â€œCap it, tap it, flip it, shake it!â€ says the tall, bald man wearing aÂ black chefâ€™s coat. His voice projects loudly over a room full of slightlyÂ buzzed Yinzers as they put the finishing touches on another round of fantastic cocktails.Itâ€™s Saturday afternoon and another installment in the wildly popular,Â Â highly educational, gourmet mixology series entitled â€œTHE ART OF MIXOLOGYâ€Â Â is leaving its mark on Pittsburgh.Â This class is taught by none other thanÂ Â The Cocktail Chef, Steven Kowalczuk, who developed this hugely successfulÂ Â course while living in Atlanta, in 2008.Â Since then, the Art of MixologyÂ Â has been home to over 700 students from all walks of life. â€œWe arrive as strangers, and leave as friends!â€, says Kowalczuk. Described as one of theÂ Â best forms of entertainment in Pittsburgh, the Art of Mixology has quicklyÂ Â become a â€œmust doâ€ on a Saturday afternoon.
The Art of Mixology is all about fresh ingredients and high quality products & spirits.Â Pittsburghâ€™s own CLIQUE VODKA, Olive or Twist, and theÂ Art of Mixology have been teaming up over the last year and breaking records with some of the largest mixology classes to date! With class themes such *as Vodka Infusions, Summer Sun & Fun, Classic Cocktails 1933-1990, Cocktails for Lovers, Spring Forward, and a huge favorite, Herb/Spice/Fruit Infusions*, this interactive and educational form of live entertainment is taking our city by storm.
As you enter the Upstairs Lounge on Olive or Twistâ€™s 2nd floor, youâ€™llÂ Â notice the atmosphere is cozy, warm, and inviting. After being greeted by aÂ friendly face, youâ€™ll don your name tag, grab a glass of ice water and make your way over to the bar to choose a perfect spot from the 30 or more preset stations. Regular students and newcomers alike have a few minutes toÂ Â catch up and make acquaintances before Kowalczuk gets everyoneâ€™s attention.Â Class is now in session.
The Cocktail Chef kicks off with a quick introduction, then delves into anÂ Â intensive explanation of the bar tools which are placed neatly in and around each personal bar station.Â â€œThe goal is to become comfortableÂ with your ingredients and tools… the rest is easy after thatâ€, saysÂ Â Kowalczuk. Before long, students are sipping on high end mixology cocktails, learning about history, and becoming a living, breathing part of Pittsburghâ€™s rich and thriving cocktail culture.
Kowalczukâ€™s mixology philosophy is based on educating the average consumer.Â He says, â€œOnce someone understands how to make a great cocktail, they will no longer settle for anything less!â€Â In turn, heÂ Â feels the bars, restaurants, and nightclubs will have to adjust to the customer demand by implementing new standards for hiring/bar practices.Â Â Once this has occurred, Pittsburgh will start to seeÂ more skilled mixologists behind the bars in town and fewer people just â€œtending the barâ€.Â When the consumer expects more from their cocktails, a mixologist is the only person to call to deliver a drink that is balanced and delicious.
Currently the Art of Mixology is about to start the August series ofÂ Â classes with more dates to follow. Dates and themes for the current seriesÂ Â include: August 4th [Pre-Prohibition Cocktails], August 11th [ClassicÂ Â Techniques], August 18th [Infusions & Foams], and AugustÂ Â 25th[Post-Prohibition Cocktails].