In the 1980s, if you walked into a pub and ordered a G&T, you’d be greeted with a grimace, a few choice words and ordered to leave the premises.

This recollection of a bygone era at The Salt Room’s cocktail masterclass is hard to imagine in today's gin-soaked renaissance and shows just how fancy we have become.

Salt Room bar manager and cocktail supremo Matt Ottley runs with the idea during three hours of booze history, drink making and steady sipping.

The arrival of Italian and Bangladeshi restaurants roused our dormant post-war palates and ever since we've been chasing ever more exotic flavours.

This gastronomic approach to drinks mixing has gone some way to rehabilitating the bartender back to his golden age of part master of ceremonies, part commiserater.

Matt explains its a far cry from the 1980s, when cocktails had a naff period of decline, characterised by pre-made sours mixes, bad pina coladas and deafening bar top blenders.

It was Rainbow Rooms in New York’s re-invention of the Cosmopolitan, popularised by Madonna and Sex in the City, which helped kick-start a more DIY revival.

In the UK we had Damien Hirst’s 1990s restaurant-bar-exhibition space Pharmacy, where according to legend, late bartender extraordinaire Dick Bradsell invented the expresso Martini for supermodel Kate Moss, who was after something to “wake me up and f- me up”.

Going back further still, we learn of America’s pre-eminent influence on mixing, and how a perfect cocktail of the temperance movement, prohibition and rough bootlegged liqueur inspired bartenders to create ingenious ways to make their booze more palatable.

The masterclass wasn’t one big geeky history of swig – we also learned how to make a drink or two.

We had a welcome Earl’s fizz, a twist on a Bellini which replaces peach with Bergamot liqueur, followed by an aperitivo spritz which introduces Irn Bru-esque Amaro Montenegro over in-vogue Aperol.

It was hands on from there, following in Bradsell's footsteps with an expresso martini, a mix of vodka, coffee and Kahlúa which is shaken with ice with as much velocity as one can muster, and strained for a foamy Guinness head.

It’s important to get the shaker airtight - or risk blinding your guests with errant chunks of ice. And we are advised it’s not the size of the shake that matters, it’s what you do with it that counts.

We also try our hand at a strawberry daiquiri, a three-piece set-up of rum, citrus and sugar, pinked up with a touch of strawberry coulis, and in a twist of convention served in a tumbler over ice.

We finish off with the bramble, another Dick Bradsell classic, which combines Beefeater dry gin, lemon, sugar and crème de mûre, for a refreshing number that sings of an English spring - though by this point, our pouring and shaking standards have become inevitably sloppy.

With The Salt Room’s cocktails building a well-earned reputation alongside the acclaimed restaurant, this is a chance to learn or thing or two from one of the city’s best and most knowledges bartenders.