“The cocktail is America’s only true culinary gift to the world.”
Just a few days before we attended a Bookalokal class hosted by T. Marshall Fawley III, a founding member and CEO of Scofflaws Den LLC (a spirit and cocktail education and consulting company), we had been reading about the history of Moonshine. There’s just something about the history of booze that gives us a nerdgasm.
Bookalokal was one of those things that both intimidated us (because of going to a private residence), but also intrigued us (for the exact same previously stated reason). But, what it comes down to is a way for people all over the world to connect with other individuals in small culinary settings creating a social dining network connecting all who love to eat and drink.
Originally born in Brussels, DC has recently acquired their own collection of hosts whose topics range from various cocktail classes (basic bar tending, history, tiki, etc.) to small cooking classes centered around an entire meal – think everything from brunch to dinner, to bread and pasta making. It’s the intimate setting that really makes this network…work. The best part, these once in a life time experiences are affordable. For less than what you might spend going out with the people you’re already familiar with, a Bookalokal event not only introduces you to new friends, but is hosted in a pleasant, easy to hear/talk setting that encourages discussion, learning, and a good time.
Marshall’s class was especially fantastic given our weird obsession with history and booze. (Well, perhaps it’s not that weird, because this obsession is obviously a reason this particular class even exists.) Walking us through the first time the word cocktail was used, and then printed with a definition in 1803, all the way through the temperance movement to how prohibition effected the sale and production of alcohol. It was news to us that the Kennedy’s (yup, those Kennedy’s) made their fortune running liquor from Canada. One thing we never expected to hear was Marshall saying, “Prohibition was the best thing to happen to alcohol.”
Do you know what it takes for bourbon to be considered bourbon? No? We didn’t either. Marshall did though! While bourbon can be produced in any state to be legally called bourbon your mash bill (grains) must have a minimum of 51% corn and no higher than 80%. Bourbon can’t be higher than 160 proof and no lower than 80 when distilling. Bourbon must be put in a brand new, charred, American made oak barrel for aging, and must be aged for a minimum of 2 years. However, if aged less than 4 the label must say how many years it was aged.
While receiving our history lesson, Marshall was busy in his home bar (aka kitchen) concocting three drinks for us while simultaneously bringing out drink/history related books, and props. This guy has his own little museum in the living room. We sampled Philadelphia Fish House Punch (a drink nearly every hunting/fishing/men’s clubs had their own recipe for back in 1863), the Corpse Reviver II (found in The Savoy Cocktail Book published in 1930), and a Mint Julep.
Intrigued yet? Bookalokal wants to offer 10% off your first booking with code EPICUREANDC. In addition, if you go through this Bookalokal link to sign up you’ll receive $10 credit to put toward a booking. If you decide you’d rather be a host, you’ll receive a $20 credit. So do it. Sign up. Meet some new friends (or turn your event into a private party), and get learning.
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