Sailing aboard a Disney Cruise offers an ocean of opportunity to indulge. There are so many wonderful experiences waiting for you to enjoy, especially on 7 night or longer sailings. A series of adult beverage seminars is one of the more popular experiences offered on longer sailings. These seminars are a fantastic way to explore new tastes or learn more about a favorite beverage. On my recent cruise aboard the Disney Magic I finally decided to experience a beverage seminar for myself. After experiencing the seminar, I can safely say it is a good value and I am here to tell you why.
My husband and I decided to sign up for the Mixology 101 seminar. We did so on embarkation day while waiting for the staterooms to be ready. There were about 5 other beverage seminars from which to choose, including one all about whisky as well as a tequila and margarita seminar offered during our day in Cozumel. The prices range from $25 – $40 depending on the subject matter of the seminar. We opted for Mixology 101 because it was offered during a day at sea and seemed like a good value at $25.
Our seminar began in the exquisite night time venue of Keys. At night this sophisticated lounge is filled with live jazz music and the sounds of glasses being clinked in a toast as guests sip on high class cocktails. A host greeted each of us in attendance and sat us in comfortable seating arrangements based on our party size. A few necessary tools and glasses had already been prepared and set out for each of us.
Fresh fruit filled a cocktail glass, already enticing us. A brown liquor pooled in a small shot glass. I raised the glass to my nose and inhaled a sweet, smoky scent. I couldn’t decipher for certain if it was cognac or perhaps a dark rum. I guessed I’d have to wait to find out.
A champagne flute also waited, half full with sparkling wine, pale and golden. Finally, a slender, sleek shot glass looked to offer cool refreshment as ice chilled the tangerine colored juice held within. It all looked so tempting and I could tell that my fellow mixology classmates were struggling as much as I was, having to hold back from sipping any of the liquids waiting in front of us.
Thankfully our class began quickly. Our mixologist hailed from Thailand and it became evident pretty quickly that he is passionate about concocting new tastes, especially using fresh fruit and unique liquors. Knowing his audience he offered us the invitation to begin enjoying the chilled, tropical tangerine colored beverage in front of us. My first sip presented sweet, smooth flavor; there had to be rum in there. Sure enough it was revealed that this fruity drink was made with Malibu Coconut Flavored Rum, Veev Vodka, and a blend of passion fruit and citrus fruit juices. It was also revealed (though I knew this already) that Malibu Coconut Flavored Rum is actually made in Canada!
Next it was time to start mixing, though we started off easy. The champagne flute in front of us contained sparkling wine, Prosecco in fact. We each took a sip of this light, slightly dry wine to get a taste of the Prosecco before the mixing magic took place. Prosecco is a refreshing sparkling wine from Italy. Many people do not realize that just because it sparkles doesn’t make it champagne. The only sparkling wine that is in fact champagne is when it is made in Champagne, France and in accordance to exacting standards. (OK, lesson over; let’s get back to Mixology class).
After our “before taste” we were instructed to pour in some raspberry puree and St. Germain liquor. The flute was now filled with a deep, luscious burgundy color. We each raised our glasses and tasted our new cocktail. As it first hit my tongue the flavors were sweet thanks to the elderflower flavored St. Germain liqueur (which I love) as well as the slightly thick raspberry puree. Then a crisp tart note lingered on my palate from the Prosecco.
Already the class was off to a great start, but now it was time to really put us to work. Our mixologist master explained the art of muddling fresh ingredients to make a supreme cocktail. Muddle too hard and you’ll crush the ingredients, leading to it overpowering the drink. Muddle too lightly and the flavors won’t be released. “Right, no pressure” I thought nervously. I began to muddle the fresh strawberries and limes in the glass before me. I was quickly, but kindly told that I was not muddling the fruit enough (what can I say, I’m a lover, not a fighter). After working the fruit a little better and releasing more of the fresh juices I poured in the dark liquid I had wondered about earlier. Come to find out it was Myer’s Dark Rum. To finish off the cocktail we poured in ice, club soda, and agave syrup. The fresh fruit was just sweet enough, but lighter than sugary juice, allowing the warm flavors of the dark rum to shine through.
For those keeping score, at this point we were up to three drinks so far! Granted the first drink was a smaller sample, but the two that followed were full servings. So far the $25 was already proving to be worth it. We took a brief break to learn about some of the different tools of the trade. I’ve always found cocktail shakers, strainers, and jiggers to be visually appealing. Our mixologist explained the importance of not shaking a drink, especially a martini, too much. Doing so can “bruise” the vodka or gin, thus breaking down the flavors. This is especially true for gin, with its herbal fragrance and flavors.
Speaking of martinis, we next learned how fun layering liqueurs can be. The one downfall of the class is that we did not get the chance to make the last two beverages ourselves. I would have liked the chance to practice my layering skills. As we learned about pouring the top layer of a cocktail slowly on the side of the glass so it settles on top, a server came by with the finished product. We each receive a mini martini, a French martini in fact. Pineapple juice and Kettle One vodka were mixed for the bottom layer, then dark and sweet Chambord (a French liquer) rested on top. The French martini was quite pretty and would make a great party cocktail.
After this fourth round of drinks (albeit a smaller round) the mood of the room was decidedly mellow and pleasant. Each of us enjoying a week long vacation, in a room with no kids, enjoying some fine adult beverages, learning some new party skills; we certainly were a happy bunch. We enjoyed a few moments of conversation before it was time for our final lesson.
The layering continued. Slender shot glasses were filled with Patron XO Cafe (coffee flavored tequila). My husband, who loves tequila but hates coffee, suddenly became apprehensive. Then a layer of luscious, creamy Bailey’s rested on top, creating a shot that resembled another favorite beverage. The shot was called “Baby Guinness.” With the liquid courage already consumed, my husband decided to go ahead and give it a try. Our entire class raised their glasses together and toast to a fun, enjoyable class together. Glasses clinked, and bottoms up! The “Baby Guinness” proved to be a hit.
The Mixology 101 class packed five cocktails and fun lessons into just under an hour. For the price it was a good value and we certainly felt quite good by the end of the class. It also inspired us to try some new tastes throughout the rest of the cruise. It proved to be a great use of our time during a relaxing day at sea and a good use of our money as well. If you’re headed on a 7 night or longer Disney Cruise, I highly recommend considering one of the adult beverage seminars, especially Mixology 101.
You can learn more about other beverage and cooking seminars here. Cheers!