3 Great Drink-and-Learn Opportunities Still Available at USN Evening Classes

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Last year, I gave y'all the heads up about registration for University School of Nashville's annual Evening Classes. Participation has been strong for many of the classes across all of the categories including music, crafts, career, health, food, cooking and exercise classes.

However, specific to this blog, I asked if there was still room in some of the classes that deal with spirits. (The liquor kind, not the ethereal types.) Indeed there are still spaces available in three classes that I think will be educational and a lot of fun. Of course, I'm helping to teach two of them, so maybe I'm a little biased.

But the first one coming up on the calendar is not one of my classes. Jim Myers is teaching a seminar called "A Taste of Tequila." You may (should!) recognize Jim's name as an outstanding food writer and as the executive director of Community Food Advocates. The particular food that Jim is advocating in his class comes from the agave plant.

Next Friday, Jan. 27, Jim will teach you more than you ever thought of about tequila, which is not just for shooters and margaritas anymore. Best of all, Jim's class (like most USN classes) will be taught in some kind family's phat house so you can come away with lots of good ideas for your next remodeling project. Here's what the course catalog says about Jim's syllabus:

Learn to savor the rich and fine taste of quality tequila. Instructor JIM MYERS will lead a tequila tasting and explain how real tequilas are made and aged. Enjoy tasting a variety of tequila types and enjoy the spicy Mexican accompaniment, sangrita. Jim will also provide some wonderful tequila cocktail recipes. You’ll leave with a true appreciation and understanding of this spirit.

Completely immodestly, I have to say that the two classes that I'm teaching will also definitely worth your time and money, mainly thanks to the entertaining co-instructors that I've recruited. The first class will be on Feb. 15 and is titled "Spirits and Classic Cocktails." I'll lead students through a tasting of some really nice high-end spirits (there will be door prizes), and "Mr. Martini" himself, David Paine will teach and mix some classic cocktails to add to your repertoire. Here's how the catalog describes the fun:

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Impress guests at your next party with perfectly mixed drinks. Learn to prepare amazing martinis, audacious Old-Fashioneds and must-have Manhattans with this class taught by “Mr. Martini,” DAVID PAINE, and USN alumnus CHRIS CHAMBERLAIN, Nashville Scene’s wine and spirits writer. Increase your mixology know-how by learning the characteristics and nuances of vodka, gin, whiskey and other spirits. The class will enjoy a cocktail tasting and share and prepare recipes for classic cocktails. Students will leave with a better understanding of various spirits and how to combine ingredients to create outstanding cocktails.

Three weeks later on March 7 I'll be teaching a class on "The Wonders of Wood Maturation: From White Dog to Brown Liquor." I've really signed up a top-notch volunteer for this class in Provence's Kim Totzke. If you were ever lucky enough to sit across the bar from Kim at Ombi, you know that every drinking session was liable to evolve into a whiskey lesson. She has a deep love and knowledge of whiskeys, and she is so well plugged into the spirit world that we are sure to have some crazy good liquors to taste. We'll take you through several products at different ages of maturation and teach you all about the properties that can be imparted through years in oak. We may even try a few wines to show the effect of French vs. American oak compared to unoaked examples. Basically, we're gonna do some fun tasting of some great hooch and have a blast doing it! The official spiel goes something like this:

Learn to appreciate the complex, and satisfying taste of aged whiskey.USN alumnus CHRIS CHAMBERLAIN, Nashville Scene’s wine and spirits writer and KIM TOTZKE, expert mixologist and Culinary Operations Manager at Provence, will teach you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about barrel aging of spirits. They will guide you through a tasting of several whiskeys at different levels of aging, while discussing how the magical interaction between oak and alcohol adds flavor, color and maturity to the base spirit. The class will help you cherish and appreciate the wonders of aged whiskeys.

If any or all of these classes interest you, head on over to the official University School Evening Classes website to sign up. Classes sizes are limited, but spaces were still available as of last week, so don't dawdle. See you in school!

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