Why Taking a Mixology Class in College is a Great Idea

I went into this class thinking I’d get a little tipsy on a Saturday but I left with knowledge and a bad taste in my mouth.

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I recently took Overview of Mixology aka HRAD-4850 if you’re an OSU student. The class requires you to be 21 or over and your willingness to try different alcoholic beverages.

I’m newly 21. I celebrated at midnight on February 5 and enjoyed every minute of it. A few friends suggested that I take this class now since the majority of them are over 21 and taking it. It’s two Saturdays starting at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 5:30 p.m. It’s a disgusting eight-hour class, with a one-hour lunch break. But it’s super fun.

The first Saturday I learned a lot. I also tasted a lot of drinks I wouldn’t normal make or consider ordering.

Blood Mary’s, Ramos Gin Fizz, Queens Park Swizzle, the list goes on. We had about 12 “straw fulls” of mixed drinks and cocktails.

We started off with a taste of Bourbon which, in my opinion, is disgusting. Before we actually took a drink, one of the instructors for the class, Joe Breaux owner of Bevworks, told us to hold our hand over our cups. The room already smelled of the brown alcohol and I wanted to cry. The smell and taste will haunt me for quite a while. When we held our hands over the cup the smell dissipated and we got a breather. He told us the three steps to drinking a cocktail.

1. Presentation:

How does it look? Does it look appealing and things like that?

2. Smell:

He told us to stick our nose inside the cup and take a big whiff. I took maybe half a whiff and the grimace was back on my face.

3. Taste:

Does the drink taste harmonious with all of the components inside the drink? Is it balanced?

Some people downed the tiny shot in one gulp whereas others, like me, took a sip and put it back down while simultaneously shrinking back into their chair.

A few drinks made me want to spit it out and there were a few drinks that made me want to take the “taste” cup for myself. According to Breaux, drinks aren’t bad. The palettes that people have to taste with varies and something that tastes really good to some people could taste bad to others.

The main point of the class was to teach students about the business of owning and running a bar or lounge. Breaux taught lectured about using spreadsheets and having pars in place so you know what to order and when you should order. Pars are based on your backstock of bottles and they typically range from 1- however many you need.

At more prestigious bars and the bartenders are taught to make the action of mixing your drink a show. They are taught to have everything within arms reach so they can properly engage with their customers. It’s also important for the bartender to make the cocktail photo ready every time.

“You want people to Instagram your drinks,” Aaron Post, founder of Valkyrie, said.

Post was the main cocktail producer for the class. He is also knowledgeable about nearly everything there is to know about mixed drinks and their components. When a student would ask him a question during his portion of the lecture, he could answer it in detail. There were also times when he would name multiple drinks as an example of one family or what garnish can go with what cocktail family.

This class had more appeal than just getting booze during the day. My great grandmother owned a bar and since I heard her story I’ve aspired to be like her. This class gave me more insight and knowledge into what actually goes into the business of running and maintaining a bar.

The prep work that goes into it can be extensive depending on what you make in-house. The prices can be steep or you can just be scraping by with what you have to offer your clientele.

Thinking of those things are what make it that much more fun to start a business where you serve people who are incredibly happy or heartbroken and make them happy.

All in all, this class was a great start to turning 21. It was an in-depth experience that took a total of 13 hours over two Saturdays. If you have the option to take this class or a similar one, don’t hesitate. It’ll truly broaden your horizon of the alcohol business.

I Sort of Did the No Bread Challenge, So You Won’t Have to

It took me two days to understand what it meant and I still failed.

So here’s how it started…

I work the closing shift on Sunday nights. A few of my coworkers-turned-friends decided – at the end of our shift – to go breadless for a week. I was in the process of buying a “scrappy cake” (basically a slice of cake jammed in a cup), and my friend on register asked if I wanted to join them and go breadless for the week.

My first thought is, sure, I need to get some kind of diet going. I also didn’t really know what exactly bread was, what did it entail?

“You can’t eat that starting tomorrow,” my cashier friend said, and I looked at my cake-in-a-cup and frowned.

“Okay, I’m down,” was my reply as I tear open the lid and proceed to devour the cake.

When I got off work (1:20 a.m.) and got ready for bed I googled “What is considered bread.” The results I found were kind of painful:

The first link was to a CrossFit site that listed foods you can and cannot eat during a “No Bread Challenge.”

Here’s what it said specifically about bread:

So, as I’m laying in bed trying to shut my brain off from the day I was reading what the week had in store for me.

Pasta is one of my favorite meals, if not the favorite. So when I saw that I couldn’t eat pasta I wasn’t too surprised but it still stung a little. Cereal wouldn’t be too big of a deal since I don’t eat it on a regular basis anyway, maybe once a month. Rice and cake and pizza, on the other hand, were a little more difficult.

The first day, Monday, was not too bad. I ate Chic-fil-a nuggets and fries for lunch. Sure they were breaded and fried but I didn’t want to count it since I had no other choice. Everything else in the OSU Student Union had something to do with bread unless they were just veggie and fruit trays and that’s not my thing. For dinner, I ate these weird Tandoori chicken nuggets. They weren’t breaded and they were the only thing in the frozen section of 20 Something that wasn’t breaded. I also ate Funyons because I’m weak.

Tuesday was the original exception because I eat pizza with my BFF every Tuesday afternoon. Dinner was more breaded chicken and fries but from Slim Chickens. I also found out that I was going too extreme with my thoughts on the challenge. My coworkers thought it was just bread. Not everything that bread is a part of. So when she told me that I breathed a sigh of relief that I wasn’t completely failing.

Wednesday was my downfall. I ate a bacon burger from the Union with the full intention of taking off the bread. It just so happened that I saw a friend while I was there and I sat and ate with her and completely forgot to take off the bread. Oh well. Dinner was Panda Express; chow mein and white steamed rice, orange chicken, and mushroom chicken.

Thursday wasn’t too bad; lunch was general Tso’s chicken and fried rice. Dinner was McDonald’s (it was the cheapest option for me and my BFF), nuggets and a burger. The burger was a habit of ordering and I was hungry.

Friday was filled with coffee and TGIF’s hot wings from the box and lean cuisine noodles. Dinner is chicken tacos and chips and salsa and queso.

So the week wasn’t as bad as I was expecting because I can’t stick to a plan for more than three hours. I’m a terrible creature of habit but I know that if I stick to no bread then I can make it work. I haven’t had a sandwich all week (burgers aren’t sandwiches, right?).

I’m going to try again next week and see what I can accomplish now that I know how our version of the No Bread Challenge works.