HOW TO BE A BARTENDER
Did you know that bartenders can injure their rotator cuffs if they aren’t deliberate with their cocktail shaker technique? That’s a little tidbit I picked up while taking the beginners cocktail class offered by You & Yours Distillery in East Village.
In this instance, we were learning how to make drinks with a Boston shaker, the two different sized metal cups, and step one is get a proper seal. Step two is finding a strong yet balanced shaking technique. I don’t mean to brag, but apparently I’m a natural.
At least that’s what Trevor Bowles told me. He’s the You & Yours mixologist leading the classes, offered the third Wednesday of each month through December. For $45 a person, class gathers around a table in the slickly designed craft spirit tasting room of You & Yours (Market + 15th). The craft distillery specializes in artisanal vodka and gin, made by founder Laura Johnson on a custom still tucked in the back of the venue (you may also sign up for tours if you want).
The 90 minute class — not gonna lie, most of those minutes are spent drinking and socializing — runs through the basics on making both shaken and stirred cocktails. In my class, each of students got their own shaker set, cocktail strainer, hourglass shaped jigger, and twisty handled bar spoon, so all of us gained hands-on experience mixing drinks, as guided by Trevor, who showed us the tricks of the bartender trade.
The drinks we made were the Shirley Rose — a gin, lemon, and rose garnished drink named for Johnson’s grandmother — and the tasting room’s vodka spin on an old fashioned, with a twist of orange zest. We learned to measure our mixers in the jigger, but in compliance with the law the booze itself must be pre-poured, so don’t get carried away imagining yourself in some kind of bottle-flipping Tom Cruise scenario.
However, this works out, since the vodka and gin are just sitting there in glasses at your table setting when you arrive, giving you plenty of time to linger over the spirits’ unique aromas, and sample their distinctive flavor characteristics, before pouring them into drinks with bitters and simple syrups and giant chiseled blocks of ice.
After all, these are the sort of sensory notes a mixologist pays attention to as he or she develops a cocktail recipe. And they’re also half the reason to go tasting at the shop of a local spirit maker who takes a thoughtful, craft approach to her product.
Classes start each third Wednesday at 6:30pm, and reservations can be made here. Cheers!