Amidst the pre-Independent Learning Week deadline madness, Bartenders Against Temperence (BAT), a student-run cocktail masterclass society, provided a much-needed study break. This past Tuesday, BAT held their second in-person event of the semester, a 1920s themed ‘Prohibition Masterclass.’
After having trialed a new venue with their first event, Ham’s Hame Pub and Grill on the Scores, BAT exploited the tucked-away back room to create the ultimate speakeasy. With decorations that would make Gatsby himself proud, the committee decorated the private room with feathered lamps, themed signs and props and 1920s inspired music, though I would have preferred the music to stay on beyond the time in which the guests were arriving. They had a gold backdrop for photos and placed a disposable camera or two on each table for people to capture the night, in addition to recruiting a photographer for the evening. On top of all this, both the committee and participants came dressed to impress with pearls, gloves, and suits galore.
The menu featured four themed cocktails: a Hemmingway Daquari, an Apple Caramel Old Fashioned, a Sidecar, and a French 75 (my favourite)! Each cocktail came with an explanation of why it was chosen and a detailed walk-through of how to make it. The BAT committee answered any and all questions about the ingredients or specificities of the cocktail and was very patient and helpful with the twenty-or-so bartender novices throughout their endeavors to re-create each cocktail…even after a few Boston shakers went flying! There was no judgment if you did not like the particular drinks as they acknowledged that their guests may not like everything offered.
Due to the tight time frame of BAT events, I felt a bit rushed at each table; having been the last to make the drinks at each station, I had to rush to drink my cocktail rather than have proper time to enjoy it. However, there was a small break halfway through the masterclass when they brought out some food to ease the punch of four cocktails in two hours. This was a nice addition to the evening as it broke up the event, four lessons back-to-back would have started to become mundane.
Having been to a handful of BAT events in the past, I cannot recommend them enough. Though the events themself are more expensive than other society events, the masterclasses not only provide you with four cocktail lessons, drinks and snacks, but they also facilitate a fun night spent away from textbooks, lab reports, and computer screens. By the end of the evening, most everyone was mingling. This is not because many of the attendees were four drinks in, rather because of the personal setting of the cocktail class itself. Especially after the recent lockdowns, it is nice to be able to have a relaxed night to meet new people within a friendly and fun environment. As I walked around, I overheard a veteran attendee summing up the night to a first-year as ‘a perfect event to give myself an excuse to not study.’