Marie Perriello knows her way around a bar. Over the last 10 years, she's bartended at a private golf club and a high-volume nightclub, as well as cutting-edge restaurants Nine on Nine and Meat & Potatoes. She's travelled to New York and Paris to hone her craft, and has worked with Pittsburgh bars on creating drink menus.
Now, she's created Stir Society, an in-home consultation business that can teach you how to craft cocktails as desirable as any you'll find in Pittsburgh.
"I really wanted to teach people about [mixing cocktails]," she says. "It's really fun, and I'd love more people to do this."
The first step is a one-on-one consultation. Perriello says that since the world of cocktails is so broad, it's important to determine what flavors you enjoy most. She'll also examine your kitchen for everyday items — like jams and jellies — that can be infused with herbs and made into flavor-packed syrups.
Each class is built around four cocktails custom-fit to a client's skill level. She'll teach budding mixologists straightforward techniques, like how to stir a martini or shake and strain a daiquiri. Longer, in-depth sessions are available for those with a firm grasp of the basics. Classes start at $35 per person for 90 minutes, with cost, class length and quality of spirit increasing from there.
Perriello sees in-home cocktail preparation as a logical next step in the culinary revolution. She even looks to The Flavor Bible, a book popular with chefs, when she creates new cocktails. "It's all about balancing flavors," she says. "Anything you can put into a dish, you can also put into a cocktail."
Given her culinary focus, it's no surprise that her interest in teaching mixology circles back to one of Perriello's childhood memories: the iconic PBS cooking show, Yan Can Cook.
So to borrow from the show's catchphrase "If Yan can cook, so can you" ... if you can drink, Marie can make a mixologist of you.
For more, see www.facebook.com/StirSocietyPgh.