At the Hotel Bel-Air in Beverly Hills, head bartender Allen Allam will teach you secrets of the Japanese hard-shake method for mixing bespoke cocktails. During an hour-long class in the lustrous bar lounge, learn the recipe for such signature drinks as Dragon's Fire and Monroe's Passion, a potent fusion of ginger juice, fresh passion fruit puree, Thai chili syrup and Barcardi 151 rum. (Actress Marilyn Monroe was a regular at the Bel-Air.) Other tricks of the bar trade are also revealed. Allam demonstrates techniques for stirring and garnish cutting, as well as how to employ essential barware like slow-frozen Clinebell ice, stainless steel muddlers and gold-plated strainers. Beverage director Rob Harpest provides colorful cocktail history commentary as Allam pours. Afterwards, slip into one of the lounge's banquettes under larger-than-life celebrity portraits to further your liquid research. From $100 per person, minimum six per class, 14-day advance reservation required.
Recipe: Dragon's Fire
1 1/2 oz. Herradura Reposado tequila
1/2 oz. Triple Sec
1/4 oz. grapefruit juice
3/4 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
3-4 slices jalapeño
Muddle jalapeño slices in a mixing glass. Add with remaining ingredients to a cocktail shaker, then pour in ice, shake and strain into martini glass. Garnish with a basil leaf.
Shane Mitchell is Travel + Leisure's special correspondent.