Upcoming Events: Cocktail Lessons and Baking With Citrus

On January 14, Down House will host a Cocktail Foundations class that will teach you everything you need to know about making drinks. Resident head bartender Jeremy Olivier will lead the class, which runs from 6:30 until 9 p.m and costs $150. While Olivier teaches you about the basics of making cocktails -- how to shake and stir, the proper amount of ice -- you'll be able to sip on mixed drinks and munch on snacks. Don't forget something to take notes with! You'll want to soak up as much knowledge and information as you can.

The Frank Family Vineyards are coming to Strata Restaurant and Bar in Vintage Park on Thursday, January 16, for a special wine dinner. Strata's chef, John Ly, along with Todd Graff, winemaker and general manager of winery operations at the vineyards, have created a six-course wine dinner that will cost you $124.95. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. with a reception, followed by the dinner at 7 p.m. Diners will enjoy gorgonzola- and pancetta-stuffed lychee with a 2012 Napa Valley Chardonnay for the first course, followed by salmon Napolean with foccacia and lobster cream paired with a 2011 Napa Valley Zinfandel. After an intermezzo of lime sorbet, the meal continues with the fourth course of braised pork, charred carrots with goat cheese and a polenta cake paired with a 2012 Pinot Noir from Carneros. The final savory course consists of roasted beef tenderloin, hen-of-the-woods mushrooms and potatoes with a black cherry cabernet reduction; this course is paired with a 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. For dessert, each guest will enjoy caramelized peaches with honey cakes and a vanilla cream caramel rum sauce.

Join the Italian Cultural & Community Center (ICCC) on Monday, January 20, at 7 p.m. for a chef demonstration and dinner prepared by executive chef Carmelo Mauro of Carmelo's Italian Restaurant. For $90 (non-members) or $75 (ICCC members), Mauro will demonstrate how to make a variety of Italian-American dishes and ones from Sicily (his native region). After an aperitivo and chef demo, Mauro will serve a four-course meal with wine. The menu has not been announced, but the entire evening is bound to be special. Order tickets online at eventbrite.com, or call ICCC.

Every other week, The Pastry War will host agave spirit tastings on Tuesday nights. Bobby Huegel and Alba Huerta will lead a group of 12 through a Tuesday Tasting on January 21; tickets cost $55. The bartop tasting will feature a variety of mezcal and tequila, such as Fortaleza Blanco tequila, Vago Elote Mezcal and Fidencio Sun Homo Mezcal. Pair those spirits with complimentary tamales and soak up as much information about tequila and mezcal as you possibly can.

Citrus season is among us, so what better way to enjoy the fruits than to use them in baked treats? Central Market's cooking school will offer a "Baking with Citrus" class on Wednesday, January 22, from 6:30 until 9 p.m. for $55. In this hands-on class, each student will learn how to make four desserts with a variety of citrus ingredients, including Meyer lemon shortcakes with Meyer curd, and thyme, lemon and sea-salt shortbread. Not only will you walk away with four sweet and tart recipes, but you'll be able to enjoy your creations once they are baked. When life gives you lemons, make dessert.

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