Whether you’re out at dinner or at a bar with friends, you know you have that favorite, classic cocktail. Maybe on the weekends you try your hand at it, with poor ingredients and little direction, and it never tastes quite the same.
You might need some help from the masters. Shake up the next party or backyard barbecue by leveling up your bartending skills with a local cocktail class.
435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids
Each month, the Downtown Market features a themed cocktail class, like the Tiki Cocktail class on June 9. Get into the island spirit by making two South Pacific cocktails. Pull out your tiki torches and get ready to debut your new tropical cocktails at a summer barbecue. Tickets are $60, sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. Classes typically take less than two hours.
Butch’s Dry Dock
44 E. 8th St., Holland
Seasonal cocktail classes are a regular staple at the Holland-based restaurant. Previous cocktail classes include Derby Cocktails and a Cinco de Mayo theme. We’re already dreaming of delicious juleps made with fresh mint from the Fulton Street Farmers Market. A ticket will run you roughly $35. Information on cocktail classes can be found on the website or Facebook.
401 E. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo
If you're in the KZOO area and need a restaurant that covers everything from the bartending basics to recognizing flavor notes in your rum, Food Dance is the place to go. The classes range from Bar Skills 101 to numerous “Tasting Classes” that allow you to meet and chat with in-house experts at a casual seated tasting. You’ll enjoy small bites and tastes of the selected liquor, then walk away with a few recipes of your own. More information, including pricing and dates, can be found on the website.
Long Road Distillers
537 Leonard St. NW, Grand Rapids
Already a local favorite for an exceptional aquavit and many other creative spirits, Long Road is breaking into the educational sphere with its seasonal cocktail classes. All spirits are appropriate for the season, but it's how you use them, what you mix and pair them with, that will make you a master. The spring cocktail classes focus on combining local flavor with in-house spirits. Check out their Facebook page for cocktail class events at Long Road’s multiple locations.
184 120th Ave., Holland
Learn the art of mixology with Coppercraft Distillery. Private classes can be booked for up to 20 people and are tailored to match your tastes, whether that’s learning a set of new techniques or enhancing the ones you already have. Email the staff at Coppercraft to set up your private class.
38 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids
This classic West Michigan staple loves to spill the secrets on its excellent cocktails. Book a private cocktail class and learn the magic that happens behind the bar from the in-house cocktail guru. If you’ve always wondered what goes into their signature drinks, now is your chance to learn. You’ll learn a new recipe while gaining knowledge on bartending 101 and information on local distilleries. San Chez offers three different private cocktail class themes. Grab your 10 best friends and book your own private happy hour.