I have recently had the pleasure of attending two very different tasting events and also hosting my own tasting event. The first was a free tasting provided by B Nektar meadery at a local bar. The second was a paid tasting run by Pierre Ferrand cognac. My own tasting was as part of the holiday celebrations of Madison’s Bricks Theatre company.
The first was an exuberant free-for-all of mead lovers in a packed bar. The other was a highly structured, educational tour. The Bricksmas theatre event was a gathering of theatre lovers who also happened to be interested in finding out about mead.
I learned a number of interesting things from all these events and here’s what how I’d summarize that:
– make sure you have the right glassware
– be enthusiastic about talking to people who are interested in the beverages you make
– provide some education on the product. Not everyone knows about mead (or cognac)
– make sure you provide the best possible progression of beverages – from dry to sweet, from less complex to more complex
– have an array of options to serve a variety of palettes and interests
– worry too much about providing anything other than the beverage of choice, such as cheese, veggies or other snacks. Most people are there for the drinks.
– try to serve too many people at once
– hesitate to invite people to your table if they are hovering. Some people need an invitation to feel welcomed to enjoy free tastes of good drinks.
Relax, don’t worry… but still think about the little things.