Luckily, we didn't have to look too hard. My event planner friends, Kim and Elizabeth, know the Boston food & drink scene inside and out. They were the geniuses who introduced me to Belly's Four Blind Wines tasting that I wrote about last spring. This time, they organized a cocktail class for a handful of our friends at Grand Ten Distilling in South Boston. Lonnie, our fabulous bartender, showed us how to properly make two cocktails - a gin smash and a drink similar to a manhattan. Then he helped each couple invent their own signature drink.
Lonnie was an incredible host. Here is a man who truly loves his job, knows a lot about booze, and gets visibly giddy when concocting a new drink. Below is Lonnie delivering our first lesson in the Gran Ten Tasting Room:
Grand Ten is located in South Boston, about a 10-minute walk down Dorchester Ave from the Broadway Red Line T stop. Here you'll find Boston's old foundry - rows of low rise buildings that were once used to manufacture high quality iron for government weaponry. Once the demand for guns declined, the foundry evolved into wire factories.
One of the many things I love about Grand Ten is how they incorporate the local history into their labels. For example:
- Wire Works Gin pays homage to the building's historical purpose - wire manufacturing.
- Medford Rum was named for the original - one of the most popular rums during the 1800's. The original was manufactured and shipped from nearby Medford, MA ( Tip: pronounce it Medfid, otherwise you'll be labeled an "intahlopah" and be laughed out of town).
- My favorite is Fire Puncher vodka, named for Tommy Maguire, who in 1887 fought a raging fire at an Iron Works building with his fists. Don't believe me? Check out this newspaper clipping from 1887. He was a little bit brave and a whole lot of crazy, which is a fitting description for the person who drinks Fire Puncher straight up - it's SPICY!
Gran Ten provided us with all the necessary gear for proper drink making. We learned how to measure, muddle, stir, shake and pour the right way.
Our second drink required Medford Rum (which actually has a taste more reminiscent of whiskey) and some vermouth. I noticed the name of the vermouth they provided was a Spanish brand named "La Cuesta". If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may recall my visit to Cuba where I learned a lot about my family history. My grandmother's last name is "de la Cuesta" and her ancestors originated from Spain. Perhaps there is a connection!
At the end of the evening Grand Ten gave each of us a cocktail glass as a parting gift.
For me, the best part of the experience was learning something new from a great teacher (Lonnie) with good friends as my fellow students.
Grand Ten offers private parties, tours and private cocktail classes. Or just swing by for a tasting!
Note: This is not a paid endorsement of any kind. Our entire group paid for our class and any bottles we purchased afterwards.