Create Thanksgiving Cocktails with Hotel Viking’s Cocktail Club in Newport

Learn more about the spirits laying in your home bar and concoct a variety of tasty drinks with the Hotel Viking’s mixology class.
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This Thanksgiving, impress friends and family with your mixology knowledge and skills, courtesy of Hotel Viking in Newport. Photo from Hotel Viking’s Instagram.

This holiday season, impress your guests with your new or improved mixology skills, courtesy of Hotel Viking in Aquidneck Island. The next Cocktail Club class, to be hosted on Wednesday, November 24 at 6 p.m., focuses on the essentials of Thanksgiving drinks that pairs well with your menu’s appetizers, entrees and desserts.

Christina Mercado, the assistant director of food and beverage at Hotel Viking, has been a mixologist for five years and is always learning something new about the art of mixology. She and Alex Pendergrass, the director of food and beverage, had held similar classes at a previous hotel they worked at together and recreated the educational class to tailor Hotel Viking’s modern and upscale setting.

Every now and then, the focus of the class rotates; this quarter, the duo is focusing on spirits education, such as the basics behind tequila, rum, bourbon and more. Next quarter, classic cocktails including margaritas, Manhattans and the old fashioned are the topic.

“The goal is to share techniques and information with our guests so that they can have more confidence when looking at a backbar or a cocktail menu,” says Mercado.

With the Cocktail Club, guests get more insight as to how the spirits are made, the meaning behind the age statements on the bottle and any information necessary to help them entertain family and friends at home or during a night out. “People who attend the class not only learn how to make a cocktail (or two on the holidays!), but how to taste spirits — noting flavor and aroma changes — as well as supporting product knowledge,” Mercado says.

The Thanksgiving cocktails class invites attendees to explore the use of traditional Thanksgiving fixings (think cranberry and sweet potato) and merge them with compatible cocktail ingredients. “Guests will begin with a tasting of classic American spirits like Applejack and bourbon with a short discussion on their history and modern use,” Mercado says, “then we will build our two cocktails!”

At the beginning of the class, expect to see three spirits laid out on a tasting mat, along with some tasting notes on the sheet (sometimes it’s blank for a thrilling blind tasting), depending on the class. The class instructor will go through each spirit one by one and discuss its smell and taste before creating the cocktail. They also go over the bar tools required to make the drink or possible alternatives that can be used to recreate the drink at home.

“Once the cocktail is made, we will bring out the canapes that the chef prepared for the pairing, and guests are then welcome to sit and enjoy their drink, or join us for dinner,” says Mercado.

Each class is $55 per person and has a limit of twelve guests, so reservations are required. Stick around after class for dinner at Hotel Viking and get a 15 percent discount on your meal.

Mixology classes are on Thursdays at 6 p.m. Look out for the January through March sessions, which center on classical cocktails and two holiday specials. Hotel Viking, 1 Bellevue Ave., Newport, 401-847-3300,




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