So what do Western literature and artisanal cocktails have in common?
Well, when you are at the historic residence once belonging to author Zane Grey...
a whole lot.
The Institute's "mission is to reignite the passion of how we make food,
the ingredients we source and the farms on which they originate."
It's a place to come explore the fading arts of handmade cheese and jam making,
home coffee roasting and the art of crafting liqueurs and cocktail bitters.
As we entered the cavernous kitchen, we were welcomed by the scent of fresh citrus
and spices lingering in the air.
Individual work stations were set up with glasses, bottles and spoons.
I felt like I was standing in a vintage apothecary lab!
Our instructor for the class was a mixologist with almost 15 years experience in the industry.
He had a Sherlock Holmes vibe, which suited the evening perfectly considering
the concoctions we were set to mix.
After a brief history on cocktails and bitters we each set out to concoct our perfect cocktail.
Jars of mysterious steeping flowers and herbs wound their way around the room.
Did it speak to you?
The ones you felt were a fit went into your jar.
Combining until just the right mixture was reached.
Then some fresh citrus peel and dried lemongrass for an extra nudge of flavor.
There were about twenty people in the class and not one person's was the same!
Each one unique and indicative of your tastes and personality.
Then we got to mix a signature cocktail using our new bitters formula.
I paired mine with gin and rosemary simple syrup.
Ice and stir, being careful not to bruise the base spirit.
The result...alluringly simple with subtle depth.
I was very pleased.
It was an evening of mixing and mingling in a setting
that made you feel a little like you'd stepped into another era.
Where hand crafted foods and drinks were the way of life.
A simpler time.
A time that would be most agreeable to visit again.
For more information on the classes offered at the
Institute visit them online.