Mixing Drinks for Credit

Ann McClure's picture
Thursday, December 8, 2011

In the typical culinary classroom, students go through their paces slicing, dicing, butchering and baking. If they mix a martini it will probably be to relax after all the hard work.

But at Johnson & Wales, a university based in Providence, R.I., that has campuses in other states and a world-class program for degrees in the culinary arts, students mix martinis (and other drinks) for credit.

About a year and a half ago, the university opened a state-of-the-art beverage laboratory with 20 professional-style bartending stations, including sinks, and a working microbrewery, all in the sleek new Cuisinart Center for Culinary Excellence, on its waterfront campus.

Other professional culinary schools offer wine studies or classes in spirits and cocktails, but this new lab sets Johnson & Wales apart. Last year more than 200 students washed glassware, made ice, concocted standard drinks and created their own in the lab. Beverage courses are required for culinary students starting in the freshman year of a four-year program. Students studying hotel and restaurant management can also take them, and even some in the business school sign up.

Read more »