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The Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails: Tastes and Traditions

Join a Certified Specialist of Spirits as she demystifies the world's most popular spirits and learn how to make classic cocktail recipes just like a master mixologist.
The Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails: Tastes and Traditions is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 54.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great gift to give ! I buy many Great Courses, most of them on heavier subjects, but I have twice bought additional copies of this one for imbibing and appreciative friends. I tell them they can now open up their own 1920s speakeasy.
Date published: 2022-06-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good content. Annoying camera work I'd go a full five stars on this except for the camera work, which I'll describe below. As always, Ms Simonetti-Bryan's lectures are engaging and informative. We bought this video since it seems unlikely Great Courses will add it to the streaming service. It was well wroth the money. The course guide is especially good with this one. And since it would break the bank to acquire all the bottles to sample along with the course -- something the presenter acknowledges and offers suggestions to counter -- do hang onto the course guide. I wish TTC would bring Ms. S-B back for more courses. The one thing I did not like about this course was the camera work. There are rapid POV changes from odd angles, rapid-fire B&W to color flashes, short close ups of odd things that have nothing to do with what the presenter is discussing. It's annoying and distracting. Whoever directed this episode may have been trying to be "edgy" or "artsy," and it just came off as dated and irritating. It's not like there wasn't plenty of activity and things for the camera to focus on without the "disco camera" effect. With any luck, that was a decision made by some intern directer that will never, ever be repeated.
Date published: 2022-05-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Information loaded yet interesting courses The most comprehensive and inspiring courses on spirits and a lot of cocktails recipes for home-made bar.
Date published: 2021-08-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Practical for the Novice I have some bottles of spirits in my cupboard but I only used them for familiar cocktails. Now that I know how to taste and what to look for in each bottle I can make better choices in buying and mixing spirits. I will also be able to experiment with confidence.
Date published: 2021-06-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Overview This is a great overview of spirits. I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation. The instructor is very easy to understand, obviously knew her subject, and presented the course thoroughly while maintaining audience interest.
Date published: 2021-04-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Informative Being a spirits noob in a world full of drinkers, I was half-expecting to fall in love with the topic and content in ways that never really interested me before. Well, the course didn't really do that, but I don't fault the professor or the approach. It was a good education on spirits. Just not my bag, I guess!
Date published: 2020-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great course I am very impressed with the presenter and the knowledge in the course. I have bought a few more courses and like them all.
Date published: 2020-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Quality And Detail! Something every home bartender & chef needs to have in the kitchen! Excellent! :)
Date published: 2020-02-19
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Overview

In The Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails: Tastes and Traditions, join acclaimed expert Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, a Certified Specialist of Spirits, as she demystifies the world's most popular spirits. You'll discover your own personal preferences; learn how to make classic cocktail recipes just like a master mixologist; and use little-known insider tips and techniques for tasting and shopping for spirits. Taking you around the world from the comfort of your living room, these six lectures—and two bonus lectures—feature interactive tastings, engaging footage that captures bartenders in action, virtual tours through the distillation process, and more.

About

Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan

Working on each of The Great Courses series has been one of most enjoyable and fulfilling projects in my career. While an easy process, the content, video, filming, and editing teams are some of the most professional I've worked with, they are a complete joy to work with.

INSTITUTION

Institute of Masters of Wine

Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan is among a small number of people to have received the highest credentials in the wine and spirits industry. She is one of only a few hundred people in the world to have achieved the Master of Wine (M.W.) title from The Institute of Masters of Wine in London, England-the highest and most difficult title to achieve in the industry. She also has a Professional Certificate in Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is a Certified Specialist of Spirits from the Society of Wine Educators. Ms. Simonetti-Bryan has taught courses for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, has trained thousands of professionals in the wine and spirits industry, and has judged international spirits and wine competitions, including the Ultimate Beverage Challenge in 2010 and 2011. She has also hosted seminars with Food Network stars such as Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay, and Mario Batali. In 2008, she won the Wiesbaden Tasting Trophy from The Institute of Masters of Wine. Ms. Simonetti-Bryan is a frequent guest on television programs, including Fox Business, Fox News, and Bloomberg TV. Additionally, she has been featured in publications such as Fortune, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and Wine & Spirits Magazine.

