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Monday, November 15, 2010

Would you do a mixology date?

Last Friday, I heard Richard Florida speak. Saturday, I saw Waiting for Superman. And on Sunday, folks, I watched The Millionare Matchmaker.

Now.  For those of you reading, I hope you'll come back again this week, because I have more to say on both Richard Florida and especially Waiting for Superman. About creativity and innovation in Austin, about the way gender resonates in the professional creative sector, and about nurturing creative and confident minds in the largely broken American public education system.

But today ... well today, I would like to talk about cocktails.

This is where The Millionaire Matchmaker comes in. Note the deliberate non-linking here. I'm a little embarrassed as it is to admit watching that show, so I'll hold off on sending you there directly. However, last Sunday, The Millionaire Matchmaker featured A) a hot mess millionaire, B) more hot mess millionaire-marrying hopefuls, and C) all of them together on a mixology date.

Now that last part, the mixology date, is truly genius. And it's an idea I want to float to Austin, in hopes that one of our bars or restaurants will invent this.

Whenever Ross and I go on Date Night, we usually go out to eat somewhere, and if we are feeling truly adventurous, we might also go see a movie. Wow! We've also taken cooking classes together at Central Market, but just for special occasions, since those are a bit pricey.

But I long to mix things up. A little change of pace, non?

Enter the mixology date.

Basically, a bartender / mixologist hosts a handful of people -- say, 10 max -- at their establishment, and shows them a few basics.  Each person or couple has a shaker and a mini-station of spirits and mixers, where they are taught how to balance and ratio ingredients.  So for the first hour, you learn how to make the classics: A Margarita, a Dirty Martini, a Whiskey Sour.  Depending on the skill level of the class, this hour could also be devoted to more involved drinks: A French 75, a Dark and Stormy, a Sidecar.

Also -- I lied. We're watching The Millionaire Matchmaker.

Alright, so that's the group part. You're learning together from the mixologist. The way this is set up on the show is kind of like elimiDATE, but ignore the guy / girl ratio: You could do this with fellow couples, as a bachelorette, or with a group of friendly strangers.

The second hour is devoted to you breaking off into small groups or pairs, then inventing some drinks on your own.  You have cards where you can write down ingredients and the name of your cocktail when you invent a winner.

And FINALLY -- this part I made up entirely -- you make samples of your winning drink, in shot glasses, and pass them around for the rest of the participants to try. Everyone votes on the winner, and for that week, the winning drink gets served at the establishment!

If some bar in Austin hosted this type of class on Friday nights -- Peche? FINO? -- I would be all over it.  I'm not the most creative cook in the world, but I do enjoy mixing drinks.  It was a revelation to me that one could appreciate a spirit's character all on its own, rather than mixing it down into oblivion. The science experiment aspect of drink-making really appeals to me for some reason, and when I get right down to it, I think I'm just a little impatient. It takes forever to cook a good meal, but just a few seconds to mix a fabulous cocktail.

A few of the "Mad Men"-themed cocktails Peche was preparing for a while. Drinks I would love to learn how to make!

who else is into this idea?


bsimms8907 said...

I think it sounds awesome! I would definitely sign up. I need to learn how to make something other than a screwdriver. My cocktail palate is quite lacking.

Megan said...

Can you, me, Breanna and Brooke go on a double date with each other? I want to make a Moscow Mule. Or Butterbeer. I can be messy but I do watch my manners. I will comb my hair for the occasion.


Austin Eavesdropper said...

@BSimms8097 and @Megan -- Right ladies?? I would also LOVE to know how to make a Moscow Mule, Megan. That drink is huge, gingery, and delicious.

Brittney, me too! I know how to make sweet drinks, but I tire quickly of sweet. I want to know how to make wild savory drinks, like with Tabasco sauce and stuff!!

Baconator said...

I am down. In fact this may be a dealbreaker if they can't shake a decent cocktail. Hm....

katherine said...

sign me up. teachers are the best drinkers, don't you know.

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea!! Several bars in DC used to do this but with specialty drinks rather than themes...for example...a martini bar would show you how to make 4-5 different flavored martinis and you got to sample all of them..It was lots of fun!

joanna said...

I definitely watched that episode of the Millionaire Matchmaker. But then again I pretty much watch every episode of that show because I watch the most ridiculous television. I think this idea is great! This way I don't have to go to NY or LA to be on this show (which I kinda secretly think would be awesomely ridiculous.)

amelia said...

I like this idea!

Unknown said...

The Tipsy Texan does this! Except you can have it in your own home! Carl and I hosted one a while back and it was super fun...

Jodi said...

I love that show but actually think that the way it was set up, it's kind of a nightmare date. I would FREAK OUT if I was told to just mix my favorite drink for a stranger. I have no idea how to make a drink. I do like the idea of having recipes and learning together how to make drinks. I bet the Tipsy Texan would be up for doing something like this!

Unknown said...

I'd be all over a mixology date. That show is hysterical. I got sucked in on my flight to NYC and couldn't tear myself away.

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@Baconator - Word. I married a former bartender. ;)

@Katherine - You are CORRECT. All of our teacher friends can drink the rest of us under the table. I am a lightweight period, but next to my teacher pals -- it's just sad.

@Txstarsgirl -

@Joanna - Ooooh I LOVE Patti. Girlfriend tells it like it IS! How cute was that part when she brought her parents along for evaluations? And her sweet, kindly Dad, reacting to her dirty mouth? "Well I love her!"

@Amelia - Right!

@Courtney - Yeah!! I Tweeted TipsyTexan yesterday about it, so maybe they'll respond. I really want the "serve the winning drink for a week" part to happen though, so maybe they could teach it AT a bar, and submit the winning drink recipe to the establishment's bar staff.

@Jodi - Yeah, I could definitely benefit from an educational segment, when they say things like: "Ok, aged liquors, like bourbon and rich tequilas, generally mix well with THESE mixers...while lighter, sharper liquors, like gin, not-too-aged rum, etc. mix well with THESE mixers..." Arm you with some knowledge before you set out on your own.

@Katie - I KNOW, that show. I get really proud of the millionaires when they listen to Patti's advice! Anyway, glad you like this idea too.