Virtual Classes and Wine Tastings to Tune Into From Home

Practicing social distancing? These restaurants, wineries, distilleries and cooking schools are offering online opportunities for people at home.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Virtual Cocktail Class “at” Laylow
Thursday, March 26, 6pm (and ongoing)

Laylow is a chic subterranean cocktail and music den from the people who brought you Reyla and Barrio Costero. And while no, you can’t go there just yet, it will be home base for virtual “Quarantine Sessions” for the foreseeable future. Beverage partner Jamie Dodge and bar manager Pat Pipi hosted the first on 5pm last Saturday, which drew a virtual “crowd” of 136 people. All you have to do is buy some ingredients and join in on Zoom. It’s just $10 and the money goes to support the bar team at all three of Culture Collec+ive’s properties (plus you’ll be communing with other people over music and booze so there’s a chance you just might feel human again). The next hangouts are scheduled as follows: Tuesday, March 24 is free for “Agave Spirits Club” members; Thursday at 6pm there’s a free hang out called “Cocktail Lab Happy Hour”; and this Saturday at 5pm there’s another $10 as-yet-undesignated Cocktail Class. Meanwhile, Reyla and Barrio Costero are both offering takeout/delivery options.

Impromptu Insta-Class with Corgi Spirits

Not so much a planned event as something to keep an eye out for from Corgi and outfits like it: Corgi Spirits out of Jersey City posted an impromptu minute-long cocktail class featuring their signature drink, the Corgi Cuppa. If you can get your hands on some of their Earl Grey Gin, the rest of the stuff you may well have lying around: lemon, honey, and Angostura bitters. Corgi may well do more such classes, as will other distilleries, wineries, and Jersey-based beverage producers, to keep us apprised of their market presence sure but also give us creative new ways to enjoy their products during all the indoors time as mixers, and morale, run low.

Free Online Cooking Classes with Milk Street Kitchen

You might recognize Christopher Kimball from America’s Test Kitchen (he’s the tall, serious-looking guy with the bowtie). He’s since moved on, founding Milk Street magazine and Milk Street Cooking School in Boston. From now through April 30, Kimball is offering free access to all of Milk Street’s online cooking classes. That’s a big deal—and a lot of substantive, good activity time for you and your family. Subjects range from “Sweet Baking” and “The Spice Kitchen” to “Fearless Fish” and “Pasta Perfect” (and before you object, yes you can use this quarantine time to finally learn how to make pasta at home). The best part is the classes are pre-recorded, i.e. there’s no schedule, so you can watch them anytime you want. Check out their Instant Pot class for a serious game-changer and a (slightly) more interesting dinner week.

“At Home with Kendall-Jackson” Wine Tasting

As we’re hunkering down for the duration of quarantine, Sonoma winery Kendall-Jackson came up with a really good idea: virtual tastings, from the comfort of your own home. The exact date and recurrence of the tastings have yet to be ironed out, but they’ve already posted one tasting. Major bonus points, the tastings are led by the near-30-year-seasoned winemaker Randy Ullom, as well as some of his team, so you’re getting a trusted expert to turn you from wine drinker to wine thinker over the course of quarantine. The tastings are free to tune into. All you have to do is find a way to get ahold of some of the wines, which you can do through Kendall-Jackson or online delivery sites like Drizly. Also check to see if your local wine shop is offering pickup and/or delivery. Stay tuned to Kendall-Jackson Facebook for updates on virtual tastings.

“Kitchen Quarantine” Virtual Cooking Class with Michelin-Starred Chef
Daily at 3pm

Italy’s Osteria Francescana isn’t just a Michelin-starred restaurant. It’s a three Michelin-starred restaurant. That’s the highest echelon in what is quite possibly the most respected restaurant rating system on the planet. And those are the credentials of your new nightly virtual cooking class instructor. As Italy was confronted with an earlier, harder hit by COVID-19, Massimo Bottura looked for a way to do his part even after hunkering down (and temporarily closing his restaurant). A chef who’s almost palpably passionate, Bottura is airing “Kitchen Quarantine,” a totally free, very informal cooking show from his home kitchen every day. Technically, it’s every night, at 8pm Central European Time with Bottura cooking dinner with his family, but that airs at 3pm EST, meaning you can watch it for the pleasure and get ideas for later that night or later that week. You can find the latest videos on his Instagram. You’ll notice Bottura’s energy immediately (for a Michelin-starred chef, he’s as zany as they come)—a video called “Prep for First Day of Spring Dinner” had nearly 300,000 views by Sunday evening, and we’re guessing a bunch of people are just watching for the stress-relief (expert-level culinary advice is a bonus).

Online Interactive Healthy Vegan Breakfast Class
Friday, April 10, 6:30–8:30pm

CB Health & Wellness is a little closer to home than Modena, Italy, though it’s not a cooking school—it’s a “nutritional health and wellness center” run by a “plant-based nutrition health coach” (Cecilia Basbus is a MD from Argentina with a Masters in Nutrition from Columbia). And while you might be doing just fine on getting fruits and veggies in over quarantine, this vegan breakfast class actually looks more rewarding than stepping on a scale or subtracting insoluble fiber from carb counts. Once you sign up—and it’s $45—the instructor will send you a list of ingredients to make sure you have everything on hand. Considering costs and the economic situation, this one’s really more specialized: if you’ve decided to go vegan amidst the outbreak, are working on really diversifying your cooking portfolio, etc. But if you do “attend” (via laptop or phone), you’ll be getting some expert advice, and tasty recipes for Sunday morning.

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