It’s one thing to be a good home cook, but how many of us feel comfortable making a great cocktail? For former Food & Wine Editor in Chief Dana Cowin, martinis and other gin cocktails were at the top of the list of techniques she’d like to master, so we teamed her up with ICE Director of Beverage Studies Anthony Caporale.

From shaking to stirring, to handling a jigger and which cubes to choose, Anthony walks Dana through martini basics. From there, the pair switches up Dana’s standard gin & tonic with modern twists on gin cocktail classics.

Click here for a full list of upcoming beverage studies classes at ICE.

By Carly DeFilippo

In ICE’s Culinary Management program, students learn key aspects of the bar business, including how to prevent bar theft or how overly generous bartenders affect your bottom line. Yet many students have never actually worked behind the bar. Each year, the annual Calvados cocktail competition gives these enterprising students an opportunity to train in mixology and challenge their palates. Competing alongside New York’s top bartenders, students have the chance to test drinks from the best in the business. Better yet, the winner of the New York student contest is given the chance to compete in the brand’s international cocktail competition in France. We sat down with this year’s winner, Ilyse Fishman, to learn what inspired her culinary career path and what crafting cocktails first-hand has taught her about the business.


What motivated your decision to enroll at ICE?

Before I enrolled at ICE, I was actually a corporate lawyer at a large Manhattan law firm. I’ve always been interested in food and restaurants and, whenever I could, I focused my papers in law school about food and restaurant legislation. I would take breaks by reading every food-related blog or book I could get my hands on. So after interning for a restaurateur in North Carolina (just nominated an Outstanding Restaurateur finalist by the James Beard Foundation!) while earning a Law and Entrepreneurship degree, I realized that I just might be able to make this passion a full time career. I began to work at Per Se, where I currently spend my time while not in class at ICE.

As far as why I chose ICE, the Culinary Management program was the best program offered in New York City for my particular interests and needs. After completing the program, I feel confident I will have the background I need in order to reach my culinary goal: opening a restaurant of my own in Washington, D.C. 

What were you hoping to learn by participating in the Calvados competition?

I’ve always appreciated the craftsmanship that goes into craft cocktails and thought that the Calvados competition could be a great chance to learn a few pointers in order to make better drinks myself. I figured that I had nothing to lose by submitting a recipe to the competition! For all of us who participated, ICE Instructor Anthony Caporale has been a fantastic mentor and did an excellent job preparing us for the competition. He ran two group sessions to help us buff up our technical skills and improve our presentations. He also took the time to answer all our questions and was there every step of the way through the competition.


What was the inspiration for your drink?

Barney Stinson, the character played by Neil Patrick Harris on the television show How I Met Your Mother. Our instructions were to identify someone you think embodies the masculine or feminine ideal and then create a drink inspired by that person. I wanted to have fun with this project and thought that Barney could be a great example of a masculine ideal. At first impression, Barney appears to be a simple, one-dimensional guy who enjoys suits, cigars, laser tag, womanizing, magic and accepting challenges from his friends. As the show progresses, however, Barney reveals a bit more complexity and demonstrates that he has a softer side. The “Wait For It” similarly reveals its complexity the longer you sit with the drink and allow it to open up. Initially, you are likely to identify orange and floral notes from the orange twist and Grand Marnier. As the drink sits, however, the apple from the Calvados comes through. Then, the baking spices from the Carpano Antica, whiskey barrel bitters and clove garnish become apparent. This drink is ultimately a variation on a Manhattan, which felt appropriate as New York City plays a prominent role in How I Met Your Mother.

How was competing in France different than in New York? 

The competition in France literally took place on a much bigger stage, complete with two hosts who interviewed the participants, bright lights, several cameramen, a large audience and a photo shoot of our cocktails.Traveling to the competition with so many ingredients also created logistical challenges, but gave me the chance to improvise and improve with Anthony’s help. We also had a practical exam as part of the competition in France, which tested our knowledge about Calvados. Then there was the language barrier to account for, as many of the organizers and participants spoke exclusively French.

