The World of Spirits

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My love of wine knows no bounds however my love of spirits is restricted to a pre-wine gin, the occasional rum when I happen to be in the Caribbean, the odd vodka coke here and there and a few whiskies at Christmas.  I have tried the odd tequila, sambuca and pastis over the years but I was always very doubtful of their provenance and I was absolutely certain that the way that I was consuming them was not the way they were traditionally meant to be consumed!

With a desire to learn more about Spirits as a whole, I embarked on my WSET Level 2 Spirits course with Hannah Lanfear at The Mixing Class.

Learning with Hannah at the Mixing Class means you get to learn in the beautiful private dining room at Smith and Wollensky.  It made me feel like I was in an old 1920’s Art Deco cocktail bar – perfect for learning about the history of spirits.

It was an eye-opening class.  My nose and palate, usually reserved for comparatively light wines were overwhelmed by the strong alcohol and the intense, pronounced spirits.  The number of them that we nosed and tasted, in quick succession, was also a bit of a shock to me at 10am however, once my delicate wine palate got recalibrated, we were off!!

A fantastically fun course with an amazing tutor, I would recommend it to anyone who has even the slightest interest in spirits.  Among many of the things I took away from the course, peaty whiskies stay with you for days, Vermouth reminds me of the 80s (and not in a bad way), pastis is actually enjoyable and I LOVE tequila!

WSET have reported a massive increase in interest for their spirits qualifications – they’ve seen the largest growth in 2017-18, with Level 2 Award in Spirits up by 43%.  With the resurgence in consumer interest in Gin and Tequila, as well as the rise of the cocktail, the world of spirits shows no signs of abating.  If you enjoy spirits but think you know them all, I urge you to try the WSET course – it’s an eye-opener (and a palate opener too!) 


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