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Roosevelt Room’s Master Class Series Offers Spirits Education

Fun and boozy seminars teach everything you need to know about your favorite alcohol

The Roosevelt Room, a swanky downtown bar that blends industrial-chic architecture with art deco stylings, is now serving up more than cool cocktails. The Austin bar has started offering once-a-month educational seminars that cover everything from bartending basics and cocktail creation to spirits production, history and tasting methods. Called The Roosevelt Room Master Class Series, the hands-on, instructive courses are a fun way to learn more about your favorite alcohol.

Tribeza attended The Roosevelt Room’s Agave Spirits 101 Class to experience one of the boozy seminars. Hosted by Dennis Gobis and Justin Lavenue, co-owners of the bar, the course took place inside The Roosevelt Room, with attendees seated at candle-lit tables.

The Lonesome Dove cocktail. Photo by Eric Medsker.

The class began, naturally, with a drink. Guests were served one of the bar’s signature tequila cocktails, a Paloma variation called “Lonesome Dove.”

Then Gobis and Lavenue started their agave lesson. The two spirits experts spoke with confidence and humor while leading a slideshow presentation, answering questions from the audience and holding up bottles from the bar as examples.

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Photo by Marc Swendner.

The class covered a wide range of topics in its two-and-a-half-hour run time, including the historical importance of agave in ancient Mexican culture, an analysis on the leading types of agave spirits (tequila, mezcal, bacanora, raicilla), production techniques and distillation, and how Mexico’s unique landscape and environmental factors help shape the taste of different agave spirits.

“Mezcal is probably closest to wine, in that you’re going to get the expression of terroir, the recognizable differences from the land,” Gobis explained to the audience.

Master Class guests were also treated to margaritas. Photo by Eric Medsker.

During a short intermission, guests were served margaritas and a charcuterie and cheese plate with accompaniments. The session resumed with a discussion on how to properly identify the nuances of agave, culminating in a blind tasting of 10 different agave spirits. Gobis and Lavenue led the class through each example, identifying the flavor characteristics and explaining the factors that made each spirit taste so distinct.

Next month, the Roosevelt Room’s Master Class Series covers gin and juniper spirits. A class on rum and cane spirits takes place in July. Tickets are $85 per person.