According to internationally acclaimed bartender Naren Young, cocktails are a multi-sensory experience and a great drink should not be defined simply by how it tastes.

“As bartenders in a dynamic and constantly evolving industry, we need to be looking at so much more than the liquid we pour into a glass,” he says. “We should be giving our guests that multi-sensory experience by making cocktails that are spectacular, even polarising to look at while exuding an aroma that is both captivating and impossible to forget.”

To share his ideas on what a cocktail can be and what it should achieve, Young will be presenting two sessions at Top Shelf in Melbourne in August. In this seminar, Young will unveil all his tricks and the secret to creating balanced, gorgeous and memorable drinks. These useful tips – gathered over a 20 year international career – can be applied across a wide variety of bars, from any modest local pub or dive bar to the most celebrated cocktail dens and high volume nightclubs.

Young will make and present five different cocktails, each one highlighting one of the five senses, showing guests that a great cocktail is indeed more than the sum of its parts.

“What about the tangible aspects of a cocktail, such as the way it feels in your hand – from the quality of the glassware, the temperature of the glass or the choice of ice – but also the way the cocktail actually makes you feel?” Young says.

When all of these senses come together in harmony, it creates an ever-lasting memory that will have people returning to your bar again and again. And really, that is the whole point.

Young is just one of the examples of locally and internationally renowned experts who will be presenting at Top Shelf. There is a seminar to suit an interest in every facet of the industry including:

  • How To Home Brew, with Home Make It.
  • How To Open A Distillery, with Russ McFadden (moderator); Mark Watkins (Mt Uncle Distillery); William McHenry (McHenry Distillery); and Will Edwards (Archie Rose).
  • How To Open A Brewery, with Stefanie Collins (moderator); Richard Adamson (Young Henrys); Adam Betts (Edge Brewing); and Heath Shirtcliffe (Cavalier Brewing).
  • How To Open A Bar, with Russ McFadden (moderator) Daniel Lemura, Michael Silvers, Seb Costello, and Kate MacDonald.
  • How To Improve Your Venue’s Customer Service, with Jason Crawley.
  • How to Write a Profitable Wine List, with David Lawler, beverage director at Rockpool Group Melbourne.


For more information on all of the sessions available over the two days, see the Talks & Tastings page.


Pre-purchase your tickets to save $15 off the door price.



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