Raising the Bar

Impress your friends by learning how to whip up your own specialty cocktails.

Photos courtesy of One for the Road

Cocktails and summer go together like hot chocolate and winter, but no one should have to travel to a warm and beachy paradise simply to enjoy their favorite tropical refreshers. Why go to a bar when you can bring the bar home? Several Virginia bars, hotels, and companies offer mixology classes⁠—ranging in length from a half hour to two hours⁠—that teach both the history of spirits as well as how to hand craft your very own cocktail. 

Bar PX in Alexandria, founded by renowned bartender and mixologist Todd Thrasher in 2006, is a speakeasy-themed bar that will send you right back to the Prohibition Era. The bar offers two-hour-long cocktail classes Sunday through Tuesday, during which they teach students how to make three cocktails, from 1920s classics to “culinary-inspired, ingredient-driven” drinks. Wet Money contains Espolòn Tequila blanco, New Amsterdam Spirits vodka, Blue Curaçao, passion fruit, lime juice, and saltwater. Also in the area is EatWell D.C., a restaurant company with five concepts in D.C., as well as one in Maryland. At each location, EatWell D.C. offers mixology classes every day of the week for four to 12 guests. The classes include lessons, ingredients, food pairings, and, of course, drinks. BarPX.comEatWellDC.com

In Leesburg, chocolate-themed boutique restaurant The Conche offers mixology classes every fourth Saturday of the month. Participants learn how to make classic and modern takes on the daiquiri, martini, and Old Fashioned. If, however, you would rather take a trip to Paris (the one in Fauquier County, of course) and stay the night in a secluded but sweeping countryside inn, the historic Ashby Inn offers a 30-minute, three-cocktail mixology class. Options include classics, seasonals, and bourbon. The-Conche.comAshbyInn.com

In Sperryville, Wild Roots Apothecary, a shop dedicated to holistic nutrition, also dabbles in craft cocktails. Owner Colleen O’Bryant teaches two-hour mixology classes that focus on craft herbal cocktails at Francis Bar. The Handcrafted & Bespoke Bitters Club teaches participants to work with seasonal herbal infusions, focusing on each botanical ingredient’s purpose, and create their own syrups and bitters. WildRootsApothecary.com

Primland Resort, in Meadows of Dan, also offers the occasional mixology class. The upcoming July 13 BBQ cookout class is both a cooking and mixology class. Resident mixologist and Food and Beverage Manager Santana Lawson will guide the class in martini shaking, muddling, building cocktails, and much more. The class will also feature local products, as well as produce grown right in Primland’s very own organic gardens. Primland.com

Based in Richmond, One for the Road is a cocktail catering company that also provides in-home mixology classes and will bring its bar right to your door. Classes include basic cocktail instruction, hands-on cocktail making, vintage glassware, a spirits history and tasting, and handmade recipe books. Also in Richmond, Lewis Ginter has an ongoing Garden to Glass series in which visitors can taste local libations as well as learn how to make their own. Upcoming Garden to Glass events are July 23 and August 20. OneForTheRoadCocktail.comLewisGinter.org

Ultra Craft Cocktails, an upscale cocktail lounge and bar in Virginia Beach, takes reservations for groups to come in and learn the fine art of mixology. The gorgeous drinks are one-of-a-kind, but if you would rather stay at home, the website also provides recipes and instructions for many of their craft cocktails. UltraCraftCocktails.com

Interested in more about Virginia wineries, breweries, and distilleries? Vote for your favorites in our Top Beverage Maker Awards 2019, and subscribe now to receive our Drink 2019 issue!

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