Additionally, I loved the tour of the Calvados distillery and all of the opportunities that we had to interact with Calvados producers and representatives. The ability to conduct a side-by-side taste comparison of a wide array of Calvados gave me a much better understanding of how age and terroir affect its flavor profile, and the opportunity to direct my questions toward the very people who produced that Calvados gave me unique insight into what each brand seeks to achieve.

More generally, I was surprised to learn that the European palate tends to prefer cocktails that are much sweeter than those to which we are accustomed. In the US, we use bitters and acidic fruit juices to create what we consider a more “balanced” flavor profile. In France, many of the winning cocktails in the competition were exceptionally sweet by our standards. So, ironically, while Americans may eat sweeter foods than our European counterparts, our cocktails are decidedly more bitter.


Ilyse and Anthony Caporale with renowned New York bartender Pamela Wiznitzer.

What has this competition experience, in combination with your ICE education, taught you in regards to your future career?

There are so many wonderfully talented and passionate people in this industry to learn from. You never know who you will meet and what unique experience or perspective they will offer. As a future restaurant owner and operator, both ICE and the competition experience have also taught me the importance of being flexible, expecting the unexpected—and above all else, to have fun with it! Every challenge presented is a potential opportunity.

Wait For It…


  • 2 oz Calvados
  • 1/2 oz Carpano Antica
  • 1/4 oz Dolin Blanc
  • 1/4 Grand Marnier
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters
  • 1 orange twist
  • 1 orange twist studded with 3 Cloves
  • Ice


  1. Fill shaker 2/3 full with ice.
  2. Pour the Calvados, Carpano Antica, Dolin Blanc, Grand Marnier and Whiskey Barrel-Aged bitters into the shaker.
  3. Stir.
  4. Strain into a rocks glass.
  5. Rim the glass with an orange twist.
  6. Garnish with a 3 clove studded orange twist.


By Grace Reynolds

It’s been a long winter, and most of us have lost our enthusiasm for the snow. To make the last stretch before spring a little more bearable, we asked ICE Chef Instructor Jenny McCoy to share some of her signature snow cocktail recipes. Armed with these recipes, you might actually find yourself eager for the next snowfall.


Courtesy of

Cold Toddy

Serves 4


  • 4 tablespoons mild honey
  • 4 tablespoons hot water
  • 1/2 cup bourbon, chilled
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, frozen
  • 2 cups snow
  • 4 cinnamon sticks


  1. Place 1 cinnamon stick in each of four glasses. Pour 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon hot water in each of the glasses, and stir with cinnamon stick until dissolved.
  2. Combine bourbon and lemon juice and stir to combine and divide among glasses. Top with snow and stir with cinnamon stick just to combine. Serve immediately.


Easy Margarita

Serves 4


  • Kosher salt, for rimming glass
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, frozen
  • 1 cup tequila blanco (100% agave silver), chilled
  • 1/4 cup Cointreau, chilled
  • 4 cup snow
  • 4 Lime wedges, to garnish


  • Dip rim of 4 glasses in water, then dip in salt to rim. Stir lime juice, tequila, and Cointreau in glass top with snow, and stir just to combine. Divide among glasses, garnish with lime wedge, and serve immediately.


Strawberry-Mint Daquiri

Serves 4


  • 20 large frozen strawberries
  • 2 large sprig mint, stem removed
  • 2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice, frozen
  • 8 ounces light rum, chilled
  • 3 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 4 cups snow
  • Mint sprig to garnish


  • Combine strawberries, mint leaves, lime juice, rum, and sugar in blender and puree until slushy. Pour into large glass, top with snow, and stir just to combine. Divide among 4 glasses, garnish with mint sprig, Serve immediately.


Pina Colada

Serves 4


  • 2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
  • 3/4 cup cream of coconut, chilled
  • 1 cup light rum, chilled
  • 4 cups snow
  • 4 fresh pineapple spears, for garnish


  • Combine pineapple, cream of coconut, rum, and sugar in blender and puree until slushy. Pour into 4 large glasses, top with snow, and stir just to combine. Garnish with pineapple spear and serve immediately.


