Last Thursday, I hosted a workshop on making cocktail bitters at San Francisco’s Museum of Craft and Design.
We sold out all 60Â tickets, the crowd was in high spirits throughout the night, and everyone seemed excited by what they made, so I’m already pondering venues to teach DIY Bitters again.
Upon arrival, attendeesÂ grabbed a champagne cocktail made with bitters-infused sugar cubes (I’ll post a tutorial soon), and checked out the museum store.Split into four groups of 15, and we started off with a quick overview, whileÂ I handed out homemade bourbon caramels topped with peach bitters infused sea salt and dehydrated lemon (I’ll post a recipe eventually).
Sparkling water and ginger ale were available for tasting, because 151 proof spirits and bitter herbs directly applied to the human tongue is not a pleasant experience.
People seemed to really get a kick out of my suggestion that they put a drop on their palm, rub their hands together rapidly to burn off the alcohol, then awkwardly sniff their hands in public toÂ get a sense of the aromatics.
Once each cocktail scholar had settled on a perfect flavor combination, they moved along to the blending station where they were given an etched dropper bottle and guided through turning their recipe into a personalized batch of bitters to take home.
On their way out, several people stopped to share their bitters with me, either from pride in their accomplishment or fear that they had done something wrong, and I was overwhelmingly impressed by the outcomes.
Overall, I had a wonderfulÂ time, the other 60 people seemed to have a lot of fun, and I may go into business making caramels.
All photos byÂ Samuel Abhaya.Â Thanks toÂ Lilliana and the rest of the MCD staff for inviting me to create the workshopÂ and for coordinating such an excellent event!