Making cocktails at home, much like cooking, gives you complete control over every aspect of the final product, allowing you to adjust and fine-tune to your exacting standards -- if you know what you're doing.
Cocktail classes will help. Notice the huge price difference between the one in the middle and the others; you might want to RSVP right away.
American Whiskey Class at Beretta
Where: Beretta, 1199 Valencia (at 23rd St.), 695-1199
When: Mon., July 11, 7-9 p.m.
Cost: $85. For reservations, call 415-695-1199 or e-mail email@example.com
The rundown: Beretta bar manager Ryan Fitzgerald continues his cocktail education series with a focus on American whiskey taught through a mint julep, old-fashioned, and a twist on the traditional whiskey sour. Expect to learn the basics of whiskey production along with the proper techniques for shaking, stirring, and building a drink in a glass. A Beretta welcoming cocktail and appetizers are included.
Cocktail College at Bar Adagio
Where: Bar Adagio, 550 Geary (at Taylor), 775-5000
When: Thur., July 14, 6:30-8 p.m.
Cost: Free, but you must RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org
The rundown: Bar Adagio's Cocktail College, the popular series held on the second Thursday of each month, features VeeV Acai Liqueur. A quick discussion about the liqueur, including production and history, will be followed by a cocktail demo by bar manager Kristin Almy on mixing three drinks: one classic, and two original creations. The hands-on portion of the class gets you mixing your own cocktails with help from Almy and staff.
Beverage Academy: Tiki Cocktails
Where: Bourbon & Branch, 501 Jones (at O'Farrell), 346-1735
When: Mon., July 18, starting at 7 p.m.
Cost: $95, Reservations online
The rundown: If rum and tiki drinks are more your style, Bourbon & Branch is hosting Forbidden Island managers Susan Eggett and Suzanne Long, who will lead you through the tasty tales of these potent potables. Get a lesson in rum production, the history of the tiki movement, and learn to mix your own cups of tropical paradise.