3 Minute Spirit School

The “3 Minute Spirit School” series is an entertaining and informative introduction to the world of spirits. Everything from history to production, tasting to serving gets covered, with each video presented by an expert in their field.

We are kicking off the series with:

  • Cognac - presented by Joel Harrison, Author of Distilled 
  • Gin - presented by Will Lowe, Master Distiller, The Cambridge Distillery
  • Rum - presented by Maggie Campbell, Head Distiller & Vice President, Privateer Rum
  • Vodka - Mia Johansson, Bar Owner & Manager 
  • Whisky - presented by Richard Paterson, Master Blender, Whyte & Mackay Ltd
  • Cocktails - presented by Paul Graham, Drinks Consultant

If you would like to learn more about spirits take a look at our spirits qualifications.


The 3 Minute Spirit School series was produced in association with Difford’s Guide.


In this three-minute introduction to cognac, writer and educator Joel Harrison presents a brief history of this elegant spirit. He touches on everything from how it’s produced to bottling, labelling and service. This is a great overview for those new to the world of spirits.

Joel Harrison is a creative marketing consultant who co-authored Distilled, a guide to exploring the burgeoning world of craft spirits. He holds WSET’s Level 1 and 2 Awards in Spirits and is a WSET-trained educator.



In the past 15 years Gin has seen an extraordinary resurgence in popularity. In this three minute video Master Distiller, Will Lowe, shares his passion for gin with clear insights on production, botanicals, categories of gin and cocktails!

Will is Master Distiller at The Cambridge Distillery, is a WSET tutor and IWSC Judge. Will has achieved the WSET Diploma in Wines and Spirits and is currently on the Master of Wine study programme.


In this three-minute video, Maggie Campbell offers us an abridged guide to her passion, rum. A concise overview of how rum is made, including different types of stills and rums – a great introduction for novice rum drinkers.

Maggie Campbell is Estate Rum Manager for Mount Gay, Remy-Cointreau. She also founded the Denver Brewer’s League, has served on the Board of Directors of the American Craft Spirit Association and co-chaired their Education Committee. She has achieved the Diploma in Craft Distilling Technologies from the Siebel Institute, WSET Diploma in Wines and Spirits and is currently on the Master of Wine study programme.


“Vodka has now found itself spreading from its old European roots and now has conquered the whole world”. In this compact introduction to Vodka, find out what has made it such a phenomenal success, as well as an overview into its origins, production, character and styles.

As a Swedish native, Mia Johansson is no stranger to the Vodka culture. She has worked in, managed and launched bars in London and New York, including Milk and Honey (London) and Lafayette (New York). 


In this three minute introduction to whisky, Master Blender and Distiller, Richard Paterson introduces us to whisky, with a focus on his first love, Scotch whisky. A perfect introduction to this fascinating spirit, you’ll gain an overview of everything from production, to blending, to tasting (and you may discover you have been tasting it all wrong!)

Paraphrasing Richard, “whisky makes the world go round, but twice as fast!” Richard Paterson has been the master blender and distiller for Whyte and Mackay distillers since 1975. He holds the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits and has accumulated many other awards during his distinguished career.


Find out what makes a great cocktail in this three minute introduction. Drinks consultant and bar manager, Paul Graham shares his expertise and discusses how spirits work in cocktails. From the different techniques, tools and ingredients available to the mixologist, to the extra elements you can use to tie all the flavours together to “make that spirit shine through the drink”.

Stir, shake, build or throw – what is the key to making the perfect cocktail.