These days, we're all going back to school. Additional degrees and career-focused seminars are very much the norm as we all work to continue our education. Keep in mind, however, that not all continuing education has to be career focused.
Though the Sorrento Hotel's new Night School series might sound like another chore to do when you get home from your day job, it's really just a good opportunity to dust off your weekend drinking and eating shoes and slip them on – uncharacteristically, of course - on a Monday night.
No one has to know.
Last Monday night, I spent a couple of hours with eleven or so fellow drinkers at Night School's latest Drinking Lesson with Kathy Casey. Armed with shakers and strainers, Kathy set the stage at the Sorrento's Hunt Club bar for a great time learning about the mixing of cocktails as well as tidbits about the history behind the sipping of those cocktails too.
Kathy started at it with her shaker right away. Now I believe the idea was that if we learned all the right ways of going about making these signature cocktails of Kathy's that we could in theory, successfully make them at a party of our own with little chance of disaster, right?
Though the last part of the name makes it sound like something that you would be served if you were an extra on the set of Sex and the City on the day they ran out of cosmos, it's actually a dry cocktail. I myself am not fond of sweet drinks and the Doug Fir Sparkletini was not like a cosmo at all. As Kathy put it, this cocktail (and I believe all of the other cocktails that we sipped that night) would be best described as “Spirit Forward” - Kathy's words, not mine. I like the term though. This is a demure way of letting people know that they should 'sip wisely'. I like Kathy Casey.
The gin in this sparkletini was infused for twenty-four hours with a sprig of douglas fir. As Kathy pointed out: make sure not to use your treated Christmas tree if you're going to attempt this infusion! White cranberry juice, lemon juice and simple syrup were shaken up with the aforementioned gin and strained into a glass. Brut champagne topped it off. The doug fir sprig and floating cranberry garnish added just the right touch.
Next up on the menu was Kathy's Green-Eye Daiquiri. As you might guess from your experience with this cocktail's blended alter-ego, it is a rum-based drink and in this recipe, is mixed with Chartreuse, lime juice, thyme and a bit of sugar.
According to Kathy, the original recipe for Chartreuse was invented 500 years ago by monks. It has been passed down and even today, only three monks know the recipe. Something even more interesting about this tradition is that none of the three monks know the full recipe. It is a collaboration. I think that makes it a little bit special. One sip of that daiquiri, and I was enlightened. A daiquiri isn't meant to be pink and foofy!
Brown spirit season has definitely arrived and this was a great way to kick it off. Rye and St. Germaine Liqueur with vermouth made up this cocktail and it was topped with a gold dusted Amarena cherry.
The gold swirls left behind in the drink were fun and very festive.
I felt like Kathy gave us, her twelve Drinking Lesson students, the confidence to like whatever it is we like. Terms we deem to be fancy like “double strained” simply means that your cocktail gets a second ride through the strainer. What is important to know about shaking vs. stirring? All I know is that if I ever have the opportunity to make Kathy a martini, I'm sure as heck not going to stir it! She's just not into that! Really though, it's all about what your preference is, so if you want your martini shaken, don't be afraid to speak up!
Oh! Let's not forget about the bites from the Sorrento kitchen too!
Since we were drinking some serious cocktails over the course of the night, I was very grateful for the substantial snacks that were laid out for us - grilled cheese, tomato soup, a Scotch egg and steak with bell peppers atop a thin slice of rustic bread.
Drinking Lessons are not the only thing shaking up the Sorrento these days. Earlier this month Chamber vs. Chamber, another event on the Night School menu, emerged with a showdown for it's inaugural night: Chamber Music vs Indie (Chamber) Rock.
Be sure to check out the events calendar for other gems like this. My art, music and food tummies are all growling simultaneously.
Have a happy Monday, folks. Perhaps you'll find yourself venturing out for a delicious cocktail this evening or making one for yourself at home! Cheers!
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