Cocktail samples are served up during a Cocktail Tuesday class at Bluewater Distilling in Everett. The classes are offered once a month to teach people tricks of the trade to take home. Below, Bluewater Distilling owner, John Lundin, gives a lesson on tools used for making cocktails. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Cocktail samples are served up during a Cocktail Tuesday class at Bluewater Distilling in Everett. The classes are offered once a month to teach people tricks of the trade to take home. Below, Bluewater Distilling owner, John Lundin, gives a lesson on tools used for making cocktails. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Make a splash as a bartender at home thanks to Bluewater Distilling

Everett waterfront distillery teaches once a month classes on the art and craft of cocktails.

You won’t find a Jack and Coke on the menu at Bluewater Organic Distilling.

You won’t find Red Bull and vodka either.

Instead, you’ll find cocktails made with fresh organic ingredients and spirits from local distilleries.

It’s John Lundin’s quiet protest against the corporate, corn syrup-based food industry – and he’s working to pass that message on to the people.

“We have a very strong independent streak with what we do here,” said Lundin, the owner of Bluewater Distilling. “We feel very stubbornly that there are better ways to do things.”

Lundin shares those “better ways” with the cocktail-drinking public once a month at classes offered at the Everett distillery and restaurant. Lundin – or one of the creative geniuses behind the distillery’s signature drinks – shows attendees a simpler, fresher approach to mixing drinks.

Like a margarita, for example.

“You should never buy cheap tequila and never use a margarita mix,” Lundin said.

He recommends using fresh lime juice and a simple syrup with a splash of fresh orange juice. Then maybe go a little bolder and start substituting flavors: muddle a nectarine or add some mezcal for smoke.

In no time at all, you’ve created what Lundin describes as a very simple yet eloquent cocktail.

“I believe this palate is actually more approachable to the home bartender than people realize,” he added.

One method Lundin prefers is through infusions — flavoring spirits such as vodka or whiskey by using fruits, herbs or other ingredients.

The infusions can be made in small batches by combining the ingredients and spirits in a canning jar and leaving it in the refrigerator for a few days.

Lundin admits that infusion can be a challenging process as home bartenders discover which flavors work well together and which flavors don’t. But he encourages his classes to experiment.

“Maybe there’s a certain flavor spice that you love,” he said. “Look for different ways of capturing that and make it for yourself.”

The infusions can also be made in small batches, so people don’t have to buy big bottles that could go to waste or buy something made from artificial sweeteners that leave them feeling miserable the next day.

The Cocktail Tuesday class is offered by Bluewater Distilling the first Tuesday of every month. Each class has room for about 24 people and the lessons have gained an enthusiastic following.

Neighbors Lynn Dolan and Barb Meyers, of Marysville, thought the class would be the perfect opportunity to learn how to make drinks for their annual holiday party.

“We’d been to Bluewater before and I don’t think there’s a drink we’ve had that we didn’t like,” Meyers said. “Our goal for New Year’s Eve is to have our own bar set up with the stuff that we’ve learned to make.”

They were hooked after that first class and have taken four, including a private class on infusion.

Meyers brought along a co-worker, Corry Venoma-Weiss, who also became a fan of Cocktail Tuesday.

“They make it so it’s accessible to people who are very experienced making drinks at home to people who are just beginning,” said Venoma-Weiss of Everett. “The infusion class made me feel really brave about where to go next.”

The group said they feel encouraged to experiment with different tastes and flavors, and feel confident about making their own infused spirits.

“It’s just amazing because you think you have to buy special spirits from wherever and he’s like, ‘No, you can make them!’” Venoma-Weiss said.

“You don’t have to buy Triple Sec, you don’t have to buy grenadine. I will never buy another bottle of grenadine,” Dolan added with a laugh.

Meyers, Dolan and Venoma-Weiss appreciate Lundin’s focus on buying locally.

“He’s all about the small-town buying and that’s what’s great,” Meyers said. “It’s stay local and support your small business.”

Lundin believes large corporations are keeping people locked into a buying pattern that limits them to what he calls “garbage products.”

That’s a pattern he’s hoping to break people out of.

“Everything we do at Bluewater is out of respect for the customer,” he said. “I really believe that people shouldn’t have to be subjected to additives and chemicals and not be told what’s in their spirits.

