Monday, June 30, 2014

A Lesson or Two on the Basics of Cocktail Making with Coppercraft Distillery

Written by  Angela Steil
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Is there any better way to spend a Thursday evening with friends than by heading down to Coppercraft Distillery in Holland and getting a lesson or two on the basics of cocktail making while sipping on your new found creations? I think not.
On Thursday, June 26th, I attended the Coppercraft Distillery Cocktails 101 class led by the knowledgable and amicable Jenney Grant. This was the first lesson in a series of three classes that Coppercraft is putting on to educate those curious about the wonderful world of recipes and distilled beverages.

The evening started off with guests sipping on a pre-class cocktail as they meandered over to the beautiful set up that became our classroom for the evening. A long communal table was set in front of us. At each place setting there was a basic bartending set, a bar towel, a menu that featured tonights recipes for cocktails and a list of home bar equipment. There was also an invitation for us guests to attend the official release of Coppercraft whiskeys (check out their website to be a part of this July 10th event!).

Once settled, Jenney Grant, our instructor, introduced herself and her background in the world of distilled beverages. Throughout the evening she was witty, easy going, incredibly knowledgable, and completely accessible to those in the room who were completely new to all of the information. I was especially impressed when one guest made a comment about the supposed history of the drink ‘Cuba Libre’ and Jenney politely, but without hesitation, explained to the guest and to all of us the real background of the beverage. Her tactful, no-bullshit approach is exactly what we need in this renaissance of craft beverages. Education is key and the best way to do that is by being respectful and intentional.

After a brief history lesson, we turned our attention to making a legitimate Cuba Libre. Here is the recipe provided for us by Coppercraft: Squeeze a 1/4 of a lime into the bottom of a rocks glass Pour in 1oz of Coppercraft Rum Fill glass to the brim with ice Pour Coca-Cola (the real kind made with real cane sugar) to top it off

I’m not going to lie, this Cuba Libre was the best I’ve ever had. Real, quality ingredients make all the difference in the world. They made a simple beverage pop like you would not believe.

As we sipped on our new concoction, Jenney explained the various bar equipment that was in front of us and how to use it properly. Afterwards she spoke about the list of home bar equipment and liquor must haves so we could all get started on creating our own personal bar after the class. Jenney’s biggest empahsis? Quality ingredients, always.

As the lesson itself was winding down, Jenney ended the course by showing us all how to make four cocktails that each used a different mixing technique. After her demonstration, we all had the opportunity to make two out of those four beverages. We then switched and shared the four various recipes with each other so we could have a bit of each.

This class was well guided, informative, and interactive. The set up was beautiful and the drinks were delicious. If you have any interest in craft cocktails and are looking for a fun way to hang out with friends for an evening, sign up for the next two classes that Coppercraft will be hosting. July 24th Whiskey Cocktails: Make Prohibition era cocktails featuring Coppercraft’s first aged spirits August 28th Harvest Cocktails: Learn to create cocktails focused on fresh produce and herbs sourced from Holland’s Farmers’ Market

These classes go from 7pm until 9pm. They’re only $35 per class and are a whole lot of fun.

I want to thank Coppercraft for being such a great host and making themselves available to answer all of my questions. I sincerely look forward to checking out more of their work in the near future and I’m excited for the rest of you to indulge in it as well.

Angela Steil

Angela Steil

Angela Steil is a Certified Cicerone® who returned to Grand Rapids, Michigan after spending three years studying in New York City and Los Angeles. Engaged as a writer in the beer world, Angela is an educator for those who wish to know more about all things beer, and coordinates beer and food pairings and dinners premised on sensory reward for the adventurous and curious. She is a producer of the finest pairing of all: quality beer and conversation. 
Angela is currently studying for the BJCP exam and Master Cicerone exam from which she expects to advocate and educate for the craft beer community internationally. Besides beer, she enjoys burlesque shows and comedy of all varieties. And cats. 
You can check out more of her work at