Pour Like a Pro: Mixology Class at the Sofitel Hotel in Chicago

Words by:

Nyssa P. Chopra

As Maid of Honor in my sister’s wedding last year, it was my duty to plan her Bachelorette Party weekend. She had friends flying in from both coasts, so I figured Chicago would be the best option, as it was the midway point (relatively) and she hadn’t been there before. While I loved the whole spa idea (believe me, I’ll pounce on every spa opportunity I can get), I wanted to plan something slightly different. The weekend was jam-packed with club nights, salsa lessons, a mixology course, a Parisian-themed brunch, and Chicago’s fine dining circuit, but the one event that everyone couldn’t stop raving about was the mixology lessons at Le Bar at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower Hotel. We loved everything about it.


Sofitel Chicago Water Tower Hotel (Photo Credit: tripadvisor.com)

When I sat down to research the various mixology courses in Chicago that would accomodate 12 ladies on a weekend, Sofitel was the first link that popped up. After frequent and attentive correspondence with Brian Griffin, the Le Bar Manager, it was a done deal. I have to give him extra props for accommodating the ridiculous number of time and date changes I made. Anyone who has ever planned a Bachelorette Party weekend knows how big of a pain in the a$$ it is to coordinate with 12 ladies with different, but all insanely busy schedules. Some dropping out last minute, some not arriving on time, some having last minute emergencies, you name it. It was all there. Nightmare? Uh-huh. But he took it like champ and adjusted the prices and schedule accordingly with my every request.

The hotel is conveniently nestled in the Gold Coast neighborhood on East Chestnut Street, and was just a short walk away from our hotel on Michigan Avenue. We arrived just before 3p and everything was already laid out for us in the Marseille Foyer, where our lessons took place. Throughout the next 2 hours, Brian took us through the creation of 6 utterly delicious classic cocktails, providing all the necessary ingredients and tools and teaching us the basic techniques for each. In between each cocktail, carefully selected appetizers were prepared by the kitchen to complement our homemade concoctions perfectly. I loved that the lessons were hands-on and interactive and that he accommodated our requests for different drinks instead of sticking to what he had originally planned. Our drink menu included mojitos, margaritas, sunrise mimosas, dark and stormys, bee’s knees, and salted caramel chocolate martinis, and our food menu included bacon and eggs, baby beet salad, smoked salmon and caviar, smoked tomato and goat cheese dumplings, artichoke croquettes, and chocolate mousse. So so good! Thankfully the event was strictly private, because as our cocktail consumption increased, our personalities became ever more animated. We had a fabulous time and some pretty epic memories to cherish from the event. 😉

Marseille Foyer -- Cocktail, Bar View, Evening

Marseille Foyer (it was emptied out for our class)

All the necessary ingredients :)

All the necessary ingredients 🙂


Sunrise mimosa


Bacon and eggs


Baby beet salad


Smoked salmon and caviar

Salted caramel chocolate martini

Salted caramel chocolate martini

At the very end, as a souvenir, we were all given our very own mixology kit to take home, replete with slotted spoons, shakers, recipes, and strainers.

The price is $80/person, including gratuity and tax, which is a great deal for what you get.

Anyone looking for a slightly off-the-beaten-path itinerary while in Chicago, I highly recommend the mixology lessons at the Sofitel. That goes for both locals and travelers.

*We visited in April of 2012.


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