French Croissants, Cocktails, and Knife Skills: The Best One-Day Classes in NYC
New Yorkers are gluttons for productivity. Maybe it’s because even scoring dinner reservations and bar seats requires hustle here, we’re constantly angling for ways to make our precious free time pull double duty. And NYC is full of courses and workshops that split the difference between fun and informative.
Many of these opportunities, however, cost more cash and time than we can afford. While it’d be nice to be able to devote weeks to a cheese board building apprenticeship, we’re busy working our day jobs, night gigs, and side hustles. Fortunately, there are also plenty of one-day classes designed to build cocktail party-worthy skills that might also save you time on your next night in. These are the best places to learn how to mix agave tipples, pair bourbon with barbecue, and toss pizza dough like a pro in NYC.
Class: Spirits of Mexico
For hands-on learning experience that’s peak NYC, head to Chinatown’s Apothéke Academy for the Spirits of Mexico seminar. From its home on one of the city’s oldest streets, the speakeasy-style bar offers students a variety of two-hour glimpses into its devout cocktail culture every other Saturday. This course is a particularly enlightening opportunity to make and taste four drinks inspired by Apothéke’s outstanding cocktail program as you learn about the history, flavors, and distinctions between agave spirits.
Class: Color Printing Crash Course
Remember the days when photos lived outside of our devices, printed out and maybe even framed? Whether that’s an actual memory of yours, or just a figment of your cultural imagination, you’ll appreciate this opportunity to learn how to bring images to physical life. And if you really love the experience, you can further your education with private and advanced group classes, and rent the studio and darkroom by the hour.
Class: Meatless Monday
Whether you’re flirting with vegetarianism or simply looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into your rotation, Meatless Mondays at Haven’s Kitchen -- whose mission is “to change the way people feel about cooking” -- is your spot. The weekly series’ classes, which may include Korean hotpots, Indian curries, or Mediterranean meze, tend to sell out quickly, so sign up for their newsletter or follow them on Instagram to be the first to know when new courses drop. Wine is served throughout.
Class: New Orleans Cocktail Brunch
Institute of Culinary Education
It’s easy to see why ICE’s recreational cooking program has thrived for over four decades: their classes are wide-ranging, in-depth and accommodating of various skill levels and interests. Head to the Big Easy on this four hour chef-quality crash course in Cajun and Creole brunch favorites. You’ll make oysters Rockefeller, eggs Hussarde, bananas Foster pain perdu, barbecue shrimp and beignets along with a couple of classic New Orleans cocktails: a Corpse Reviver No. 2 and a Cajun bloody Mary.
Class: Bourbon & BBQ
Whether you already know and love the nuances between bourbon, whiskey and rye, or you’re venturing to the dark side for the first time, the Liquor Lab’s winter-inspired whiskey cocktail crash course is for you. Step by step, you’ll learn to make four different cocktails over two hours, taking a break in between each drink to chat with friends old and new, take snaps in the photo booth, and enjoy barbecue bites.
Class: Croissant Class
Walk away from this baking class with a dozen finished croissants (a mix of plain, chocolate and almond) after learning the ins and outs of preparing, folding and baking the classic pastry from a French-born chef, who will also discuss the history behind the croissant and theory around its baking technique. Mille Feuille classes are limited to just eight students per session, making the experience feel especially personalized.
Cost: $135 (or $220 for two people)
Class: Hands-On Pizza Workshop
Pizza School NYC
Lower East Side
It’s no secret that NYC is home to the best pizza on earth – and thanks to Pizza School, you can learn how to make it in your own home. During the family-friendly four hour workshop, you’ll prepare up to four pizzas from scratch, while learning lessons on sourcing ingredients, making (and throwing!) dough, mixing sauce, forming the crust and baking the pie. And if you forget some of the skills you acquire, students get exclusive access to the Dough Emergency Hotline after class.
Cost: $195 (or $295 for two people)
Class: Mediterranean Favorites
Taste Buds Kitchen
Taste Buds Kitchen is an especially great venue for budding baby chefs, and their liberal BYOB policy makes it easy enough to adult-ify the 21+ experiences on offer. Splurge on a bottle of funky orange wine on your way to Mediterranean Favorites, where you’ll prepare a chopped Greek salad (with fresh homemade vinaigrette), beef kebabs, stuffed grape leaves, tzatziki sauce, and hummus.
Class: Brewshop 101
Bitter & Esters
Prepare yourself to give the city’s best craft brewers a run for their money with Brewshop 101, a three hour workshop concentrating on practical brewing techniques, including how to use malts, grains, hops and yeast to produce desired flavors. If you want to take your knowledge to the next level, follow 101 with advanced courses focusing individually on all-grain, hops and yeast.
Class: Tarot Card Basics
Whether you were hoping to make better dating choices, considering a big career move, or deciding where to have dinner, there’s a good chance you’ve checked your horoscope or had your cards read at some point in your life. During this two hour course at the Brooklyn Brainery, you’ll learn how to forecast your own fate by studying the foundational meanings behind each card in a traditional tarot deck, and gain a basic understanding of their astrological connections.
Class: Glass Terrariums
Glasswork skews a bit spendy, but Brooklyn Glass’ terrariums workshop provides a big bang for your buck: you’ll create a couple of gorgeous pieces to showcase your favorite plants (which also make stunning gifts) in one five-hour session. For the same price, you can opt for the shot glass workshop, where you’ll create four unique pieces that will certainly come in handy the next time you have a party and want something to brag about (then drink from).
Class: Fromages 101
French Cheese Board
Get ready to accelerate your cheese plate game following French Cheese Board’s Fromages 101 course. This 90 minute tasting session starts with a glass of wine, walks you through the flavor profiles and provenances of some of France’s famed cheeses, demonstrates the correct course order, and identifies the best accompaniment for each selection.
Class: Handmade Pasta
International Culinary Center
Solidify your standing as the most popular dinner party host in your friend group at the International Culinary Center’s handmade pasta class. You’ll make a basic dough, which you’ll learn how to cut into a variety of shapes, prepare a more elastic dough for ravioli and tortellini, and prepare seasonal sauces and fillings to complement the carbs in this four hour course.
Class: Intro Hand Building
La Mano Pottery
Pottery is therapeutic and humbling: it’s physical, challenging and requires incredible attention and patience. La Mano’s hand building class lets you play sexy Hollywood ghost for a day to create your very own functional or fashionable piece (typically ready for pickup within four weeks). And if you fall in love with the form during your intro, you can further your practice with an eight session weekly workshop.
Cost: $75 (+ $15 if you want to keep your piece)
Class: Fish Butchery
This fishmonger is unlike any other in NYC. Its counter is deliberately curated to reflect the store’s mission: to “honor your fish”. Start with butchery, which imbues you with a no-waste ethic while explaining how to use the entire fish. Once you’ve mastered the basics, check out the wildly popular sashimi and sushi making classes.
Class: Knife Skills
The Brooklyn Kitchen
The Brooklyn Kitchen offers oodles of fun and interesting cooking classes, but knife skills is perhaps its most practical offering (think of all the time you’ll save on produce prep at home!). Class includes a light meal made from chopped veggies, plus two drinks (after class, of course, you don’t want to lose any fingers!). Sign up for this one well ahead of time -- it tends to sell out early.
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