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Night at the Museum

13 Jan


Last week we brought Skill Exchange into the new year with NightLife at California Academy of Sciences. Skill Exchange was joined by many other presenters and demonstrations, and oh, thousands of skill-hungry people. It was a very energetic and fun night, thanks to (cocktails and) our teachers.We’d been prepped by the NightLife team about the popularity of the event, but until you’re actually in Africa Hall with several thousand people with cocktails in hand, you’re really not sure what to expect. Next time, we’ll bring more backup volunteers to help us address questions and talk about the workshops, and I think we’ll bring even more teachers, because I think the crowds would have loved even more demonstrations. All of our teachers did a great job with the crowds, and were probably all a little hoarse the next day like me. Spending the evening in Africa Hall was a bit surreal, but very, very entertaining. Also, 1,000 mozzarella samples were hand pulled, then shared by Ragazza over the course of the evening. INSANE!

For a recap of the evening with more photos and information about each of our teachers, visit the Skill Exchange blog.

Skill Exchange, 2014

6 Jan


On Thursday, January 9th we’re teaming up with California Academy of Sciences NightLife to teach you new skills in one of the coolest San Francisco institutions. Every Thursday night, the museum opens its doors for an evening of cocktails, music, demos and of course, science. The first event of 2014 is a night of DIY, demos and lots of cool tricks, featuring Skill Exchange and a whole bunch of other great workshops.

Learn how to stretch your own mozzarella with Ragazza, or join Punk Domestics for a demo on making tea liqueur. Roll up your sleeves with The Aesthetic Union andPapa Llama for some printmaking experiments. This Humble Abode will teach you how to tie a bow tie, while you watch penguins frolic. Tickets are $12, available online now or at the door.

Two classic cocktails

20 Jun


I know it is not technically happy hour or Friday yet, but I feel like the internet really needs this right now. Drinks guys, drinks. Last week, teachers Jill and Genevieve were kind enough to share a recipe for their favorite classic cocktail.  The workshop covered a bit of cocktail history, and the following recipes are for truly classic Old Fashioneds and Sazerac cocktails. Enjoy!

G’s Old Fashioned

1 ½ oz bourbon
1 tsp Bitter Housewife Bitters (or 2-3 generous dashes of Angostura)
1 tsp rich syrup*
Orange wedge
Brandied cherry
Generous splash of soda water

*2 parts demerara or turbinado sugar, 1 part water

Muddle orange, cherry, bitters and rich syrup in an old fashioned glass. Pour in bourbon and soda. Add ice, stir and enjoy!

Jill’s Classic Sazerac

2 Oz Rye Whiskey
Rinse of Herb Sainte / Absinthe
Sugar Cube
Pechards Bitters

Fill a tumbler with ice to cool glass. In a mixing glass add one sugar cube and douse with bitters, about three decent dashes should suffice. Muddle until a paste forms, then add your whiskey and dry stir with a bar spoon. Add ice and stir until ice has diluted the mixture slightly. Dump the ice in your tumbler and coat with an Absinthe / Herb Sainte rinse. Strain the Rye and bitters into the tumbler and garnish with an orange peel.


3 workshops and a party

14 Jun


Three Skill Exchange workshops and a party are all wrapped up for the season at Makeshift Society. Our final workshop was last night, lead by cocktail masters Jill and Genevieve. This series covered a diverse span of topics, from DIY pickled green strawberries, no-sew upholstery, Italian cheese and wine pairings and cocktails and bitters. Makeshift Society was an excellent host, and the space was very flexible for all the schemes we planned and executed over the last two months. I had a huge amount of help from my dear intern, the staff at Makeshift and a handful of very kind volunteers who were insanely helpful, assisting with everything from tickets, heavy lifting, serving, bar-tending, running errands and a whole host of other things.

This series was different from previous workshops in a number of ways, and I learned a good deal of  lessons. The workshops all had higher price points, but we were able to offer more resources as a result. We’re slowly working towards being able to better support our teachers, while also working on a few plans to offer more low-cost public events in the future. I’m collecting feedback from students, and still processing all of the ideas that have come out of this series. Some mistakes were made, but we also had some surprise successes that I’ll continue to implement in future events.

Skill Exchange is on vacation (ha!) for the summer, but we’ll be back in early fall with a whole new lineup, and some new tricks to share!

Final Spring Workshop

6 Jun


Next Thursday is our final workshop at Makeshift Society, exploring the topic of cocktails. Our two workshop instructors have years of experience in the cocktail world, both drinking and creating them for others to enjoy! Genevieve Brazelton makes her own line of cocktail bitters, and is well-versed in crafting the perfect combination of aromatics, flavor and experience. Jill Fitzgerald is a seasoned bartender, and co-owner of the newly opened Outer Mission/Bernal Flats bar, Virgil’s Sea Room. Together, Jill and Genevieve will lead the workshop through a lesson on the basic building blocks of cocktails, and help us understand a bit of history behind classic cocktails, and make a few for us to enjoy. We’ll also do a tasting of bitters, and dive into understanding the purpose and place for bitters in your cocktail. Tickets are limited and of course, open to 21 + over only. Tickets here.

Last week our Italian cheese and wine workshop at Makeshift Society was a wonderful evening of cheese, history and of course, wine. Thank you to our teachers, Sophie and Deena for making the evening such a fun and informative event!

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