Food & Drink | July 9, 2020 10:54 am

Flaviar's Virtual “School of Spirits” Will Turn You Into Booze Wiz in No Time

During lockdown, Flaviar has opened up its online school to non-members for free

Prof. Dog Dogson
A message from Professor Dog Dogson from Flaviar's School of Spirits. (Flaviar)

During the lockdown, we’ve been doing everything from baking banana bread to learning how to tie-dye to making a pasta dish that originated in Italian brothels to help pass the time. And nearly all of us are drinking — sometimes starting with a breakfast cocktail from the 1930s.

To encourage people to indulge in a little education while they imbibe, subscription spirits service Flaviar has opened up its School of Spirits to non-members for free during the quarantine. Featuring eight lessons on varieties of alcohol including bourbon, gin and Japanese whisky, the do-it-at-your-own-pace course can be completed in a single sitting or over the span of a few days or weeks.

While there’s no tangible reward for finishing the School of Spirts aside from a certificate you can print at home, graduates will refine their knowledge of the major spirits categories while picking up some fun cocktail-party trivia. Did you know that the first westerners to taste Japanese whisky were American soldiers on shore leave in Hakodate in September 1918? Or that tequila actually goes bad over time due to oxidation and evaporation? Now you do.

There’s also a sense of satisfaction in being able to read up on a specific type of spirit while drinking it or, failing that, purchasing it at the end of a lesson, which Flaviar’s platform makes it easy to do.

According to Flaviar co-founder Grisa Soba, the School of Spirits is just a logical extension of the company’s original mission of helping people try more new things more often.

“Knowledge is power,” Soba tells InsideHook. “The School of Spirits was created for our members to arm them with info on different spirits, their history and how they’re made. By knowing what they’re drinking, they can better understand and articulate what they like and why. When COVID-19 struck and people were stuck at home, we decided to make it free and give open access to everyone. After all, not everyone is into baking sourdough, so why not give them a chance to learn more about spirits?”

Flaviar’s School of Spirits. (Flaviar)
(Flaviar)

To find more spirits you enjoy, it’s crucial to be informed about what you are drinking at a given time, according to Soba.

“Without knowing what you are drinking, you either like or dislike a spirit. That doesn’t really help you make a better choice next time and save you from wasting your hard-earned cash on stuff that’s not up your street,” he says. “But if you know why a specific style of spirit is not your bag, and what categories really flip your lid, you can spend more time drinking the stuff you love and have the confidence to explore beyond the same old. Variety is the spice of life after all. [Graduates should] be better able to explain what they like when we’re finally able to socialize again and they’re next offered a drink at a friend’s place or in a bar.”

It was also important for Soba and his team to offer advice on the best practices for doing an at-home spirit tastings like a pro, which is why there’s a teaching segment on “How to Taste Spirits” included in the course.

“Comparative tasting is the best way to explore your palate and find something new and perhaps unexpected that you’ll love,” Soba says. “We know loads of people like the idea of doing a tasting but are stuck on how to actually go about it. This lesson helps you organize an impressive tasting in a way that will be a lot of fun and your mates will enjoy. Liquid learning is the best kind of learning. and School of Spirits is definitely here to help people enjoy their own tastings more.”

Cheers to that.

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