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Ramp Up for the Holidays with Hotel Cocktail Classes

October 11, 2012 at 6:48 PM | by | ()

Fresh ingredients play a big part in the cocktails served at Viceroy Riviera Maya

With Halloween approaching and Thanksgiving and the winter holidays fast on its heels, we can't help but think about holiday festivities and merrymaking. You know, cocktails. Though we have shed a few tears in our beers as hotel rooftops continue closing up for the season, all is not lost as new cocktail action is showing up inside many a beautiful hotel. Forget the bars and lounges for a moment, we're talking about a slew of mixology classes that promise to teach you the tricks of the trade. Or at worst, to give you a few fresh libations to swap in this season for ye olde Christmas punch and egg nog.

Bet you never dreamed you want to visit a hotel to learn how to tend bar, but the stout new bevvie programs at Vicery Riviera Maya, Hotel Bel-Air and Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago might just change your mind:

Artisanal Cocktail Coaching at Viceroy Riviera Maya Mexico
This villa-laden boutique property has shown that it's taking its food and beverage program seriously with an amazing chef and her weekly chef's table paired with Mexican wines, and a beverage program highlighting remarkable tequilas and some of the freshest cocktails we've ever tasted. Guests who sign up for this class will learn from the hotel's Artisan Mixologist Master how to concoct drinks from an assortment of fruits and vegetables. Think frozen margaritas blended with cucumber and ginger, mojitos muddled with mint and brown sugar, sangria with strawberries and kiwi, and a la leche cream cocktail made with 1921 Crema De Tequil (sure to blow that egg nog out of the water). The cost for this class is $85 per person and includes 1 1/2 hours of training followed by—drum roll—1 1/2 hours actually working the hotel's Coral Bar.

Techniques in action at L.A.'s Hotel Bel-Air

Hands-on Mixology Class at The Bar, Hotel Bel-Air
This class will run you $100 for an hour, but imagine one-on-one time with those artful bartenders—a lead bartender, in fact—at Los Angeles' Hotel Bel-Air. The class focuses on making perfect cocktails through techniques (think stirring, shaking, garnishing), ingredients like spirits and bitters, and the proper selection of barware (ice, tools, glassware, umbrellas—maybe). If you're seeking sipping swagger to impress your holiday guests, this is your class.

Crafting the Classics at Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
Eric Hay, beverage development manager of Wirtz Beverage Group, serves as guest mixologist and teacher in this monthly class offered free to the public (yep, both guests and non-guests). Classes are short at 30 minutes, but that's plenty of time to learn how to make one classic cocktail—the kind every host should know how to do. Next up on November 6, students will turn out hot spiced mulled wine and on December 11, we return full circle to homemade egg nog. But definitely not your grandmother's egg nog. Classes are held every Tuesday from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. and are kept to a max of 20 guests on a first-come basis.

We found rates in October starting at $305 for Viceroy Riviera Maya (part of their Sun and Solitude package which includes daily breakfast for two plus a resort credit), $460 for Hotel Bel-Air, and $199 for Radisson Blu Aqua.

[Photos: Nina Kokotas Hahn/HotelChatter; Hotel Bel Air]

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