Words by Chuck Cerankosky | Photos by Dan Gribbin
It’s a blast to teach a group of people how to make cocktails.
They see that making a quality drink at home doesn’t have to be terribly complicated, while synchronously discovering just why these beverages command prices of $10 or more at their favorite watering hole. (They also may discover that dropping your cocktail shaker while preparing a drink happens even to us professionals, as I handily demonstrated to my audience during a recent session.)
If you were looking to comprehend cocktails beyond what you may find while tippling at one of Rochester’s savvy spirit dens, you could do worse than to hang with the Flower City Drinksmiths. A consortium of local bar talent, including founders Cameron Phelps, Alex Malec and Frank Morehouse, the Drinksmiths meet monthly at The Daily Refresher. These events are held as classes, and each begins with a little bit of history, some smart bar humor, and moves on to discuss the function of recipes and important points of technique. All the essentials are explained (when to shake, the importance of ice and fresh juice, why bitter is good), and each session features a different guest presenter, to give the attendees a sense of their unique perspective on crafting drinks and working behind the bar. All this knowledge comes with plenty of chances to quench your thirst, with a complimentary punch and a celebratory shot respectively opening and closing the session. During the lectures, sip on two cocktails that you–as a participant–get to make, after learning about their origin and preparation.
The Rochester cocktail scene has really taken off, and the academic facet the Drinksmiths provide vibes well with our vibrant diaspora of interesting and rambunctious watering holes, the local United States Bartenders’ Guild chapter, and the annual Rochester Cocktail Revival. Our bars display many different personalities, and, despite our city’s lack of inexplicable kitsch or robot mixologists, the Flower City Drinksmiths underline that the foundation of a quality cocktail environment really requires only one thing–quality bartending.
From now 'til the end of the month, help the Flower City Drinksmiths develop their 2016 monthly lineup for a chance to win a free class. See below or click here.