Monday, July 30, 2007

A Brand New Thing: Inventory My Book Collection

In my dream home there is a library. It has built-in bookshelves on every wall, and perhaps a fireplace for ambiance. In my current apartment I have to make do with a couple of cheap bookcases, one in the living room, and one in the bedroom, and some of my books are kept in storage. Having completed my First Thing, my new Next Thing is to catalog my book collection, using the oh-so-cool Internet gadgetry of

Friday, July 27, 2007

Thing #1 Complete: Learning to Mix Drinks

I completed my first Thing this afternoon by passing my Mixology final test. I am now a certified mixologist and licensed bartender. I have committed 150 drinks to memory, everything from Shirley Temples to Mimosas, from Tom Collins to Long Island Iced Teas, from Sex on the Beach to Slippery Nipples.

Some of the highlights of the class included learning to make layered and flaming drinks:

Also, for the record, my favorite drink with a naughty-sounding name is now: "Slow Comfortable Screw, Up Against the Wall".

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Thing Update: Mixing Drinks 2/3 Complete

Two weeks in, one more to go. Since I managed to cram one week's worth of classes into two weeks (due to some work/schedule conflicts), next week I will be finishing the classwork. The final step (passing the written test as well as a mixing-drinks-for-the-instructor-in-a-timed-setting test) may stretch to the following Monday, depending on how confident I'm feeling on Friday. So far on every quiz and the midterm test I have scored exactly 99% (no more, no less), so I'm feeling very confident about the rote memorization and book-learning part. I'm not as confident with the mixing of the actual drinks yet, so I'll spend some extra time this week practicing to boost my confidence.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Thing Update: Mixing Drinks, Class #1

Three styles of classes are offered: two weeks of daytime classes, two weeks of evening classes, five Saturday classes, or any combination thereof. I'm opting for the latter. This week, I'll be attending evening classes (with one day to make up next week). Next week, I'll be out of town for several days so that will interfere with most of the class sessions for the week. The third (and final) week, I'll plan on the daytime class schedule.

The class atmosphere is great, and in the current session there are only about 6 students so there is plenty of one-on-one time available with the instructor. The classroom is equipped with a mock bar large enough for five bartenders to be working side by side. We work with actual bottles, but they are filled with colored and painted waters, so the focus is on procedures and presentation, (no taste testing during class).

Class format is typically an hour or so of instruction/demonstration/'lecture' followed by partnering up and taking turns ordering and making every drink from the chapter. Each class is kind of a stand-alone unit, and the first class (after certain orientation details) was on Martini's, Manhattan's and Rob Roy's (which are all the same type of drink, just different alcohols). I learned a total of 12 drinks and variations last night, and I can now make a classic martini: dry, dirty, or perfect, whatever your preference.

And contrary to what James Bond is famous for ordering, a 'classic' martini should not be shaken and should be stirred...of course, he had his reasons.