Published on July 9th, 2013 | by Jackie


Shaken or Stirred: Mixology Class at the Royalton Hotel


Joshua Brandenburg & Albert Pero

by Jackie Armstrong

On Saturday we attended the Shaken & Stirred mixology class at the Royalton Hotel in Midtown. The class was one in a series being offered by The Royalton, in which guests have the opportunity to mix up two of their own cocktails while learning some history and technique as well. Ours was led by Joshua Brandenburg and Albert Pero (Albie), two of the extremely talented minds behind the bar at Royalton’s lobby restaurant, Forty Four.

Class attendees were promptly greeted with a welcome cocktail which was a spin on a Nacional, made with Remy VSOP, Mount Gay rum, pineapple, lemon and apricot preserves (instead of the standard apricot brandy.) We enjoyed this while the bartenders walked us through their own personal backgrounds as well as the background of the cocktail and the spirits we would be working with.

For the first cocktail we made a Sidecar, focusing on Remy VSOP. Albie took us through the history of the brand and lots of interesting facts like the importance of soil in the taste of cognac and the differences in blends and grape variations. Joshua Brandenburg led us through creating our second cocktail, a daiquiri, using Mount Gay Black Barrel rum, simple syrup, lime and maraschino (learn more about Daiquiris here). We loved learning all about the background of the brand (like fun fact: Mount Gay is one of the oldest rum distilleries in the world). Their Black Barrel variation has some heavy bourbon profiles derived from the way it is aged, and I definitely enjoyed the flavors this brought to the daiquiri.

These and a lot of other cocktails are definitely simple enough for you to give some recipes a spin on your own at home. A few tips we picked up from the Roylaton class:

  • Don’t build your cocktails over ice. You can’t control the water content as ice starts to melt, especially if you get distracted or want to check on something!
  • Use a jigger (or at least pay attention to measurements). You would be surprised how much a spill here and there or an extra shake of something really does alter the flavor profile of your cocktail.
  • Along those lines, experiment! You may find you enjoy a little more or less of an ingredient. Try out different portions at home to taste for yourself.

The bartenders at Shaken or Stirred were entertaining, witty and most importantly to us, extremely knowledgeable. I definitely recommend future editions of the class to anyone who is looking for some solid basic cocktail knowledge that is also wrapped in a fun & interactive afternoon. For information on future class schedules beginning this fall, email

We are always looking for new go-to Midtown spots for a fabulous cocktail fix, so pretty thrilled that to add Forty Four at Royalton to the list.


Jackie is a freelance writer with a focus on food & cocktail events in NYC (and beyond). She shares all of her latest finds on her blog One Girl’s Dish. You can also follow her on Twitter at @onegirlsdish


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