By Anthony Caporale, School of Culinary Management

The average person can survive about three weeks without food. That same person will die after only three days without water. Our nomadic ancestors might easily have found themselves farther than a three-day trek from the nearest water source. Even today, many people in developing countries must walk an average of almost one hour a day to bring home fresh water.

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A keen sense of thirst is critical for our survival. This fact, which we all intuitively know, but rarely consider, leads directly to my Beverage Rule of Seven: since we can survive seven times longer without food than without water, beverage service needs to be seven times faster than food service to feel equivalent. For example, a 30-minute wait for food—which will seem interminable to a hungry diner—is equally distressing as a 4-minute wait for drinks. Ironically, with the advent of the mixology movement, our industry seems to have lost sight of just how large drinking looms in our subconscious.

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My job regularly takes me into the best bars in the world, and while I’m consistently impressed with the cocktails, I’m almost always frustrated by the service times. I recently visited three of New York City’s top cocktail bars one evening (I won’t name names, but all of them were listed in the upper half of The World’s 50 Best Bars), and not once did I receive my drink in less than ten minutes after I placed the order. In food time, that’s equivalent to waiting 70 minutes for your meal. Had I been dining, I’d have been out the door long before then—doubtless followed by the Chef de Cuisine with a fresh boot print on his or her derrière.

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I tell every new bartender I train what many veteran mixologists seem to have forgotten: bartending is not about making drinks, it’s about serving drinks. All good restaurants have target service times for each course. Fifteen to twenty minutes is common for entrées, and appetizer times are usually under ten minutes. Applying my Beverage Rule of Seven gives a target beverage service time of two to three minutes, which feels comfortable to most guests. Making a great cocktail doesn’t justify pushing that service time to eight, ten, or sometimes even fifteen minutes. Too often, the focus today is on the cocktail and not the guest.

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Drink recipes need to be created for cocktail menus, not resumes. The best chefs know that even the most sublime dish isn’t worth the menu paper it’s printed on if it can’t be executed in a reasonable time (and I’m talking under real-world conditions, not when there’s only one order in queue). You have to be able to deliver quickly when you’re four-deep and just skirting the weeds, otherwise you’re not making money. Mixologists need to relearn that lesson. No matter how good your cocktail may be, if you can’t consistently put it in the guest’s hands within three minutes, the recipe isn’t finished.

Last night, five ICE students competed head-to-head in the 17th Annual Calvados Nouvelle Vogue International Trophies. Hailing from the Culinary and Hospitality Management programs, the students were given the unique opportunity to train with Anthony Caporale, renown beverage expert and ICE Mixologist and Beverage Instructor.

Craig Joseph, Carol Arciniegas, Anthony Caporale, Edward Dickman, Anthony Causi and Ellen Richards

Craig Joseph, Carol Arciniegas, Anthony Caporale, Edward Dickman, Anthony Causi and Ellen Richards

The competition was held at the Intercontinental New York Hotel’s Barclay Bar, the first Calvados bar in the country, boasting more than thirty types of this traditional French brandy. From cream to chocolate, thai basil to jalapenos, the range of cocktails presented by the students truly demonstrated the spirit’s fruit-driven versatility.

Professionals from the New York Chapter of the US Bartenders’ Guild competed alongside the students, vying for the chance to compete in the Calvados Cocktail finals this April in Normandy, France.

Craig Joseph strains his ginger-inspired Calvados cocktail.

Craig Joseph pours his winning Calvados cocktail.

Culinary Management student Craig Joseph took home the prize with “The Normandy”. We look forward to seeing Craig at the finals in France and congratulate all the competitors on their impressive bartending skills!

"The Normandy"

“The Normandy”

The Normandy

By Craig Joseph

  1. In a mixing glass, muddle:
    2 pieces of fresh peeled Ginger
    1 strip of fresh Orange Zest
    3.5 cl Sweetened Fresh Lemon Juice
    1.5 cl Cherry Bitters
    0.1 cl Cinnamon (powdered)
  2. Fill mixing glass with ice and add 6 cl Calvados.
  3. Shake until the tin is frosted.
  4. Double-strain into a chilled martini glass.
  5. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and peeled ginger slice.


