of the class.


Instructor office hours are on Friday from 12pm until 3pm, and students can request a time to talk to their instructor about job placement, work on specific skills like stirring, advanced mixology, ingredient creation etc., but the most common use of office hours is to make up any class the student has missed while they are taking the program.  The student will have a one on one class with the instructor, and then they will demonstrate the knowledge they've learned.


Click here to visit our Aqua Vitae schedule.  Day Classes are from 1pm-5pm, and Evening Classes are from 6pm-10pm.  The school opens at 10am for practice.  Saturday classes are from 10am-2pm, and from 2pm-6pm.  Students can always come in, once they're enrolled into the school, and attend any class on the schedule.

The 5 Best Ways To Find Cocktail Competitions

It’s not very hard to find bartending competitions and cocktail competitions. Here are our five suggestions we tell our students if they want to be competitive bartenders!

The first and easiest way for a beginner bartender to break into the bartending competition scene is to check out They have constant updates and streamline the sign up process a great deal. There’s also a good deal of back and forth communication between the brand hosting the competition and yourself, so it’s fairly easy to keep track of all the rules!

A second way, is to join a local meetup or group of bartenders. Many times these groups will create grassroot contests between them and if the campaign gets big enough, it’s very possible for liquor companies to pay attention to them. These competitions, while not necessarily prestigious, tend to be a good opportunity to break nerves in a casual setting. Also, since it’s not focused on pleasing a brand, but rather pleasing their community, they tend to be a lot of fun for all attendees!

A third option is to join a bartending school. Some bartending schools like our own, are great places for getting information about these local communities and organizers. They can connect you directly with them if they hear something. Many times, speakers from brands or with industry know-how will come in and give lectures about future events that students can apply for or tips on how to be selected for an appearance at one.

A fourth option is to join the USBG, or United States Bartending Guild. Many brands will host small “USBG” exclusive competitions in local communities. These tend to be centralized competitions!

A fifth way, is to be so good at bartending and branding, that brand ambassadors will actively approach you to compete for a contest that they’ll be hosting. While this way has the least amount of red tape, you’ll have to be pretty good at networking to get to this point! By being a damn good bartender, using a combination of the above four points and by engaging with industry contacts, there's no doubt that you will get to this last one!


Top Bartending Classes in Philadelphia

Top Bartending Classes in Philadelphia

Bartending is one of the most recession-proof jobs you can have. Customers drink when they’re happy. They drink when they’re upset. It doesn’t matter if you are old, young, or in between! Many people want to learn bartending to increase their income or to have flexibility in their life. 

Aqua Vitae Institute offers some of the top bartending classes in Philadelphia and aims to train every single student to reach levels of knowledge they never thought of before.

These are some of they ways we do it:

  1. First, our bartending classes are designed to actually teach a class, and not just send you off with a bartending certificate. We focus on streamlining the important points in such a way that you can learn the basics in just three weeks, as well as a few helpful advanced techniques that will put you over the edge when employers are looking to hire.
  2. Secondly, we have a textbook that we update regularly with input from the city’s top bartenders. We also go to firsthand sources like brand ambassadors and liquor companies. When you study bartending at Aqua Vitae Institute, you are studying with the best and are learning from people who are incredibly passionate about the bartending industry.
  3. Third, while most bartending schools and classes rely on baseless memorization, we focus more on our flavor and use recipes as guidelines to be creative and have graduates feel confident to make their own cocktails. Our goal isn’t to teach recipes, it’s to teach independence. It’s to make alcohol enjoyable and to give any graduate of ours the feeling that they can make delicious cocktails anywhere. Moreover, if they don’t know the answer to a question, that they will be put in touch with an expert who can answer that question.
  4. Fourth, Aqua Vitae Institute doesn’t leave you out after you graduate. We offer lifetime job placement assistance and will work with you to help you get a job anywhere. We work with managers across Philadelphia to give their own advice and start from resume building to how to write a cover letter and interview tips. We are a one stop shop for all your job placement needs!
  5. Fifth, we offer flexible scheduling. Whether you want to take weekend, evening, or day bartending classes, we are there for you. 

Related: How to Study for Bartending School