If you want to know your spirits and cocktails as well as the top bartenders of the world, or if you want to be a top bartender, then you simply must take the BarSmarts course, which is free to register this June.
BarSmarts was created by Pernod-Ricard, one of the largest spirit distributors in the world, and some of those aforementioned top bartenders, mixologists, and cocktail writers: Dale "King Cocktail" DeGroff, Doug Frost, Steve "Wine Geek" Olson, F. Paul Pacult, Andy Seymour and David Wondrich.
There are two courses: BarSmarts Advanced, an invite-only workshop occurring in select cities throughout the year, and BarSmarts Wired, an online course for everyone else. The course is broken into four modules:
- Spirit Basics – The history of fermentation and distilling and what to look for when tasting
- Spirit Categories – Everything wanted to know about every type of liquor on the shelf, from Amaretto to Vermouth
- Cocktails and Mixology – The history of mixing drinks plus an overview of the tools of the trade
- Practical Application and Service – Twenty-five classic drinks all bartenders should know, how to create new cocktails, and the fundamentals of hospitality in the service industry
Each section has a PDF workbook and a series of videos from the experts that explain the concepts. Both should be thoroughly understood because you’ll have 25 minutes to complete an online quiz at the end of each section before the next mod is unlocked. You can fail out, too. If you pass the exam at the end you receive a BarSmarts certificate and special invites to industry parties here in Los Angeles or other major cities around the country. You don’t get any free booze or tools, however, but you won't need them for the course.
BarSmarts is exceptionally thorough, concise, and fun. The passion and enthusiasm that the writers and bartenders have are, well, intoxicating. Even if you don’t pass, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation of the flowing saga of cocktails and the devotion shaken or stirred into every drink.
BarSmarts registration is free this month. Enter Spring2012 in the promo code area of the registration page to forego the $29 fee.
Disclosure: I was comped a BarSmarts course months ago. I failed to take the exam in the 60 days provided, but I was carrying an 87% going into it. I’m going to sign up again and ace it this time.