Lovely friends: while this post is not sponsored, I was offered the opportunity to take a complementary cooking class through CourseHorse in exchange for an honest review.
You’ll remember that one of the “10 Ways to Live Your Life, Elevated” is to build meaningful relationships. One of my favorite ways to show my friends that I care about them is to host intimate gatherings at my house (like the Easter Brunch I hosted last weekend!) I definitely love playing the role of hostess, decorating my apartment appropriately, and planning the menu.
One thing I’ve never hosted is a cocktail party, mostly because prior to the cooking class I took last weekend, I had no idea what I was doing! Today, I’m excited to share a recap of the “A Cocktail Party” class at Hipcooks that I had the opportunity to try via the online booking tool, CourseHorse. The class was in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle, so super convenient to get to from my house, and parking was free after 6PM (definitely a perk in Seattle!)
The name Hipcooks stems from their mission to cook without recipes or measurements. What a cool concept, huh? It takes away some of the rigidity of cooking, and really allows you to taste a meal as it progresses to the final product. But don’t worry – the instructors still provide some step-by-step instructions – and they email you the recipes the following day!
Looking through my photos from the class brings a giant smile to my face, mostly because I learned that making cocktails is HARD and that I need to massively work on my ‘shaking’ skills as to not spill all over myself. I did learn, however, that I mastered a good ‘pour’ because my drinks were always on the stronger side 😉
One of my favorite parts of this class was the open and friendly atmosphere that the instructors and other students created. As the only solo person in the class, it pushed me to be more open with strangers and I was actually able to make two new friends (hi Alex and Gillian!) who let this little duckling follow them around all evening. There was a total of 11 participants, and the majority of people had gifted the cooking class to a family member, significant other, or friend for a holiday or birthday (such a fun idea!)
Two instructors led the class: Monique was our fearless leader during the cooking portion, and Christine led the cocktail making. I learned that Christine is not only super knowledgable about all things alcohol, she’s also a dietetic intern at Bastyr…and finishes her internship in two weeks! So fun to connect with a fellow dietetic intern!
On the Menu
So what was on the menu? 9 Hors D’oeuvres Recipes and 6 Drink Recipes!
- Candied nuts
- Warm crab dip
- Leek & goat cheese tartlets
- Crisp potato cakes with goat cheese & thyme
- Endive, gorgonzola mousse & roasted pear
- Cups with caviar, crème fraiche & chive
- Warm goat cheese & nut-stuffed, prosciutto-wrapped dates
- Tuna tartar on cucumber strips with wasabi roe
- Dark chocolate crisps with raspberry cream
- The perfect martini
- Vanilla bean martini
- Lemon drop
- Amaretto sour
I learned a lot throughout the class, starting with the term flambé. We brandied pears for the endive, gorgonzola mousse & roasted pear hors d’oeuvres and they turned out SO well. I now know how to safely light a pan on fire in my own kitchen 🙂 I also learned how to candy nuts by ‘flipping’ them in the pan to coat them with butter and sugar.
As a complete cocktail novice, the most intriguing part of the class was the information Christine shared about alcohol (and where it comes from!) I had no idea that there was a difference between ‘shaken’ and ‘stirred’ martinis, that gin comes from juniper berries, or that bartenders count 1…2….3….when pouring liquor into a glass because that’s a typical ‘shot’. We even had the opportunity to practice with water and to measure it against an actual shot glass; Christine was right – when done correctly, counting “1…2…3” is about a shot!
How to find fun classes in Seattle and beyond
As I mentioned, I received the opportunity to try a cooking class in Seattle at Hipscooks through the the booking and discovery tool, CourseHorse. CourseHorse is available all over the country, but they are still in beta mode for Seattle, which means that there are more classes coming soon! You can sign up with your email address on their site to receive more information when classes are live. They will also be hosting a giveaway in the near future, so keep an eye out for that!
Thank you so much to CourseHorse and Hipcooks for this opportunity to learn more about how to host and prepare for an awesome cocktail party. I am seriously stoked to recreate the recipes for my friends! Plus, it was an added bonus that I now have two new friends in Seattle! 🙂
- Have you hosted a cocktail party before?
- Do you like martinis? What is your favorite liquor (mine is gin – and I learned I’m in the majority!)
- What has been your best experience taking or leading a cooking class?