Seminar: Achieving Great Cocktails in High Volume

It was a dark and stormy Monday night in New Orleans, with the winds blowing and the rains pouring down. And you know what that means?

It was the perfect evening to gather at the Museum and enjoy fine beverages prepared by Aisha Sharpe and Justin Noel of Contemporary Cocktails, New York.

Aisha was in her usual candid mode, letting go of the mixologist’s secrets in creating the perfect concoctions to serve at parties and large social gatherings. Taking her place behind the large Bruning’s Bar at the Museum, Aisha dove right into the evening’s presentation, with more than 40 souls taking notes and enjoying the results of her skills.

Assisting her were Chris and Laura McMillian, founding members of the MOTAC Board of Directors, and a healthy contingent of New Orleans’ fine young bartending corps mixing, mulling and serving the luscious creations to the attendees.

Aisha made note of the fact that cocktails served to large groups can be “batched and prepared” in advance, making the moment of delivery easier on the host and quicker for the guests. She also lectured about taking the same core ingredients, spirits, citrus and sugar, and completely creating different beverages. Adding fresh fruits, mint, champagne, bitters, Demerara Sugar, nutmeg, pomegranate seeds, blackberry, and the like, changes the outcome of the core.  This is also done with changing the base spirit from gin to vodka to rum.

Her point was that the variations on the drinks is not such a major change, but rather small changes to the basic recipe. All of which makes serving larger gatherings different drink experiences much easier.

Chris McMillian ably added to Aisha’s presentation with anecdotes and historical perspective on the spirits and the cocktails.

Featured drinks were:


Appleton Reserve Punch

  • 1 oz. Appleton Estate Reserve
  • .5 oz. Navan
  • 1 oz. Fresh Apple Juice or Apple Cider
  • .25 oz   Maple Syrup
  • .25 oz   Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ barspoon  Ginger Juice
  • 2 dashes  Angostura Bitters
  • Pomegranate Seeds and Grated Nutmeg


Appleton Reserve Daiquiri

  • 2 oz Appleton Estate Reserve
  • 1 oz. Demerara Syrup (1:1)
  • 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • Lime Wheel Garnish


Appleton Spiced Daiquiri

  • 2 oz. Appleton Estate Reserve
  • 1 oz  Five Spice Syrup (1:1)
  • 1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
  • Lime Wheel Garnish

Five Spice Syrup: 2 cups of water, 2 cups of Demerara Sugar, 2 tablespoons of Five Spice Seasoning. Bring water to boil, add Demerara Sugar and Five Spice Seasoning. Add seasoning to preference


Appleton Reserve Luxury Daiquiri

  • 2 oz Appleton Estate Reserve
  • 1 oz. Demerara Syrup (1:1)
  • 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 Blackberry
  • .5 oz. POM wonderful
  • 1 barspoon Luxardo Maraschino Liquor
  • Lime Wheel Garnish


Appleton Reserve Mojito

  • 2 oz. Appleton Estate Reserve
  • 1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
  • .75 oz. mint syrup
  • Soda
  • Mint Sprig Garnish


Aisha directed the attendees to look over the ingredients needed to make five excellent drinks, all using basically the same base ingredients of rum, lime juice, and sugar.

Her point was to provide the guests with a wide variety of choices in their beverage selections, while still allowing the host/bartender time to mingle and socialize.  

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