My First Mixology Class at Spy Raleigh

Even when the deck seems stacked against you, you can always mix something. -Josh from Spy Raleigh

And, just like that, I was introduced to the World of Mixology. You know me, I’m normally a beer gal. But, let’s be honest, a lady can’t live on beer alone (Well, actually, that might not be true… this guy did it for 46 days.)  But, every now and then, when I’m feeling adventurous, I like a good cocktail.

Lemon or Lemon Drop? Now you don't have to choose!

Unfortunately, my cocktail-drinking abilities are far greater than my cocktail-making abilities. When a Living Social deal popped up for a mixology class, I couldn’t pass it up! And before I knew it (read: this weekend), I was parking outside of Spy Raleigh and rushing in to secure myself a spot in the front row.  Thank goodness I did, because I got one of the last “good seats” at the bar.  Why was I so late?

Is this class BYOB?

I may have been the first lady to check out this Mixology class toting my own beers…  I couldn’t resist stopping at Tasty Beverage Co. across the street!!

Beers aside, though, it was time to get mixing. The bar featured a number of fancy liquors which were all wearing party hats!

All ready for the party!

Josh, our fearless leader, started off by explaining to us how a good cocktail should, like a fine wine (or fine craft beer!!), be experienced like a roller coaster of flavors. You taste one, then the next, and they all merge together in a beautiful, exciting experience for your mouth.  As he was regaling us with tales of mixing gone right, he whipped up a quick and dirty drink that I decided to name the Juicy Fruit (because he said it tasted just like JUICY FRUIT! I’m brilliant.)


  • 3 Olives Bubble
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of Ginger Ale
VOILA! And he was right as rain, it tasted like the brief-flavored gum of my childhood.

A whole juicy bunch!

We shared our favorite cocktails, as well as the experiences that made them so special.  I mentioned my Jalapeño Quencher from the Aqua Grill with my cousin on my trip to NYC!  I said that it was the perfect drink to pair with all the smooth, chilled oysters and creamy risotto.

Up next was a crowd pleaser: The Strawbasil Mojito!

Collins is my favorite cocktail glass

This drink, which should be poured into a tall, skinny Collins glass trades the traditional mint in a mojito for an earthier herb: basil! He showed us the importance of muddling and gave us the wise tip: when using fresh fruit, less is more! No reason for a fruit salad in your cocktail, and a little goes a long way.

Here's the recipe, if you're interested!

This light and fruity cocktail was delicious! He used organic fruits, twisted the lime to release the oils inside, and it was just what the doctor ordered.  If the doctor was a bartender.

Up next? A bourbon drink!

Normally, this would make me say BLECH! But when the drink looks like this…

So pretty!!

I tried to have an open mind, because even though Maker’s Mark makes me feel a little ill just saying it, this drink, the Blackberry Blueberry Blast (he said the blackberries at the store looked gross), looked promising. Bitters, blueberries, lime, and cranberry juice. What could go wrong?


The answer is NOTHING!

This drink made me rethink the use of bourbon in cocktails.

The recipe for all you cocktail aficionados!

Though we didn’t get any real hands-on experience, I loved the idea of opening my mind to mixology, and (if I had a batch of adventurous friends) I’d totally try Josh’s advice, “If you’d like to really try out mixology, get all sorts of liquor and mixers and make a party out of it.”

Anyone wanna throw a party with me?

I swear, I'm a fun guest (despite hating board games)

We can bring party hats for all the liquor bottles. I think I could ask Josh at Spy where we could get some…

Have you ever tried mixology? 

What’s your favorite fancy cocktail? (YOU ARE FORBIDDEN FROM SAYING SODA + VODKA/RUM/WHISKEY/ETC)



9 thoughts on “My First Mixology Class at Spy Raleigh

  1. Pingback: So Two Thousand and Late « Food, Sweat, and Beers

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