Vancouver is still atwitter with debate on which gender sucks more in our tepid dating scene after last week’s Vancouver Magazine article, and it got me thinking about some of the dating faux pas I’ve made in the past. One tragic date began with an invitation to a homemade dinner. Trying to be polite, I brought a bottle of white wine. When I arrived, my date pointed out that it was the wrong kind of wine for halibut and felt slighted when I didn’t compliment his cooking enough; so slighted that he pointed it out.
The date ended as awkwardly as it began, and much later than it should have. Since then, I’ve been quite adamant about not accepting first date homemade dinner invitations and spend a little more time in the liquor store when trying to pick out a proper wine.
Since I still don’t know how to properly pair wines and beekeeping is not an option in the winter, I chose to take a Wine Workshop at Metropolitan Bartending School with Samba Days. When I phoned to book a spot in the class, the new owner recommended that I take the Bar Chef class instead because in his words “it’s a lot more fun.” So I thought, “why not? I’d much rather have fun than study for a potential date with a guy who I probably wouldn’t hit it off with anyway.” The owner at Metropolitan Bartending School is pretty easygoing so using the Samba Days card for a class that wasn’t listed wasn’t an issue.
Our class began with an hour-long introduction to the basics of mixing drinks and an abbreviated history of cocktails. Our instructor, Micah, was enthusiastic about his profession and likened becoming a bar chef to a doctor deciding to become a specialist; every bartender can tend a bar just as every doctor can treat a patient, but bar chefs create cocktails using fresh ingredients that you would find in the kitchen, whereas mixologists focus on creating drinks that differ by their chemical structure, and beer pub servers know how to pour a lager. There were some amusing anecdotes thrown our way, but I did find myself wondering when we were going to start making drinks in this three and a half hour class.
After a half hour break, we each picked out a cutting board, knife, hawthorne strainer, regular strainer, muddler, cocktail shaker and glass to set up our stations. We were instructed to make whatever we wanted using the various fruits, vegetables and sauces that Micah had picked up from the supermarket ahead of time, and were left to our own devices. Micah walked about the room making sure all our questions were answered, and we basically played with food for the next two hours.
After each drink that we made, we would present it to the class and everyone would taste a sample. We each made three drinks which each contained only half a shot of gin / whiskey / rum so nobody even got buzzed, and we learned things like dragon fruit is difficult to muddle, more than a quarter of a Thai chili pepper in a drink will make it burn, and pear mixed with carbonated pop can end up tasting like detergent. It’s a good class to take if you enjoy experimenting with foods, and want to spend an evening with friends doing something different.
Thanks to Samba Days for letting me try this class!