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