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Tips For Bartending At Home Like A Pro

(credit: Julie Wolfson)

Though Rob Floyd presides over Bar Centro at The Bazaar, one of the most exclusive bartending programs in Los Angeles, he is anything but a cocktail snob. Rather with some storytelling and inspiration, Floyd knows how to make bartending both delicious and fun.Anyone who wants to learn more about mixology can sign up for Floyd's monthly cocktail classes at the SLS Hotel. The first Sunday of each month the SAAM chef's tasting room at The Bazaar transforms into an interactive exploration of cocktail themes from the classic to avant-garde. For the February love-themed class, participants learned about the history of Valentine's Day and the Marquis di Sade, all paired with cocktails that helped set the scene. In March, Floyd treated a raucous room to tales of pirates on the high seas and rum-based libations. Loyal regulars show up in costume or share details about at-home infusions they have started, inspired by Floyd's classes.

When it comes to learning to making and shaking mixed drinks, Floyd recommends the can-do approach. He offers these tips for bringing the craft cocktail experience to your home bar.

SLS Hotel

465 South La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 247-0400

(credit: Julie Wolfson)

The Bitter Truth

"Bitters can be a little confusing, but the way I like to teach it is that bitters are more than just a flavoring agent. What's great about them is that, quite literally, a dash or two can change a cocktail from being simple and basic to being rich and complex. There are so many fantastic flavors to choose from: orange, rhubarb, chocolate, the list goes on. I'm personally enjoying a plum bitters right now and of course Angostura, which has over 33 ingredients. The depth of flavor you can achieve in a cocktail is only possible with bitters. So don't skip them, and don't be afraid to get creative!"

(credit: Julie Wolfson)

The Juice Is Loose

"Sure, it's easy to use a premade juice, but taking a short amount of time to make fresh juice yourself makes all the difference. It not only adds an incredible freshness to the drink, but it eliminates unnatural and unnecessary sugars. This is a great way to really control what you're drinking and you don't have to overcompensate elsewhere with extra ingredients to try to cover up a subpar concentrate."

(credit: Julie Wolfson)


"In the Cocktail Fundamentals at SAAM, I always put an emphasis on playfulness. Let's face it, when you're making cocktails, you want to have fun doing it. Put on some great music in the background, dance around as you cut your fruit and get creative."

(credit: Julie Wolfson)

Farmers Markets

"Just go. Grab a nice tea or coffee, walk down the aisles and enjoy. Talk to the vendors and ask what's fresh. If you can't find a good farmer's market near you, check out a nice grocery story like Bristol Farms. Wherever you go, remember, you are a liquid chef and you should seek out creative ingredients and fresh produce for your cocktail creations."

home infusion-jars
(credit: Julie Wolfson)

Home Infusions

"Embrace your mason jar! Fill them with a spirit your choice and some sliced or peeled fresh fruits. In a day or two you'll have a very pretty and delicious, naturally-infused drink and fruits to pick out and enjoy on their own. Home infusions are so very easy and works so well, and a cool way to impress your friends!"

Floyd's Cocktails Fundamentals classes will continue each month with a theme. The series is priced at $75 per person and reservations can be made by calling (310) 246-5555.

Julie Wolfson is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. She covers travel, lifestyle, art, pop culture, cocktails and food for Cool Hunting and several other media outlets. Most days you'll find her out and about in Southern California and around the world tracking down stories about talented people doing amazing things.

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