Watching a good bartender make drinks can look like a magic show. In rapid succession, several different (and seemingly incompatible) ingredients come together—and with a couple of flicks of the wrists, they’re transformed into a complex cocktail. While a magician never reveals the tricks of the trade, there are no secrets when it comes to mixology. So much so, that across the country some of the best bartenders are now offering lessons to the public on both cocktails and spirits. These tutorials let you polish your skills under the careful eye of a pro with no smoke or mirrors.
Employees Only, 510 Hudson Street, New York, 212 242 3021:
If you’re looking for a master class, sign up for a private session with mixologists Dushan Zaric (a Liquor.com advisor) or Jason Kosmas, owners of New York City hotspots Employees Only and Macao Trading Co. The tutorials, which cost $500 per hour with a two-hour minimum, can take place at either bar or at your home.
Beverage Academy, Bourbon & Branch, 561 Geary Street, San Francisco, 415 931 7292:
At Bourbon & Branch’s Beverage Academy (pictured above), you can learn from some of San Francisco’s top bartenders, including the bar’s own Joel Baker and Erick Castro of Rickhouse. From Cocktails 101 to pairing whiskey with cheese, there’s a large variety of classes to choose from. The classes cost $100 for two hours and have a cap of 16 people.
Punk’s Backyard Grill, 2188 Annapolis Mall, Annapolis, 410 571 7744:
Get ready for spring at Punk’s Backyard Grill. The bar’s latest mixology tutorial on March 21 is all about creating warm-weather drinks. The classes are generally capped to about a dozen students and cost $15, which includes an appetizer and a couple of drinks.
Spirit School, Brandy Library, 25 N. Moore Street, New York, 212 226 5545:
With floor-to-ceiling shelves holding hundreds of bottles, there couldn’t be a better place to learn about spirits than New York City’s swanky Brandy Library. The bar offers a range of two-hour seminars (from $80 to $120) for both the novice and the expert drinker. The new semester starts in May.
Tini Bigs, 100 Denny Way, Seattle, 206 284 0931:
Every month the bartenders at Seattle institution Tini Bigs teach an hour-long cocktail class focusing on a particular spirit or style of mixology. The sessions, which start at $25, take place at the bar and are capped to just a dozen students.