By Hillery Wheeler

Anthony Caporale

I’m the type of New Yorker who prides herself on her cocktail knowledge. If you’re looking for a $30 “apple-tini”, I’m not your girl, but when you want a proper martini or require fresh lime juice in your gimlet, I know just the spot. So I was humbled and surprised to attend a holiday mixology class – “Nogs, Flips and Syllabubs” – where I only recognized the name of one of the three drinks.

Apparently, I’m not the only syllabub novice. According to our instructor, Anthony Caporale, these frothy delights have fallen out of favor over the last century. When you learn their origin (the foam traditionally came from adding warm milk – straight from the cow’s udder – to a drink) it should be no surprise that that our sanitation, homogenization and pasteurization obsessed society got a little queasy over creamy cocktails. However, in the today’s mixology movement, nogs, flips and syllabubs are making a comeback.

Frothing egg whites and mixing up some yolks.

Frothing egg whites and “flipping” some yolks.

As with most recipes involving raw protein, here there is an implicit safety plan. The sanitizing agent for the egg is the alcohol itself, which kills any lingering bacteria, making that creamy Sherry Syllabub more than safe to drink. With the frothy consistency of a milkshake, these drinks (despite being associated with cozy winter nights) are typically served cold. That is, unless it’s a “flip”. Much to Caporale’s chagrin, no bars seem to be making flips the traditional way, which is to insert a hot poker fresh directly into a syllabub, causing it to froth so aggressively that it ‘flips’ over the side of the glass.

Anyone who’s hand-beaten egg whites knows modernity has its advantages, but – with a dash of Caporale’s creativity – improving on the past might be the best way to discover a new drink. Cheers!

Maker’s Mark Egg Nog

By Anthony Caporale, as featured on Art of the Drink


12 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 liter Maker’s Mark Bourbon
1 pint heavy cream (very cold)
1 pint milk
fresh nutmeg


1) Separate egg whites and yolks into separate bowls.
2) Beat whites to soft peaks.
3) Beat yolks until smooth.
4) Add sugar to yolks and beat until pale yellow.
5) Add 1/2 liter bourbon.
6) Fold egg whites into mixture.
7) In a separate bowl, pour heavy cream and beat to soft peaks.
8) Fold cream into egg mixture.
9) Add pint of milk, stir well to combine.
10) Transfer to punch bowl and garnish with freshly-grated nutmeg.

Have you ever spent the holidays with Galliano, Strega, or Fernet-Branca? I was fortunate enough to have a few drinks with them during ICE’s Italian Holiday Cocktail Party recreational class led by A.J. Rathbun. No, they’re not European philosophers, they’re Italian liqueurs.

A.J., an award-winning food and entertainment writer and poet who often travels in Italy, briefed us with a little background information on Italian liqueurs. Typically semi-bitter and high in alcohol content, the liqueurs are often mixed with other spirits to make refreshing cocktails.

When it was time to mix drinks, we began the evening by making a Sbagliato, a spin on the classic Negroni. It is made with equal parts sweet vermouth and Campari, and topped-off with sparkling wine (A.J. recommends Prosecco, as it’s slightly sweeter than Cava or Champagne) and a slice of orange for garnish. More…

The holidays are just around the corner and for me, that means it’s time to obsessively plan festive get-togethers. It’s that time of year when you can never have enough homemade chicken stock and bourbon in the freezer. I consider myself a great cook, but when it comes to alcohol, a gin and tonic is about as creative as I get. I took Anthony Caporale’s Culinary Mixology recreational class last week hoping to add a new trick to my repertoire of party ideas. Now, I’ll be adding something new to my holiday soirées — culinary cocktails.

