It’s one of DFB’s favorite times of the year in Walt Disney World — greetings from the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival!
We adore sampling our way around the booths, jamming out to the Eat to the Beat Concerts, and attending special events and seminars! And that last one is what we’re talking about today — we recently attended one of our favorite Low Cost Seminars and are excited to share photos and a review with you. Are you ready to Mix It, Make It, and Celebrate It?
The Mix It! Make It! Celebrate It! Workshops are offered twice at week throughout the Festival: Mondays and Thursdays at 12pm. Each one offers you the chance to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty as you learn from an expert. Each Workshop is different — you may be shaking up cocktails, or making sushi, or decorating cupcakes.
The Mix It! Make It! Celebrate It! Workshops take place in World Showplace, which is between the United Kingdom and Canada Pavilions. (Previously most of the Festival Special Events took place in the Festival Center in the Wonders of Life Pavilion. Currently Wonders of Life is closed due to Epcot’s major transformation.)
We checked in with the Cast Members and found our seat at one of the several round tables in the room. Each seat had the ingredients pre-portioned and (mostly) labeled, so everything you need is ready to go! Any guess what we’re making yet?
If you guessed cocktails — you’re right! We attended the Mix It! Make It! Celebrate It! Workshop titled “Nolet Spirits: The Taste of Family Tradition.” Nolet Spirits is over 325 years old, and their notable spirits include Nolet’s Silver Gin and Ketel One Vodka. During our workshop we learned we’d be making two iconic cocktails with these legendary liquors.
At each setting, there were several empty cups and glasses (soon to be full), as well as pre-measured amounts of gin, vodka, tonic water, and tomato juice. (I bet you can guess the cocktails we’re going to make!)
We also had two plates with garnishes — one had a raspberry, mint leaf, and lime, and the other had celery, lemon, and an olive.
Each person also received little containers of Horseradish, Lemon Juice, Smoked Paprika, Salt, and Pepper, as well as pipettes of Tabasco Hot Sauce and Worcestershire Sauce.
Lastly, in the center of each table were ice buckets and pitchers of water. The ice is intended for the cocktails, as well as ice water should you want some.
The Workshop began with a short presentation on the history and heritage of Nolet’s Spirits by Vice President Brett Goering. The company is older than the United States (!!!) and currently 11th generation family members run the distillery.
After a brief (and very interesting!) history lesson, it was time to start mixing!
First up, a Gin and Tonic featuring Nolet’s Silver Gin, which is distilled with rose, peach, and raspberries. We were asked to “give the gin a nose” (aka smell it) and sample a small sip straight up before making the cocktail. It was smooth and delicious! Our hosts then walked us through, step-by-step, how to make the cocktail — from which glass to use, to how much ice is needed, to which order you pour the liquids.
We then discovered the use of our first garnish plate — it was time to kick up the gin and tonic! We were encouraged to choose what we liked from the raspberry, lime, and mint and to mix it into our cocktail. We got a little crazy and chose all three.
After squeezing in the lime and swirling around the raspberry to release the flavors, we took a sip. This cocktail was delicious! I’m not even a HUGE Gin fan, but wow this was refreshing. *adds Nolet’s Silver Gin to grocery list*
Even if you aren’t the biggest gin fan (and this didn’t convert you), we learned lots of important cocktail-making facts. For example, you must stir instead of shake anything with tonic or soda water as to not flatten the bubbles. Also, for the perfect cocktail, you must have elements of bitter, sweet, alcohol, and sour. In this case, the gin is obviously the alcohol, the tonic is bitter, the lime is sour, and the mint and raspberry are the sweet.
Next, up our second cocktail: a Bloody Mary! (You had no idea right?! The tomato juice totally didn’t give it away!?) I was VERY excited about this one because I love Bloody Marys, and our presenters talked to us about how customizable they are!
In fact, the customization starts with the glass! We were told we had the choice to salt the rim (or not!) by using our garnish plate and pre-measured spices. Or to get really crazy, you can salt AND pepper the glass. Sign me up!
Using the lemon slice as a sticking agent, I salt and peppered half of my rim. But the choice was totally up to you — salt the whole rim, none of the rim, don’t use pepper, only use pepper, whatever you like!
We were then instructed to make our Bloody Mary, and most importantly, to make it our own! Beyond the Ketel One Vodka and Tomato Juice, the choices were all up to us. This is where the rest of the spices and ingredients came in handy. Personally, I added Worcestershire, Lemon, Smoked Paprika, and Tabasco for some heat.
The biggest appeal of BOTH of these cocktails is the ability to make them your own. While they are incredibly simple, two-ingredient drinks on their premise, customizing them to your liking was super fun. It certainly made me change my mind about Gin and Tonics, and gave me some ideas for the next time I host brunch. *starts pintresting Bloody Mary bars*
Finally, we each had a recipe card at the table, which was a nice take away. We feel pretty confident we can remember the main ingredients, but this is great for garnish ideas!
Our Mix It! Make It! Celebrate It! Workshop lasted almost exactly an hour. The Workshop cost is $45 per person (plus tax) and the schedule for the remainder of the Festival can be found here.
Overall, this a great Low Cost Seminar at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. Not only do you get an hour or so inside air-conditioning, but you get to learn from the experts! We loved being able to literally get our hands dirty, and taste how our hard work pays off. I walked away with new knowledge of gin and vodka distilling, a new-found respect for a classic cocktail, and a new idea for entertaining at home. Plus, two cocktails!
If you’ve been to the Food and Wine Festival before and you’re looking for something new to try out, we definitely suggest trying out a Mix It! Make It! Celebrate It! Workshop. Or if you check out the schedule and see a particular brand or item you’d love to learn more about, this is a great way to do it!
Are you headed to a Mix It! Make It! Celebrate It! Workshop this year? Let us know in the comments!