Are you a serious student of cocktails? Check out this course
on 11/02/11 at 11:25 amSpirits
Some cocktail classes are the kind where you get your hands dirty and get up-close-and-personal with a bottle of bitters. Those sponsored by the Museum of the American Cocktail, on the other hand, are more like academic exercises, complete with illustrated PowerPoint presentations.
If you’ve never heard of the Museum of the American Cocktail, it’s no surprise. It’s not one of Washington’s many institutions; it’s actually in New Orleans. But Philip Greene, a cocktail historian and member of the museum’s board who works as a lawyer in Washington, keeps the museum’s spirit alive with monthly cocktail seminars.
Each themed class includes a special guest, whether tiki expert and author Jeff “Beachbum” Berry or a local bartending star sharing tricks of the trade. Greene’s most recent class, at the Occidental in January, covered the history of Italian cocktails, plus a discourse of bitter aperitifs (Averna, Aperol, etc.) that are all the rage among craft bartenders now. It’s a literary sort of evening, with Greene reading from Ian Fleming novels and Ernest Hemingway short stories to demonstrate the role of Italian spirits through the decades, and showing photos and old illustrations to explain how recipes came to be.