I have a bit of an obsession with taking classes these days. Cooking, crafting, baking and now cocktail making. A few months ago I joined a site called Outgoing.me that has listings for unique experiences and events (only in the greater San Francisco area right now) which also serve as a great way to meet new and interesting people. As soon as my friend Ani sent me the listing for a class called: “Mixology 101 – The Basics for Mixing and Enjoying Cocktails” I was sold. In the class we learned how to make four classic cocktails: the Martini, Manhattan, Margarita and Mojito the correct way, using the right ratios and techniques. We also learned interesting facts and methods for mixing cocktails that people are often unaware of or perform incorrectly.

The class was held at the Boothby Center for the Beverage Arts and taught by H. Joseph Ehrmann, renowned bartender and owner of the saloon Elixir in the City (H. is also a co-founder of the Barbary Coast Conservancy of the American Cocktail). Each participant was provided with the tools necessary to make the four classic cocktails and H. guided us through the preparations and methods for each. H. told us to try making one cocktail stirred and another shaken so we could see and taste the difference. I discovered that I kinda like Manhattans. I also learned that the mint in Mojitos doesn’t need to be muddled to a pulp – a few twists with the muddler is about all you need to bring out the flavor in the mint. H. also gave us a lesson in adding aromatic effects to cocktails, the flame trick, what to look for when buying bar tools and a whole host of things that I scribbled feverishly on my note pad.

This was a really fun class. How could it not be? We made (and tried to drink) four cocktails in two hours. Just ask Ani, who was having a little trouble following H.’s directions by the time we got to the Mojito lesson. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and are looking for fun activities, I recommend signing up on Outgoing.me. And if you love cocktails (and beer) I also recommend checking out the classes at the Boothby Center.

The classroom

The set up

My vodka martini. Stirred. Isn't it pretty?

A Manhattan. Shaken.

A classic Margarita.

A Mojito. One lime is all you need.