Real Time: Making the Drinks Just Right

Learn how to bring the bar to your small get-togethers at home. Bring back your trip to Cabo with a homemade cocktail. If you have a curiosity for the chemistry of mixing alcohol properly, Zman Amiti has what to offer you. Lindsay and Orit pop in for a spin at the one-evening cocktail workshop.

Zman Amiti, “real time” in Hebrew, is the local South Tel Aviv bar-person training facility. Not only is it the largest in the city, it also boasts being the largest school of its type in the world, both in terms of space and number of graduates. It is clear from the moment you walk in that this “school” aims for pleasure and enjoyment in combination with a serious attitude about making alcohol taste just right.

The atmosphere is almost like being in a bar, with a pool table in the lounge and smokers outside on benches in droves, but once inside the “classroom” they get a bit more “serious.” I put serious in quotes because although the room for the seminar is orderly and the table in front is set up with the finest mixing equipment, there are other aspects of the workshop that are delightfully less serious. For instance, our teacher, Nati, invited us to drink a bit of water before starting “class,” explained that everyone will participate and he plans only to guide, that at any time if one would like an extra shot of this or that we are welcome to help ourselves from the bar and also asked if anyone is driving home so s/he would not drink too much. Clearly this will be an educational evening however, thank god, one that we do not have to remember too well - all recipes would be emailed to participants after completing the course.

I am not a big cocktail fan personally, as I like my liquor straight, but I certainly appreciate the breadth of knowledge Nati offered. Not only was he throwing out recipes and measurements as each pair of students prepared a cocktail, but also could offer the chemical background and preparation techniques of each alcohol we sampled. His explanation of the difference between tequila and mezcal was fantastic, in fact, and he helped to illustrate the point by inviting folks to have a shot. In addition to knowing his drink-science, on the level of sugars and breakdown and mixing, Nati also offered a well-informed story of Prohibition in the United States back in the 20s and how that relates to the infamous drink “Long Island Iced Tea.“

Not only does this workshop teach recipes and measurements, but also how to properly decorate a drink. Again, not the biggest cocktail fan, but if it’s going to be bright green or pink, it might as well be properly presented and pretty. I especially appreciated lining the margarita glass with blue-tinted sugar and the clear directions on when to put a straw, a stirrer or a lemon wedge and why. Another highlight of the workshop was the presentation and drinking of the Flaming Lamborghini, presented in a martini glass and requiring multiple participants just for one person to enjoy. Our teacher was extremely careful with the flames, of course.

Overall, an evening at Zman Amiti is refreshing and fun. Sitting around learning how to make cocktails, sharing some funny drinking stories here and there (including hangover secrets and tips on how to avoid the suffering after mixing alcohols) and, most importantly, tasting each cocktail. All in all, one leaves this evening with a smile on and having learned much about the ins and outs of alcohol, from how to make it to how to drink it. Cheers!