Q: Someone gave me a cocktail shaker recently, but I have no idea what to do with it. Is there anyone who can teach me?
A: Nicholas Hernandez of Suba (109 Ludlow Street; 212-982-5714, ext. 1) hosts a monthly Cocktail Camp for wannabe mixologists. The “bar chef”—as he calls himself—worked at Daniel and Bouley and claims to have invented the Nicotini, a mix of Stoli vanilla, Kahlúa, and tobacco tea aimed at smoking-ban sufferers. His drink philosophy is down-to-earth. “I always say there are three ways to do everything: the right way, the wrong way, and the way real bartenders would do it,” he says. “You want high quality, but you don’t want to take fifteen minutes to make a drink.” Each lesson begins with a theme: Next time, Saturday, April 17, from 5 to 6 p.m. ($40), it’s sangrías and punches. Students (ten to a class) are a mix of laymen and industry professionals. One pub bartender with fifteen years’ experience pouring beers came to camp when his new job required him to mix cocktails he’d never heard of. After a crash course in apple martinis and Cosmos, says Hernandez, “he’s doing really well now.”