Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Mixology 101 Class

I'm back! I figure it will take a while to get this thing going again. But here I go. If you've seen this, chime in to let me know you're reading!

My Mixology 101 Class

I'm teaching my regular monthly class tonight at 7pm, so i figured I'd start by talking about this class in particular. Education is one of the things I am most passionate about because I know how much information there is to understand and how fun and interesting it all is. Teaching this class for the public each month keeps me excited about how much people love to learn.

Besides this once a month Open Enrollment class, I (and some of my Instructors) teach this class many times throughout the month as Company Team-builder Events and Client Entertainment Outings. Check out some pictures of these events on The Boothby Center Facebook page. If you are interested in that, please email me.

This class is all about understanding three key formulas, upon which a great deal of the drinks we drink today are based: the Cocktail, the Sour and the Collins. The following describes what is covered in class.

Cocktail: Spirit (strong), Sugar (sweet), Bitters (bitter), Water (weak)
For this we make Manhattans and Martinis and we do them both shaken and stirred. In this lesson we use the Boston Shaker, the Julep and Hawthorne Strainers, the Bar Spoon, and Cocktail Glasses (aka, "martini glasses"). I teach a 2/1/2 formula of 2 parts strong (whiskey, vodka, gin) , 1 part sweet (vermouth), 2 dashes bitters (Ango and/or Orange) and 3 parts weak (ice providing chill and dilution). We start with the stirred drink and discuss all of the Ingredients (production, flavor profiles and role in a mixed drink), Timing and Role of Ice, Mouthfeel, Physics of Mixing Liquids and Effects of Stirring vs. Shaking. We discuss and demonstrate Citrus Peel Garnishes and oils (vs. conventional olives and cherries) using the Channel Knife, Peeler or Paring Knife. Then we do a shaken version and learn how to Crack/Break The Tin. Lastly we discuss Rocks vs. Up and other Cocktail recipes like the Old Fashioned and Sazerac.

Sour: Acid, Alcohol, Sugar, Water
After covering citrus peel in the last lesson we discuss How to Buy, Store, Prepare and Use Fresh Citrus Juice,  the concept of Sweet and Sour Balance, the Sour Across Spirits, deciding on the Quantity of Principal Spirits, Liqueurs and Sweeteners and, finally, Agave Spirits, before making a Classic Margarita (with Cointreau) or a Tommy's Margarita (with Agave Nectar).  The Citrus Press is introduced and Lime and Salt Garnishes are discussed, but not employed.

Collins: Acid, Alcohol, Sugar, Soda Water
Lastly, we look at the transformation of a Sour Into Collins, Rum, Use of Herbs in Cocktails, Modifying Flavor Ingredients, Tall/Long Drinks, and finally, Why You Just Made The Best Mojito You've Ever Had. Then we take a group photo!

April 4th, 2012 class, photo by Jonathan Fong
The class takes 2-3 hours depending on how chatty and interactive the group is. I recommend eating beforehand and not driving. You are free to drink your four cocktails, but you don't have to, of course. Please be smart.

Once you've done this class you'll be prepared to open any cocktail book and get cracking at home. You'll also be more prepared to order drinks the way YOU like them, in order to get the drink you want (and deserve!), making your cocktailing experience all the more pleasurable.

I hope you'll join us one of these days!

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