By This Expert

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The Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails: Tastes and Traditions

Trailer

Vodka and Gin - The Cocktail Spirits

01: Vodka and Gin - The Cocktail Spirits

First, Ms. Simonetti-Bryan offers you some pointed tips on how to make the most of learning with these interactive lectures. Then, begin your exploration with a closer look at vodka and gin. Both clear spirits are very mixable and usable for making classic cocktails such as Bloody Marys and Martinis (which you learn how to make here). But in order to truly appreciate the tastes and versatility of these popular spirits, you have to take a closer look at how they were discovered and how they're distilled.

35 min
Whiskey - The Complex Spirit

02: Whiskey - The Complex Spirit

Here, shatter the myth of whiskey as a purely rough and rugged drink and uncover some of the incredible flavors, textures, and taste sensations to be found in single malt scotches, bourbon, fine oak scotch, and other intriguing whiskeys from around the world. Discover how the malting process works, why a whiskey's age is so important to its taste, the history of whiskey in Europe and America, and more. Also, watch a bartender make popular whiskey cocktails, including a mint julep and a Manhattan.

30 min
Rum - The Versatile Spirit

03: Rum - The Versatile Spirit

A darling to mixologists, spirits connoisseurs, and the average cocktail drinker alike, rum has one of the widest ranges of styles of any spirit. In this lecture, taste everything from rhum agricole (based on sugar cane juice) and white rum (based on molasses) to rums from Barbados and Jamaica. You'll train your nose and palate to recognize the distinct aromas and tastes of these delicious spirits, learn the terminology of rum to make shopping easier, and perfect the art of making daiquiris, Mojitos, and classic rum punch.

30 min
Tequila and Mezcal - The Ancient Spirits

04: Tequila and Mezcal - The Ancient Spirits

Often considered to be the "bad boy" of spirits, tequila and mezcal are actually just as complex and beautifully sophisticated as whiskey, rum, and other spirits. How is tequila harvested and cooked from agave plants? Where do better tequilas come from—the lowland or highland regions of Jalisco? What are the taste differences between tequilas that are classified as joven, reposado, and añjeo? Is the myth about the "worm" in tequila bottles true? And how can you make the perfect Margarita just like a seasoned bartender? Find out all this and more here.

27 min
Brandy - The Luxury Spirit

05: Brandy - The Luxury Spirit

Finish your journey through the tastes and traditions of spirits with a look at brandy, a wine-based spirit long associated with royalty and sophistication. You'll learn how French brandies such as cognac and armagnac are distilled and aged; compare this process with other brandies from Spain and South America; learn tips and tricks to getting the right kind of brandy to suit your personal palate; and get the secrets to making two classic brandy cocktails: a Brandy Alexander and a Sidecar.

29 min
Liqueurs and Cordials - The Flavored Spirits

06: Liqueurs and Cordials - The Flavored Spirits

Explore the sweet side of spirits with liqueurs, which serve as a veritable spice rack for enhancing the flavor of cocktails and meals. Ms. Simonetti-Bryan guides you through the distinct tastes and traditions of Amaretto, Drambuie, Cointreau, Angostura bitters, and more. Conclude the lecture with tips on making three iconic cocktails that feature liqueurs: Cosmopolitans, Champagne cocktails, and Black and White Russians.

35 min
The Mixology Toolkit and Classic Recipes

07: The Mixology Toolkit and Classic Recipes

Jiggers. Shakers. Strainers. Muddlers. Learn why these and other bartending tools are so essential—and how to use them. Also, discover tips for using the right type of ice (such as shaved, cubed, or crushed) and the right type of glass (Martini glasses, cordial glasses, snifters) for your drink. Then, get expert recipes for seasonal cocktails, including sours, fizzes, and toddies.

30 min
The Home Bar and Seasonal Recipes

08: The Home Bar and Seasonal Recipes

What does a fully stocked home bar look like? The kind that makes entertaining both fun and a breeze? Find out in this bonus lecture that covers the right selection of spirits, mixers, and garnishes to always have on hand. In addition, Ms. Simonetti-Bryan reveals the secrets of exceptional food and spirit pairings, techniques for making your own flavored spirits, popular seasonal recipes, and ways to make your cocktails more figure-friendly.

36 min