Would you do a mixology date?

Last Friday, I heard Richard Florida speak. Saturday, I saw Waiting for Superman. And on Sunday, folks, I watched The Millionare Matchmaker.

Now.  For those of you reading, I hope you’ll come back again this week, because I have more to say on both Richard Florida and especially Waiting for Superman. About creativity and innovation in Austin, about the way gender resonates in the professional creative sector, and about nurturing creative and confident minds in the largely broken American public education system.

But today … well today, I would like to talk about cocktails.

This is where The Millionaire Matchmaker comes in. Note the deliberate non-linking here. I’m a little embarrassed as it is to admit watching that show, so I’ll hold off on sending you there directly. However, last Sunday, The Millionaire Matchmaker featured A) a hot mess millionaire, B) more hot mess millionaire-marrying hopefuls, and C) all of them together on a mixology date.

Now that last part, the mixology date, is truly genius. And it’s an idea I want to float to Austin, in hopes that one of our bars or restaurants will invent this.

Whenever Ross and I go on Date Night, we usually go out to eat somewhere, and if we are feeling truly adventurous, we might also go see a movie. Wow! We’ve also taken cooking classes together at Central Market, but just for special occasions, since those are a bit pricey.

But I long to mix things up. A little change of pace, non?

Enter the mixology date.

Basically, a bartender / mixologist hosts a handful of people — say, 10 max — at their establishment, and shows them a few basics.  Each person or couple has a shaker and a mini-station of spirits and mixers, where they are taught how to balance and ratio ingredients.  So for the first hour, you learn how to make the classics: A Margarita, a Dirty Martini, a Whiskey Sour.  Depending on the skill level of the class, this hour could also be devoted to more involved drinks: A French 75, a Dark and Stormy, a Sidecar.

Also — I lied. We’re watching The Millionaire Matchmaker.


Alright, so that’s the group part. You’re learning together from the mixologist. The way this is set up on the show is kind of like elimiDATE, but ignore the guy / girl ratio: You could do this with fellow couples, as a bachelorette, or with a group of friendly strangers.

The second hour is devoted to you breaking off into small groups or pairs, then inventing some drinks on your own.  You have cards where you can write down ingredients and the name of your cocktail when you invent a winner.

And FINALLY — this part I made up entirely — you make samples of your winning drink, in shot glasses, and pass them around for the rest of the participants to try. Everyone votes on the winner, and for that week, the winning drink gets served at the establishment!

If some bar in Austin hosted this type of class on Friday nights — Peche? FINO? — I would be all over it.  I’m not the most creative cook in the world, but I do enjoy mixing drinks.  It was a revelation to me that one could appreciate a spirit’s character all on its own, rather than mixing it down into oblivion. The science experiment aspect of drink-making really appeals to me for some reason, and when I get right down to it, I think I’m just a little impatient. It takes forever to cook a good meal, but just a few seconds to mix a fabulous cocktail.

A few of the “Mad Men“-themed cocktails Peche was preparing for a while. Drinks I would love to learn how to make!

who else is into this idea?