CINCINNATI — Though we know where to get a fine cocktail around town, many of us would be hard-pressed to mix anything more ambitious than a vodka tonic in our own home.
Sure, bartending schools and sommelier training are available, but what if you want something a little more casual? These local cocktailers offer classes in your home or at a local hotspot. It’s a perfect gift for the spirits-lover in your life or a great experience for a group.
Catherine Manabat was creating exceptional cocktails behind the bar at Downtown’s 21c Museum Hotel and quickly realized some of her more ingenious creations were met with curious interest from guests. Thus, Sunday School was born. A weekly cocktail class that runs on semesters, it focuses each week on a particular spirit or theme to educate and entertain the palate. (For example, November’s class was “Aperitifs & Digestifs.”) Though Manabat recently moved over to Watershed Distillery to be regional sales manager (and be “closer to the bar community itself,” she said), she returns to 21c to host Sunday School each week.
School room: 21c Museum & Hotel
Class size: 40 people (open to the public)
Class length: Sundays, about 1.5 hours
Tuition: $35 per class (includes five sample cocktails plus light bites). You also can buy a semester worth of classes at once.
Information: Follow Sunday School on Facebook.
Ubiquitous mixologist Molly Wellmann and her team of experts whip up inspired cocktails at Japp’s, Neons, Myrtle’s Punch House and Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar. The staff members take their love of the cocktail and its history one step further by offering private cocktail classes at both Japp’s and Myrtle's, taught by Wellmann or one of her trained mixologists. Classes usually focus on classic cocktails, but themes or spirits definitely can be suggested. Are you more of a sipper, not a mixer? Several of the experts at Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar are available to run private bourbon tastings as well. Afternoon classes are held at Japp's, between 2-3:30 p.m., or at Myrtle's, in the rathskeller, after 4 p.m. (based on availability).
School room: Japp’s Since 1879 or Myrtle’s Punch House
Class size: 25 maximum
Class length: 1.5 hours on scheduled afternoons: 2-3:30 p.m. at Japp’s or after 4 p.m. at Myrtle’s
Tuition: $20 per guest (plus $200-$300 for the mixologist)
Information: Follow Japp’s on Facebook
“Ginny Tonic” is a local podcaster, host of the popular “The Charlie Tonic Hour,” a podcast discussing popular culture and cocktails. It spawned the spin-off “Bottoms Up with Ginny Tonic and Charlie,” a podcast solely devoted to talking about drinks. You could say Ginny and Charlie know how to entertain a crowd, and that’s just what they want to do with their Tonic Tours, which are in-home private events. Classes are based on whatever spirits or cocktails the client wants to discover. Interested in an all-bourbon class? No problem. Rather focus on the art of the perfect martini? They can do that, too. Ginny aims to make the event interactive, casual and educational.
School room: In your own home (available for the Greater Cincinnati area down to Lexington)
Class size: Customizable
Class length: Customizable
Tuition: $75-$125 per hour depending on the event (you provide the liquor, Ginny provides the mixers and tools).
Information: Follow Tonic Tours on Facebook.