October 29, 2020
8-9:30 PM CDT
Matt Regan, Instructor
Did Classic Cocktails 101 leave you thirsting for more? Or perhaps you wanted to attend class but were otherwise detained? Worry not, Classic Cocktails 201 is here, accepting return students and new students alike. Get a refresher on your core cocktail concepts, and take your knowledge and skills to the next level.
What You Will Learn
- Equipment – The seven must have tools (or solid substitutes) you need to have on hand
- Spirits – What to keep in stock, and where to store it
- Accoutrement – The necessary ingredients needed to compliment the star of the show
- Technique – It takes more than just talent (aka spirits) to assemble the perfect drink
In Classic Cocktails 201: Gin & Bourbon – Some Shaken, Some Stirred, we will turn our attention toward two delicious and important ingredients that are often misunderstood, underappreciated and/or straight up feared. Bourbon and gin, the two stalwarts of pre-prohibition cocktails, will serve as our canvas as we artfully layer in vermouths (stirred) and egg whites (shaken) to teach more standards of the cocktail “songbook”.
- Martini – gin by definition, stirred never shaken, and you better believe we will do more than just waft some vermouth over the glass
- Manhattan – the perfect combination of bourbon and sweet vermouth, a spirit-forward yet highly quaffable libation
- Whiskey Sour – the quintessential egg white drink, sweet, sour, balanced, luxurious
- Pink Lady – a lesser known, gin-based sour, you will will wonder why you’ve never had one before
What to Bring to Class
If you have been looking for an excuse to outfit a home bar, like gadgets, or simply believe in the old adage “you should always have the right tool for the job,” then get your hands on this equipment prior to class (Amazon smile links provided, so you can double down on your gift to PFLASA, but the retailer of your choice will do!):
- Bar spoon – A bar spoon is long and balanced, with a spiral pattern along its stem that makes stirring easier
- Mini measuring cup / Jigger – there is no “eyeballing it” in craft cocktails
- Hawthorne strainer – Pour the cocktail, leave the mixing ice
- Mixing glass – Do not tell James Bond I said this, but many cocktails are better stirred than shaken
- Shaker – Do not fear the Boston (two piece) shaker, it is far superior to the frustrating 3-Piece shaker
- Ice mold – We like our cocktails cold, but we do not like them watered down
- Vegetable peeler – good news, you probably already have this on hand!
If you are not yet ready to commit to purchasing equipment, feel free to substitute any of the above with some of these suggestions that you may be able to find around the house:
- Bar spoon – a regular spoon, a butter knife, your finger?
- Measuring cup / Jigger – kitchen measuring cups and spoons, medicine cup (yes, I went there, call it a metaphor)
- Hawthorne Strainer – mesh strainer, mini colander, plastic lid
- Mixing glass – Yeti tumbler, 3-Piece shaker, mason jar, large cup, pint glass
- Shaker – Yeti tumbler (with lid), 3-Piece shaker, mason jar (with lid), Nalgene (large mouth water bottle)
- Ice mold – small bowls, shot glasses, cupcake tin, aluminum foil molds (I will be honest, most of these ideas are a reach, but feel free to get creative)
- Vegetable peeler – paring knife (seriously, you don’t have a vegetable peeler? Please just get a vegetable peeler!)
It is going to take some alcohol to make cocktails! Depending on what you want to be prepared to make the night of the class and/or where your spirit preferences lie, have a few of the following on hand (no need to get them all!):
- Gin (Martini, Pink Lady) – stick with a classic London dry gin when stocking your bar, then branch out into other varieties as you want to explore the genre. Brokers is a great London dry gin to start out with if you need a recommendation.
- Dry Vermouth (Martini) – vermouth is a fortified wine that pairs beautifully with higher proof spirits. Dolin is a great, and readily available option for a dry vermouth.
- Orange Bitters (Martini) – maybe the second most common cocktail bitter, which makes them easy to find by bitters standards. Pick them up at your favorite liquor store, you will be glad you did.
- Bourbon (Manhattan, Whiskey Sour) – you can really break the bank these days when it comes to buying bourbon, but I recommend keeping it simple for mixing. Go with an Eljah Craig Small Batch, Bulleit, or even an Evan Williams Bottled-In-Bond (white label!).
- Sweet Vermouth (Manhattan) – Do not cut corners on vermouth, it is worth getting the good stuff (and still not very expensive). I strongly recommend Cocchi Vermouth di Torino or Carpano Antica, but Dolin will do in a pinch.
- Angostura Bitters (Manhattan, Whiskey Sour) – the classic implementation of cocktail bitters. This is not optional. Get a bottle.
- Applejack (Pink Lady) – Laird’s apple brandy, made by the oldest distillery in America. An American legacy, easy to track down and inexpensive. This spirit balances out the other flavors in the Pink Lady.
Be sure to have the following handy as well to round out your ingredient list:
- An Orange (really any kind of orange is fine, but we need it to be whole and intact! No cuties/halos/etc)
- Lemons (at least 3 or 4 for the first round, more for multiple rounds)
- Eggs (whole)
- Grenadine – a pomegranate based syrup that can be used to add sweetness and color to your cocktail (search out real, high quality grenadine, such as Liber & Co. or Small Hands Foods)
- Luxardo Maraschino Cherries – a delicious finishing touch to many cocktails, great to keep in stock!