Learn How to Mix Cocktails at this Posh Downtown Houston Hotel
Lucienne at Hotel Alessandra at 1070 Dallas in downtown Houston is now offering cocktail aficionados opportunities to learn the craft from professionals every Saturday from 3 to 4:30 p.m. There’s a new theme each month focusing on three cocktails made with particular spirits and an equal number of small bites paired alongside. “We have a main drink that we focus on but I dive into how to make the classics as well, because that’s what I’m about,” said Salinas.
In addition to the cocktail workshop portion, attendees also learn the history and origins of the featured liquors or spirits. Houston Food Finder was invited to participate in the February class, which was limited to eight attendees. It turns out that this is one of Houston’s best-kept secrets in drink education. Thanks to the small class size, everyone gets attention from the instructor.
That instructor is Houston bartender, bar consultant and overall spirits professional Linda Salinas, who has has a decade of industry experience. Her February class focused on Agricanto Paladin, a liqueur blending Raboso wine, ripe cherry flavor, and rare spices and Bouvery CV, organic cocoa blended with small batch Connecticut corn vodka. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, the goal was learning the art of chocolate martinis and pairing cherry flavors with spirits.
Salinas started off the intimate class with a brief introduction of herself and then asking the guests to do the same. The attendees were from different walks of life, all brought together by the love of cocktails and an interest in learning more. They included a birthday group and an older couple from West Virginia.
Since the cocktail of the afternoon was the chocolate martini, Salinas discussed the history of the cacao bean and its many uses through the ages, starting from the Aztecs. She also delved into the history of the word “cocktail,” as well as the ways Prohibition set the cocktail scene back by decades and its influences to this day. The cocktails were paired with small bites prepared by Lucienne executive chef Jose Hernandez, including an exquisitely prepared deviled egg and a mini tostada capped off with a sweet, tangy, and piquant chicken offering.
For the March mixology classes, Salinas says she’s teaching about a Saffron Bees Knees, the Bramble and “a couple of tricks in my bag.” She’ll use Gabriel Boudier Liquors and each drink is being paired with a mini-dessert from Lucienne’s executive chef Jose Hernandez.
Gabriel Boudier is a French company that produces and is famously known for their crèmes de fruits and crème de cassis de Dijon. (Check out our previous article on how to use the creme de cassis.) Tickets are $65 per person and classes are limited to eight attendees. Upcoming classes can be viewed online; email to reserve a spot.
When class is not in session, Hotel Alessandra visitors and guests can check out other cocktails at Bar Bardot, located on the same floor as Lucienne.