Making a mixed drink for someone is like making a mixtape—both combine several ingredients into one cohesive package and are excellent ways to apologize for having given all the liquor to the dog. Drink up bartending knowledge with today’s Groupon: for $99, you get a three-day intensive bartending course at Empire Bartending Academy, with locations at 3157 Broadway and 1506 St. Nicholas Avenue (a $299 value). Classes are held Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or Monday through Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Empire Bartending Academy places students behind the counter of an actual bar as professional bartenders instruct them on the basic tenets of mixology, workspace setup, and beer and wine knowledge. In a small class of 10–20 participants, students first familiarize themselves with their workstation, engineering the most efficient environment possible for accessing equipment, cutting fruit, and mixing drinks. A potent combination of rotating bartenders, drilling recipes, role-playing orders, and mnemonically memorizing ingredients crams brains with 75 different beloved and frequently ordered cocktail recipes. A crash course in beer, wine, and spirits teaches students the ins and outs of spirituous pours. Finally, fledgling mixologists hone their manners and absorb tips on how to successfully land a bartending gig, such as guest-tending part-time at various establishments or hanging around a meat packing plant until it's converted into a hip club. Attendees who feel the need for further guidance in achieving behind-bar mastery may opt to retake the class free of charge.