When it comes to cocktails, people are either highly knowledgeable or not at all – there seems to be little in between. World Class Cocktails organized a cocktail masterclass last night at the W Hotel with the intent to educate and have fun (after all, someone has to drink all the cocktails afterwards). Host of the event was (in)famous bartender Tess Posthumus, reigning national champion when it comes to cocktail shaking (and no. 8 in the international 2015 World Class finale).
I wrote one of my first posts on the blog about a food & cocktail pairing Tess did for Supperclub in Amsterdam (read about it here). If her reputation hadn’t preceded her already, that night I was convinced we had a god of spirits among us. I didn’t get to meet her that night but was thrilled that we were going to be tutored by her for this event. That’s right, we got up close and personal with Tess. Which, in a group of fifteen or so invitees, is kind of a challenge.
Tess breaks down the basics of cocktail shaking and makes us three drinks using Diageo brands, which we had to recreate later on: a Moscow Mule, a Tom Collins and a Manhattan. When watching Tess do her cocktail shaking magic, it’s like watching a chef crafting his work meticulously and putting out a piece of art. A cocktail shaker does no different really. From the pouring in of the spirits one by one to the handling of the stirring rod and shaking of the two-piece shaker, there’s a lot of technique involved in making a good cocktail and Tess does so skillfully. And it comes with a certain ease with Tess, so natural as if she wasn’t meant to do anything else but this. “That’s how simple it is!” she cheerfully adds upon completion of the first cocktail.
Of course when we started shaking ourselves, it was nowhere near as easy as it was with Tess. Not to mention the way our cocktails looked (messy, kind of like ones you order at a dodgy bar somewhere in the outskirts of the city). But oh did it taste good. Which kind of says something about how good Tess is with her spirit mixes. When asked what the new cocktail trends will be this summer, Tess answers it will all be about bringing things back to more basic mixes. That means cocktails with no more than three or so ingredients.
Tess is currently working on a book, set to release this summer, about cocktail shaking and how to make classic cocktails as well as some of Tess’ concoctions. Imagine not having to serve your friends your shoddy cocktails anymore (or having to put out a bar of “help-yourselves”), what if you could serve quality cocktails at home? Now that would make a great dinner party, wouldn’t it?