Shake, Roll and Muddle: Evening at the National Bartenders and Casino School in Fort Myers, Fla.

Mixing it Up at National Bartenders and Casino School, Fort Myers, Fla.opens IMAGE file
Mixing it Up at National Bartenders and Casino School, Fort Myers, Fla.

On a recent Saturday night I did what most single gals do, I hit the bar. However, rather than drinking I was behind the bar learning how to properly shake, roll and muddle drinks during a 90-minute class at the opens in a new windowNational Bartenders and Casino School in Fort Myers, Fla.

If I hadn’t seen a opens in a new windowGroupon offer for the class, I probably would never have thought of taking this recreational bartending class. During the session, about 15 of us learned how to make five drinks and how to host a party for about 50 people. I picked up the Groupon because I thought it would be fun to try something new and would be a great way to meet new people. I was actually surprised there were three couples, two single guys and the rest were single women. Hmm. Not what I expected but still a nice group of people.

See the beverages in the photo? No alcohol is used during the class, it’s all colored water. After all, it is a training class meaning there will be lots of practice pouring, which is an art of its own (for ladies, it’s easier to grab the bottle’s neck and pour) and mistakes will be made.

I learned how to properly make a Tom Collins, Margarita, Cosmopolitan, Appletini and Mojito. I can also make a “flag” garnish (half an orange wheel speared with a cherry), know how to use a muddler to crush mint leaves and understand why a bartender fills a glass with ice (more ice means more alcohol in proportion to mixer).

Rachel, a bartender with an electric personality, led the class and Marilyn, the school’s owner for the past 24 years, sat in and encouraged us as we mixed and shook. Both of them are terrific people and Rachel is an instructor for the bartending class that could land you a second job.

The National Bartenders and Casino School offers a 40-hour program that can be completed in two weeks, five nights a week. Bartenders make decent money, especially during “season” in a tourist destination.

Yeah, I’m thinking about.

National Bartenders and Casino School
2502 Second Street, #201
Fort Myers, Fla.
Tel: (239) 334-6300
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Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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