So what exactly is culinary mixology? It’s the incorporation of herbs, spices, and vegetables into cocktails. After we got a feel for cocktail making with classic culinary cocktails like Bloody Marys and Mint Juleps, we got a little more adventurous with a few goodies from the fridge. Red bell pepper added an amazing kick to a mojito. We charred thyme on a grill pan to add a hint of smokiness to a limoncello and gin cocktail. After hollowing-out a massive pumpkin, we filled it with an apple rum punch — the longer the autumn beverage sits in the pumpkin punch bowl, the more the pumpkin’s flavor infuses the punch. Anthony even showed us how to infuse bourbon with smoky bacon, then added maple syrup and bitters to make PDT’s famous Bacon-Infused Old Fashioned. More…

Aperitivo Hour is the time in Italy before dinner when restaurants and bars offer a spread of small bites like cheese, meats, olives and sometimes even small pizzas and bruschetta for customers to nosh on. The spread is totally free for anyone who orders a drink.

Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting in on the Aperitivo Hour class with Joe Campanale, beverage director and co-owner of West Village favorites dell’anima, L’Artusi and Anfora. When Joe was speaking about aperitivo, I couldn’t help but relate it to our American tradition of happy hour. We flock to local bars to drink a few beers while they’re cheap, then end up eating greasy bar food to calm our stomachs. If you ask me, that’s not very attractive. I think we could all learn a few things from Italian traditions.

The key to the perfect aperitivo beverage is that it is meant be light and refreshing so it doesn’t fill you up or get you too tipsy before dinner. These drinks are typically made with Italian semi-bitter spirits such as Campari, Aperol and Cynar. Each of these three spirits has a distinct flavor and when carefully mixed, they make the perfect refreshing cocktail. Plus, it certainly doesn’t hurt when it’s paired with free food.

To see all of the wine and beverage classes ICE has to offer, check out our selection of recreational culinary classes. And if you want to kick the age-old happy hour habit, stop by Anfora in the West Village for their aperitivo on Monday nights!

ICE’s Culinary Management Instructors are seasoned industry professionals who are still active in the industry, working on their own projects while teaching classes at ICE. With such a wide range of experience between them, we decided to ask Julia Heyer and Vin McCann to take a closer look at some of the trends and culinary businesses we keep hearing so much about. In this installment, they take on the world of “mixology.”

Julia Heyer
I recently had the best Pina Colada I’d had since one in a Tiki Bar in Hawaii in 1996. There were more eclectic options on the sizeable cocktail list, and Guiseppe, the man behind the bar kindly explained them without the snooty pretentiousness one is so often assailed by in bars with these days. As we were pondering between classics such as a Zombie (one per guest…) and unusual tropical concoctions, my friend B. asked: “So, do you have a mixologist that created some of these drinks for you?” Guiseppe’s face turned stony — very much like the Easter Island figure jar holding the fuzzy pink flamingo drink stirrers. “We are Bartenders,” he said (the voice implied a capital B). I immediately took a shine to him.

You cannot open a food-related publication nowadays without being assaulted by some hyped story about a mixologist — armed with handlebar mustaches, tattoos, a pipette and a love for obscure bitters and mainstream liquors — protruding the myth that they can change how you feel through the amazing beverages they, and only they concoct. Note to mixologists: It is the liquor, not the bartender that tends to do that, unless you add unusual conversational skills and a nice dose of eye candy to the mix.

Vin McCann
Julia, we actually agree. How sharp can one’s taste buds be on the second drink, never mind the third? We drink to relax, socialize and slip into a slightly altered state of consciousness. Liquor and hospitality nurture the effort. Historically, good bartenders, aside from making drinks, served those purposes quite well. They were not the center of attention but stirred the social mix on the other side of the bar. They joked, recounted the ball scores, commented on the news, listened to personal sagas and shepherded their guests to quiet enjoyment. In my mind, there’s a Hall of Fame for my favorite Bartenders, but the list might take up the balance of this post. Suffice it to say, not one was a mixologist.

It sounds like Guiseppe’s a throwback. He appears to want nothing to do with the ever-increasing hype. It’s a cocktail for Pete’s sake! It may be possible that some career bartenders suffered intense cases of “chef envy” and launched the “mixology” movement. Why shouldn’t they jump on the bloviator bandwagon? They just want a piece of the action. What are tips compared to feature pieces in the Times, and the promise of a book contract? Let the house made artisanal vermouth flow! More…

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