“Home bartending becomes much more affordable because you don’t have to buy these expensive liqueurs where you’re paying for the label.”

In addition to Cocktail Tuesday, Bluewater Distilling also offers a yoga class on select Saturday mornings. YogaMosa is open to all skill levels and each $25 session ends with a cocktail and a brunch dish from the restaurant’s pastry chef.

Bluewater Distilling moved their operation to a larger space on the Everett waterfront two years ago, but began offering the classes even before they moved.

“We’ve always known that it’s really important to communicate our philosophy,” Lundin said. “The classes were always something that we knew we would be doing, especially since we built this facility to have this event space.”

Lundin hopes to make cocktails more approachable and remove the idea that the drinks are somehow elitist or snobby.

“The classes are meant to inspire,” he said. “That’s the whole goal.”

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX, poses with a production electric engine, the magni500, at the  company's new office on Seaway Boulevard on Monday, Jan. 18, 2020 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Maker of electric airplane engines gets $74M NASA grant

MagniX of Everett is one of two companies tapped to advance electric propulsion systems to power aircraft.

Employees work on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner during final assembly of the airplane at the Boeing Co. factory in Everett, Wash., on May 28, 2013. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Patrick T. Fallon.
Boeing finds faulty titanium parts in latest setback for 787

The FAA said it is in touch with Boeing over the issue and that it doesn’t affect immediate flight safety.

A Boeing 737 Max 10 prepares to take off in Seattle on June 18, 2021. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Chona Kasinger.
Boeing cash shines while 787’s factory woes weigh on results

Restarting Dreamliner deliveries that have been halted for months is key to a financial turnaround.

Everett Farmer’s Market canceled Sunday due to weather

Organizers cited a high-wind advisory. It is to reopen Oct. 31 for the final market of the season.

David Simpson (left) and Scott Murphy.
Port of Everett candidates spar over transparency

An incumbent, David Simpson, is challenged by Everett City Councilmember Scott Murphy.

FILE - In this May 26, 2020, file photo, a sign at the headquarters for the Washington state Employment Security Department is shown at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Washington state's rush to get unemployment benefits to residents who lost jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak left it vulnerable to criminals who made off with hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent claims. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Washington’s unemployment rate in September was 4.9%

Employers added 17,600 jobs last month, a 7.3% increase over August.

Rendering of the new terminal that Propeller Airports plans to build at Paine Field in Everett. The terminal, which will serve the general aviation community, will replace Castle & Cooke Aviation's existing building at the Snohomish County-owned airport. (Propeller Airports LLC)
Propeller Airports to acquire Castle & Cooke at Paine Field

Propeller, which owns the nearby passenger terminal, plans a new complex for private aviation.

With the Olympic mountains in the background, the first passenger flight by Alaska Airlines Flight 2878 departs for Portland on opening day of the Paine Field Terminal on Monday, March 4, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Alaska Airlines stalls plan for extra flights in Everett

Business has been sluggish, but the airline says it will offer 12 flights a day at Paine Field in the new year.

Hillside homes in Mukilteo are seen from the ferry line on Oct. 20. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)
Mukilteo asks for input on housing density, and it’s complicated

Here’s a guide to what voters should know about the advisory ballot measure. What does it actually do?

People hold signs in protest of the vaccine mandate after Boeing announced it would terminate workers who do not comply on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Some Boeing workers protest in Everett over vaccine mandate

The Boeing Company announced earlier this week that its workers must be vaccinated by Dec. 8.

FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, March 11, 2019, rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The number of deaths in major air crashes around the globe fell by more than half in 2019 according to a report released Wednesday Jan. 1, 2020, by the aviation consultancy To70, revealing the worst crash for the year was an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX on March 10 that lost 157 lives. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene, FILE)
Former Boeing test pilot pleads not guilty in 737 Max case

He’s the first person to be charged with a crime in connection with the Indonesia and Ethiopia crashes.

FILE - In this March 14, 2019 file photo, Ethiopian relatives of crash victims mourn at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff killing all 157 on board, near Bishoftu, south-east of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia. Relatives of some of the passengers who died in the crash will mark the two-year anniversary of the disaster on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, by seeking a reversal of government orders that let Boeing 737 Max jets fly again.  (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene, File)
Boeing pilot involved in Max testing is indicted in Texas

He’s accused of giving the FAA false information about systems that played a role in two deadly crashes.