Monday, October 3, 2016
Mixology Class With Hennessy
One of the absolute highlights of our recent trip to Newport, Rhode Island, for the Newport Mansions Wine And Food Festival was the exclusive Mixology Seminar provided by Hennessy. It really brought home the fact that a truly great cocktail is a well-crafted work of art.
Held at the Hotel Viking, a classic Newport destination and one of the truly most sumptuous, polished hotels anywhere, we were ushered into an very elegantly-appointed room with beautifully laid out and decorated tables and all of the tools we'd need for our mixology course. Photographers orbited about getting detail shots of the arrangements as we looked over the shakers and stirrers we'd soon be using.
We began with trays of delicious snacks such as these Crab Cakes With Chipotle Remoulade and Beef En Croute With Duxelle. Every well-planned cocktail event begins with plenty of delicious finger foods and hors d'oeuvres and keeps them coming. Real cocktail aficionados don't drink on an empty stomach and we were going to be sampling a few drinks during the next ninety minutes or so.
We took our places at our stylish posts and read over the ingredients listing for the cocktails we'd be preparing: a Hennessy Sezerac and a Hennessy Sour, as we noshed and met the other participants.
Jordan Bushell, Hennessy Ambassador and Mixologist was about to begin. We learned about the history of mixology and how it's been in practice for hundreds of years in Japan where cocktails were made with the same attention to detail and ritual as a tea ceremony. Here, the role of lowly bartender has only been elevated to that of mixologist in the past fifteen years or so. We'd be mixing libations today made with Hennessy V. S. O. P. which we learned stands for very superior old pale by order of royalty and more historical facts about cognac.
We learned to measure, to pour, to properly stir, the use of ice and all of the mixologist's tools and best practices of use. We curled precisely carved lemon peels to release the oils, using them to rub along the rim before dropping them in the glasses. It began to dawn on us that this really is an art form. Having the right accoutrement and knowing exactly how to use it all made a huge difference.
Not the least of this was learning how to correctly shake your mixed cocktail. Yes, there is a proper form to this to get the best mix. It was like getting advice on how to play baseball from a professional athlete; where to place the hands, how to turn the shaker away from you and then pull it back. We practiced in slow motion to get it right.
Then, the pour, directly over the ice. The anticipation of taking a sip of the ice cold cocktail was overwhelming.
Then, of course, the satisfying sips. Incredible. We're totally looking forward to more mixology lessons.
In media res:
This seminar was free and open to the public on a very limited basis by advance sign-up as part of the annual Newport Mansions Wine And Food Festival. You, too, could find about these cool events in advance by following us on Twitter and Instagram.