The more you sip, the more you know. At least that’s the case when you commit to furthering your strong drink education by way of guided tastings, paired dinners, mixology courses and more. So, in between tropical drinks enjoyed poolside, delve into Orlando’s bar scene by expanding your knowledge at an informative event featuring your cup of choice: wine, beer or cocktails. These Orlando bars and eateries invite you to learn from the best while you indulge. We’ll drink to that!
WINE BAR GEORGE
Wine Bar George is Florida’s only Master Sommelier-owned wine bar, and it’s conveniently located at Disney Springs. Owner George Miliotes has handpicked the 140 available wines by the glass. Expand your palate further by sampling from the Outstanding by the Ounce menu, which enables you to sip some of the world’s best wines at affordable, by-the-ounce prices. You may even be able to drink with George himself at occasional wine tasting events.
QUANTUM LEAP WINERY
Florida’s only sustainable winery, Quantum Leap Winery, also serves as a classroom for wine enthusiasts. The lesson? Crafting the perfect trio of wine, chocolate and cheese. Each guided event takes you on a layered tasting journey that delights the taste buds. Expect to walk away with newfound knowledge of the winemaking process, as well as how to pair wine with both savory and sweet foods.
DEAD LIZARD BREWING COMPANY
Do you consider yourself more of a craft beer aficionado? Every other Thursday, Dead Lizard Brewing Company offers Beer Geek Training. Purchase the featured beer flight and Head Brewer Richard Dine will guide the tasting, along with a brewery tour. Bonus: treat yourself to a full pour of any of the featured brews from the flight for 50% off.
Feel free to claim that you’re conducting important research when you attend Orlando Brewing’s monthly Doughnut & Beer Pairing on the third Wednesday of each month. This two-hour guided pairing includes four mini artisanal doughnuts from local doughnut maker Liz Doerr of Orlandough, paired with four of the brewery’s organic brews. Pairings are $20 and registration is required in advance.
THE COURTESY BAR
Stir up some magic while learning to make your favorite classic cocktails from knowledgeable local mixologists. In the heart of downtown Orlando, The Courtesy is a cozy craft cocktail bar offering cocktail classes on the first and third Saturday of each month. You’ll make (and drink!) three full-size cocktails, while learning the ins and outs of the art. Classes are $55 per person, and include all materials, drinks and gratuity. Want a customized experience? Book a private class with a minimum of 10 people on Saturdays.
BITTERS & BRASS
Beyond Orlando, Bitters & Brass in Sanford leads monthly cocktail classes, each spotlighting a unique spirit or type of cocktail. Discover how to garnish cocktails properly, learn fascinating historical tidbits, and perfect your cocktail shaking technique. Past classes have included learning more about various liquors, such as gin and absinthe. Others have focused on a type of cocktail or even a particular cocktail culture. The cost for each class is $50 per person, inclusive of materials, drinks and tip.
HIGHBALL & HARVEST
Sit back and let someone else do the work during the Cocktail Table Experience at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando’s Highball & Harvest. Akin to a chef’s table with the spotlight on cocktails, your private bartender will prepare a five-course cocktail menu based upon your group’s favorite spirits and flavors; courses are paired with signature bar bites from the restaurant for a finishing touch. Reservations are required in advance and a minimum of 4 guests is required. The cost is $135 per person (not including tax/gratuity), plus a $150 private bartender fee.