We started the class around 3:30 P.M. with our cocktail professor, Elyse, who graciously and patiently taught our class with ease. The Courtesy also provided notebooks for us to take notes throughout the class.
The Classic Champagne Cocktail
Our first drink was a classic champagne cocktail (typically a pre-dinner drink), made with bitters, a sugar cube and brut champagne. Elyse explained what kind of bitters to use and why, and the technique for adding the different ingredients. She also explained that you can use different variations of these ingredients to make a completely different cocktail.
The Planters Punch
Our second drink was a Planters Punch, a personal favorite to enjoy while watching football at home with friends. This drink is made up of Peychauds bitters, angostura bitters, simple syrup, lime juice, lemon juice, rum and mint. Again, Elyse explained all our ingredients and why we used them, the proper technique to create the drink (including how to use a shaker in a way that would delight James Bond) and the timing for each step.
The Classic Old Fashioned
Our third and final drink was one of my all-time favorites, the Old Fashioned. Like the Planters Punch, the Old Fashioned has been around for quite a while and the ingredient list is a topic of debate for cocktail enthusiasts around the world. For the sake of our class, Elyse showed us how the Courtesy Bar makes an Old Fashioned and I have to say, it was damn good.
We started with simple syrup, following up with two types of bitters and finally, high quality bourbon. We then added ice and gently stirred the ingredients together. To top it all off, we spritzed the drink with an orange peel, wiped the rim with the citrus oils, and then twisted the peel up to make a nice garnish. It was just the way to start to the weekend.
Props to the Courtesy
Before taking this class, most of us in the group were truly unaware of how much thought and technique goes into making a great cocktail. The Courtesy opened our eyes, and the thought and effort they put into the drinks they serve shows every time you order one up.
This is the quintessential cocktail lounge in Orlando made for the locals by the locals, but inviting to all. The Courtesy puts it eloquently: “The pleasure is ours, The Courtesy is yours.”