Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Week of High Class Carousing

MIT Alumni Association Scotch Tasting. I started things out last Tuesday by taking Laura’s ticket to this scotch tasting event sponsored by the MIT alumni association. It was a pretty nice little talk, with a tasting flight of six scotches associated. There was a second class on Friday, which was a problem because I had my cocktail party that day. I had been tricked into buying the tickets because somehow we all thought the classes were Tuesday Thursday…but oh well. The informational content of the lecture was interesting, but mostly stuff I knew already. The talk on the night I went was bout the different regions scotch is distilled and a lot on how to do the tasting itself. The lecture I missed was to focus on the actual process of producing scotch whisky. The night I went, the tasting flight included Johnny Walker Swing, which is terrible and overpriced bad blended scotch in a stupid bottle, Glenkinchie, a lowlands malt, Two Dalmores (highlands) and two Laphroaigs (Islay).

Barsmarts Practical Exam Cocktail Party. Last month I took an online bartending class, and it was pretty fantastic. Barsmarts is a program put together by Dale Degroff, the original bartender of the Rainbow Room in New York who is one of the main drivers of the modern cocktail renaissance, Dave Wondrich, a historian who makes his career studying the history of drinking, plus a number of other storied mixologists. The live program costs a freaking fortune and is designed for training bartenders working the classiest of joints. The online version was only forty-five dollars and I got a set of bartending tools in the mail too. The course book was extremely well done, covered everything from the history of distilling to a primer on all the major liquors to practical bartending. It also included the recipes for 25 classic cocktails “every bartender should know.”

The goal of the party was for me to mix any dink in my coursework from memory in a live bartending type situation. It went pretty darn well—I didn’t make any mistakes (until 2am and I forgot to add bitters to a Manhattan, but I was fairly well in the bag by that point so I move it doesn’t count). I got a little overwhelmed about 10, and was very kindly relieved by my sister’s boyfriend Kyle around 11 so I could actually talk to people.

More to come, including my favorite drinks from the party and the rundown on the 19th century pub crawl event from Saturday.

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