Alcohol, one the world's beloved vices, has many uses, and in some cases it could be argued that it is even medicinal. It can wash away a stressful day, numb physical and mental pain, and heighten a celebratory occasion. Never mind the hangover. You can find remedies for that in another article (read: greasy comfort food).
At the Garden to Glass workshop at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, learn from the experts how to make your medicine go down a lot easier with fresh herbs plucked straight from the garden.
"I started as soon as I was old enough," says mixology vixen Bettina Barnoczki, who brings her nine years of bartending experience to cocktail enthusiasts in this two-hour workshop.
Hitting the ground running, Barnoczki started her bartending career in Cleveland serving cocktails at a high-volume Brazilian restaurant. Then she moved to Miami where she started working at Blackbird Ordinary, the Brickell watering hole famous for its courtyard with an edible wall garden. "They were always using fresh herbs, fresh everything, taking it to the next level a little bit, stepping up the game," Barnoczki says of her three years there.
Drawing from inspiration during her time behind the bar at Blackbird, Barnoczki's class will focus on the delicate art of integrating herbs into cocktails.
First, Barnoczki will help you hand pick fresh herbs from the edible herb garden. Then it gets a bit more complicated than tossing some herbs into a shaker. You'll learn expert techniques like how to make herbal syrups, how to save and handle herbs properly, and what spirits pair better with certain syrups and juices.
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She'll show you how to make handcrafted punch based on syrup from Cuban oregano, juice, and gin, plus the classic mint julep dating back to the 1800s. There will also be a rum herb cocktail in the mix and a chance for participants to experiment with their own combinations of liquors and herbs.
Cocktails with colorful garnishes look pretty but try upping the ante with a bouquet of fresh herbs that will dance on your taste buds. After all, oregano isn't just for cooking pasta.
Garden to Glass: Herbology Cocktail Workshop at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, happens Thursday, October 9, from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 per person and available via mbgarden.org.