American Whiskey Cocktail Class at ArtBar

A Thursday night after a very long and trying week calls for a good cocktail. ArtBar at the Royal Sonesta is making Thursday’s once- a-month even better with a chance to taste, mix, and learn from an expert in their new cocktail classes. Director of Food and Beverage Troy Clarke is sharing his love for cocktails, his expertise, and the innovation happening at ArtBar, and last night we participated in a class on American whiskey. Classes fill up, but luckily Jon made sure we had a space. We joined Jon, Lindsey, and Adam to become whiskey experts. . . well we learned a lot! And had some delicious cocktails.

Bully Boy white whiskey

The scene was set with whiskey: Bully Boy White Whiskey, which is made right here in Boston, Prichard’s Rye Whiskey, and Woodford Bourbon Whiskey.


And the night kicked off with, what else, but a cocktail! We sampled house-aged Bully Boy White Whiskey in this Manhattan. Yum.

Troy walked us through tasting spirits (Hint: It’s different than wine. Stick your nose in the glass, and breathe deep, you might just ruin your sense of smell for the night.) and he gave us a good amount of background information on the whiskeys we were tasting before we launched into making out own cocktails.

Royal Sonesta Director of Food and Beverage, Troy Clarke

Tasted on their own, I liked the Prichard’s Rye Whiskey the best for its vanilla caramel notes. The color and the different notes in the whiskeys come from the barrels in which they age. The white whiskey skips the barrel and heads straight into the bottle.


Tables were set with all of the ingredients we needed to make two cocktails, an Old Fashioned  and a Sazerac.


We each had a recipe card at our place, along with a bunch of glasses, and we got right to mixing. I may not have been paying 100% attention during the instruction part, so things were a little silly during the cocktail-making. The end result, my “Old Fashioned Old Fashioned” (called that because like the original Old Fashioned, it’s missing fruit), was quite good. And we have all of the ingredients, whiskey, sugar, bitters, soda water, and lemon peel at home so I can practice a bit more.

Old Fashioned

Peychaud's  Bitters

The second cocktail we made was a Sazerac. Featuring Peychaud’s Bitters, Rye Whiskey, and Herbsaint, the Sazerac was a little bitter for me, and since we strained out the ice, a little strong, but I still enjoyed it and had fun making it.



The class ended with lots of questions for Troy about all sorts of things like stirring cocktails vs. shaking them, complete with a demonstration.

Next up is a Brandy class. We get back from Sonoma (!!!!!!!) just a few days before, so I may have to give it a miss, but if you love cocktails, check it out.


Of course, there was also food involved throughout the evening. When we arrived, my husband and I took advantage of the happy hour food menu and shared some delicious pulled pork tacos.

pork tacos

During the class, we were treated to some bites to keep us fueled as we mixed up our cocktails. I’m not sure what was in the spoons, but it was very good.


And, as I tend to do, I ended the night with fries. ArtBar’s menu features baskets of fries and sweet potato tots with spicy banana ketchup, pesto crème fraiche, and roasted garlic parmesan. These fries and tots and sauces, and in particular the garlic parmesan, were amazing. Add this to my post-long run cravings list.

fries and tots

fries and tots

We closed out the night with one of the best Irish coffees I have ever had on either side of the Atlantic. Troy makes a very good Irish coffee that integrates the flavors of the coffee, whiskey, and sugar perfectly without any one overwhelming the others. With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, you should get yourself to ArtBar for one of these.

Irish coffee

All in all, it was a really fun night. The cocktail classes at ArtBar are well worth the $20 cover. You end up with several cocktails, some great cocktail and spirit education, and a taste of ArtBar’s creative menu, quite the deal!

And if you dine at ArtBar before or after the class, you get 10% off your food. The Royal Sonesta’s Web Media Manager did also treat us to cocktails and a warm welcome. It was great to chat with her to hear about upcoming events at ArtBar. They have pretty much one of the best views in Boston, and are really doing a lot of cool, quality things food and drink wise.

I stayed out way too late, am exhausted and pretty much still have a whole week of work to do. I have not been able to catch up this week, my training runs have felt awful, and other than an enjoyable time at ArtBar, I am completely cranky this week.

I might go to bed at 7:00 tonight.

What are you most looking forward to this weekend?

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Tags: bloggers, bourbon, cambridge, cocktails, events, Food, Restaurants, whiskey

  1. Michelle Collins’s avatar

    This looks so fun! We attended a whiskey class at BCAE recently and loved it. This weekend, I’m looking forward to some quality family time, a mani/pedi and some snowboarding.


  2. Megan’s avatar

    I’m so glad you got a chance to check out ArtBar. I’m right in the neighborhood whenever you want to go back! Troy knows so much about alcohol. I learned a lot just sitting at the bar chatting with him. I imagine the class was loaded with info. I am looking forward to catching up with friends ;) and some much-needed extra sleep!


  3. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

    $20 is an amazing deal! I’m such a light weight I’d probably end up wasted though.


  4. eric King’s avatar

    Your photos are truly gorgeous… It sounds like you had a great night. Looking forward to a quiet weekend.


  5. Elizabeth’s avatar

    Cool class! Those tacos and tots look good too.


  6. Daisy’s avatar

    what an exceptional class. the cocktails you made look beautiful and it sounds like you learned so much.


  7. Michelle’s avatar

    I still have yet to check out ArtBar! I’m not a big whiskey drinker but the cocktail class sounds like a lot of fun!


  8. Lin @ BeantownEats’s avatar

    That rye was my favorite of the three too! I was exhausted on Friday as well, and went to bed super early last night to try to catch up. Hope you have the chance to rest this weekend!


  9. Emily @ A Cambridge Story’s avatar

    Umm this sounds amazing… I might look into the Brandy class myself. Are you really going?


  10. Ranjani’s avatar

    Great to know about these classes – I’ve actually been looking for something like this for Andrew’s birthday


  11. Jon’s avatar

    Great recap! I loved the rye too, Prichard’s is great stuff. I also really enjoyed the carbonated White Whiskey Manhattan. Hope to see you and Eric at another class soon! See ya next weekend!


  12. Alaina’s avatar

    This looks like such an amazing night!! I know Adam quite well too. :-)

    A cocktail class looks like so much fun! I’ll have to check out for rum night. ;-)


  13. Molly Galler’s avatar

    This sounds amazing! What a fun (and delicious!) class.


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