I have partnered with the Beverage Academy at Bourbon & Branch in San Francisco to lead classes beginning November 2023.
For my Ice Bling classes, the venue allows for legal alcohol service, plus they can make the starter ice for us in their commissary. I can also store my many, many tools there so I hope to do nearly all future ice classes there.
I'm also adding an Amaro class, based on some previous classes I've given to bartenders at Tales of the Cocktail and other industry conferences. In the amaro class, we taste individual extracts made from wormwood, gentian, rhubarb root, and cinchona bark, and then two amaros in which each of those botanicals shines, for a total of eight amaros to drink and analyze.
We've not put classes on the calendar for December as they'd like to reserve it for potential holiday parties, which brings me to another announcement:
I'm able to give either class as a private event for a corporate event, teambuilding exercise, or holiday party- either on Wednesday evening or pretty much any other time.
The Ice class can be offered alcohol-free to ensure corporate compliance, or perhaps a Dry January activation?
Below are the full class descriptions:
Ice Bling: Learn to Make Clear Ice and Cut Ice Diamonds, Spheres, and More!
- Discuss how to make clear ice with directional freezing
- Try out tools including saws, knives, ice picks, pattern plates, cookie presses, and more.
- Cut up "logs" of ice into big cubes
- Cut cubes into giant Ice Diamonds!
- Make ice Spheres
- Learn to polish and clean up shapes of ice
- Make patterned, blinged-out ice with several different tools
- Cracking, shaving, and and other ice manipulation
- Enjoy some drinks together! The class includes nonalcoholic beverages before/during cutting and a boozy one after!
Camper English is the author of The Ice Book (an Amazon Top 50 best-seller) and the pioneer of "directional freezing," the simple technique for making clear ice at home. The Ice Book has been featured in the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Sunset, Salon, Wine Enthusiast, and many other publications.
Camper has been studying the craft cocktail renaissance in San Francisco and around the world for over fifteen years and has contributed to publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, Popular Science, Saveur, Whisky Advocate, and The Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails. He is a dynamic speaker and educator who teaches cocktail history and hands-on classes like this one. His previous book is Doctors and Distillers: The Remarkable Medicinal History of Beer, Wine, Spirits, and Cocktails, and be sure to look for Beverage Academy classes focusing on bittersweet amaros!
Amaro: Uncover The Bitter Sweetness
Bittersweet liqueurs like Campari, Fernet-Branca, Cynar, Averna, and Amaro Nonino are flavored with a wide range of botanicals, but nearly all of them have a backbone built from wormwood, quinine, gentian, and/or rhubarb root. In this class we’ll taste these four individual bitter components of amaros plus EIGHT different and delicious examples of the category to train our palates to recognize them.
This tasting class for the bitter-curious will combine history and botany (all of these plants were used as medicine at one point) with some physiology of taste to explain why we don’t all experience bitterness to the same levels. We’ll also cover the way bitter and bittersweet liqueurs and fortified wines can be classified, including the categories of americanos, aperitif liqueurs, vermouths, rabarbaros, quinquinas, fernets, and more!
Students will leave with a cheat sheet of class information so that they can focus on tasting rather than taking notes.
Your professor is Camper English of Alcademics.com. Camper is the author of Doctors and Distillers: The Remarkable Medicinal History of Beer, Wine, Spirits, and Cocktails, in which he traced the historic use of bitter botanicals in spirits. Doctors and Distillers has been described as “every bit as entertaining as it is educational” (Scientific American), “best savored, not shot-gunned, with a drink in hand” (Science), and “a tirelessly researched book on the centuries-long relationship between medicine and booze” (New York Times). Copies of the book are available as an add-on to the class.
Camper has been studying the craft cocktail renaissance in San Francisco and around the world for over fifteen years and has contributed to publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, Popular Science, Saveur, Whisky Advocate, and The Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails. He is a dynamic speaker and educator who teaches cocktail history and hands-on classes like this one. His most recent work is The Ice Book: Cool Cubes, Clear Spheres, and Other Chill Cocktail Crafts, and be sure to look for Beverage Academy classes focusing on ice!