Ideally every cocktail you order is a learning experience of sorts. But some destinations around town offer actual classes on making, drinking, and appreciating various types of spirits. A few of the places listed below are still finalizing their fall and winter class lineups, so keep an eye on their online calendars.
The bar at Maria Hines's organic Mediterranean restaurant doubles as the setting for its relatively new cocktail classes. Taught by the bantering duo of bar manager Andy McClellan and bartender Aaron Robinson, the lessons are about “drinking booze and having fun,” and often kick off with a glass of punch. This party/class runs $50 per person. Check back for calendar updates.
The Hunt Club at the Sorrento Hotel
Sure, it's a Seattle classic with loads of charm, but alcohol-minded individuals know the Sorrento for its series of cocktail education and preparation classes. Known as Drinking Lessons, these feature cocktail historians, distillers, guest bartenders, as well as mixologists from the hotel’s Hunt Club restaurant. The 12-person, 90-minute classes, which take place on the second Wednesday of the month, include two nightly seatings, 6 and 8. The $35 per-person cost is good for the evening of instruction, drinks, and bites. Next up on the calendar is a class on microbrews on October 10, and future sessions tackle Champagne and vodka (not at the same time). Check the calendar for future class dates.
Her reputation in the cocktail community may be motivation enough to attend one of Anu Apte's collaborative Swig Well classes, where she brings in local experts to share their boozy wisdom on topics like Scotch tasting or nonsucky holiday drinks. Some classes may be geared towards the well-versed mixer, but amateur workshops are available as well. Check the Swig Well calendar to see the prices and upcoming winter class schedule.
Bar manager and head distiller Erik Chapman will be holding his ever-popular fall cocktail class on October 28 and winter hot cocktail class December 2 at the original Summit Ave location. Class starts at 2pm, and Chapman invites the 12 or so guests behind the bar to experience the thrill firsthand. Classes range from $40–$60. Tickets are still available.
Cast Iron Studios
Don’t worry Eastsiders, Larry Kurofsky, owner of the Heavy Restaurant Group (Barrio, Lot. 3, Purple), hasn’t forgotten about you. The former Barrio location in downtown Bellevue is now an event space perfectly set up for cocktail, beer, and wine workshops as well as parties. Bar and wine directors from the company's restaurants host a regular schedule of spirit-based classes, ranging from "eploring terroir" to "popular Latin cocktails." They're happy to create custom workshops for groups as well. Check the website for more information.