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Sipping School

Get something more from your happy hour

Derek Brown drops knowledge on attendees

The bar can be your classroom if you let it. This summer, get more out of your happy hour by taking a spirited class at one of these spots:

In Houston, Bobby Heugel, co-owner of Anvil Bar & Refuge, holds monthly explorations on different themes such as Southern drinking culture or amari, where attendees taste spirits, learn the spirits' histories and make cocktails all in one class. Or follow the bar on Twitter for DIY cocktail recipes you can test-drive at home.

The Columbia Room, tucked away in The Passenger DC, offers classes "on all things spirituous, including the study of drinking, its culture and its craft." Derek Brown and his staff will lead you on a journey through topics ranging from broad (tequila and mezcal) to specific (French herbal liqueurs).

Get wicked smaht at Boston's No. 9 Park, where bar manager Ted Kilpatrick offers classes throughout the summer that will teach you not only about the cocktails of yesteryear but also instruct in the mystical skill of cocktail improvisation.

At bitters haven Amor y Amargo in New York, you expect to learn about bitters and amari, but classes here aren't only focused on bitters. The next class, on June 28, delves into the cocktails and cuisine of New Orleans.

For those who can't make it to a class in person, online learning opportunities abound. A monthly cocktailing community has formed around MxMo, a monthly event in which bloggers and drinkers around the country make drinks around a certain theme on a specific day and then post their recipes on the web.

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