'Cocktail college' opening in Scotland

It's not the same as a traditional junior year abroad, but you could study under a leading Scottish mixologist at his new "cocktail college" in Inverness, on the shores of the famous Loch Ness.

It's called Mixed Up Events. Andy Adams (right) plans to work out of the Brooklyn's bar in the city's Queensgate section, offering group sessions on the history of the classic drinks and how to make s of mixing the perfect cocktail.

“I see my cocktail academy as a fun way of learning something new and interesting and a fabulous way to relax and meet new people or get to know workmates or acquaintances better," Adams said in an interview with the Press & Journal. “Everyone gets to sample some of the classic cocktails, and then they get behind the bar and make their own from a huge range of ingredients.

“This is a first for Inverness, and the city is certainly ready for it. Cocktails are very popular here, but a lot of people are put off trying to make them themselves because they think it’s complicated or expensive, but that’s simply not the case. The equipment’s cheap. You can start with just your own or your friends’ favourite spirit, a couple of liqueurs and some fresh fruit or fruit juice and build up as you gain confidence. You can put together something that is absolutely delicious in as little as 30 seconds, and even the most complex recipes, like those used by professionals in cocktail-making competitions, can be mixed in just six minutes.”

Adams' credentials are sound. In addition to winning numerous bartending competitions, he has one of four Scots who made it to the United Kingdom finals in London of the Cocktail World Cup. Until it was sold earlier this year, he was the general manager of Rocpool Reserve, a luxury boutique hotel in Inverness. He then decided to create his own business.
Scotland's Most Expensive Cocktail
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Competition on ice in Vegas

The glass-walled vodka vault at Red Square has always gotten a lot of press coverage for the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Now there's something else to be cool with.

It's the new Minus 5 lounge that opened this week adjacent to Mandalay Bay. It is one of a chain of such novelty drinking spots started by Craig Ling who also has two each in Australia and New Zealand, and one in Portugal. Ling said he plans to open ice lounges in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Hawaii.

"The art of ice," as Ling calls it, is central to the theme of his bars. "We have our own ice carvers who change the lounge and sculptures every six to eight weeks." A life-sized ice statue of Elvis Presley was on display for opening day of the 2,000-square-foot place. A hunka-hunka not-burning love.

Ling apparently comes by his fascination with ice in an honest way. He is a great-grandson of Buck Rockwell, a 19th Century explorer and adventurer from New Zealand who Ling says endured a one-man expedition to circumnavigate the North Pole.

The lounge temperature, by the way, is kept at 23 degrees Farenheit; the -5 of the name actually is on the Celsius scale, so it's not as cold as one might think. Nevertheless, visitors are offered boots and parkas if they so desire. Kids are welcome, too, and the loung has a "mocktails" menu for them.

Minus 5 also has ice glasses from New Zealand, clear ice for various purposes from Canada, as well as ice couches for relaxing. Admission to the establishment is $30, which includes one cocktail and a parka, and reservations are recommended (702 / 632-7714).
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