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Learning to mix the perfect drink

University of Mixology prepares students for careers in bartending.

Posted: April 24, 2008 4:52 p.m.
Updated: June 25, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Ramon Delgado teaches a class at Richard G's University of mixology in Canyon Country.

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For Richard Gilroy, mixing the perfect drink is similar to a gourmet chef preparing a decadent meal.

"It's very scientific," said Gilroy, who is more commonly known as Richard G. The mixologist with three decades of experience sees making a drink as a skillful process that involves a proper order and the correct temperature of every ingredient.

"These are chemicals," he said, explaining that the alcohol-based ingredients will diffuse to change the
drink's flavor when mixed correctly.

The result: One tasty drink to be enjoyed.

It's that scientific thinking that Richard G applies to the University of Mixology, a bartending school in
Canyon Country.

The school
Although the university, which is part of the National Bartender's School system, had been established in
Canyon Country for half a dozen years, Richard G took over the location a little more than a year ago to
update its look and curriculum.

Now the professional school emanates a lounge-like atmosphere, complete with deep purple and black
curtains and decorations.

Before taking control of the Canyon Country school, the trained mixologist oversaw a Sherman Oaks
bartending school.

Since then, Richard G believes he has "elevated" not only the school, but bartending as a whole through its
detailed training program, which run at around $800.

The eight core lessons taught by four instructors cover hundreds of drink recipes, differences between
liquors, customer service skills and even drink slang.

"It's very comprehensive, very in-depth," he said. Students are also expected to practice their skills as
everyone is required to complete a certain number of hours in the university's bar.

Once ready, students are put to the test through a written and speed examination before earning their
certification as a mixologist.

While the school teaches students how to make alcoholic drinks, the courses do not use actual
alcohol.

Instead, Richard G explained that instructors and students use water mixed with food coloring to
represent various drinks that are poured from actual bottles.

Students and teachers
While bartending may seem like a trade for a specific population, Richard G said students have ranged from 18-year-olds to even an 86-year-old man who wanted to learn flair bartending.

Richard G's students cover all types of careers including doctors, priests, nurses and housewives who
want to learn bartending skills to apply to their own parties.

"It's not only for the monetary gain, it's very social," he said.

Ryan Deguzman has been a student at the university for a month. Although he has experience in the restaurant business, Deguzman said he wanted to learn more about bartending.

"I thought it was just going to be a walk in the park," he said. However, Deguzman said the school showed him that bartending is a "very elaborate process."

He now realizes the responsibilities bartenders have as the job requires a knowledge of drinks and liquors.
Just like Deguzman, Brian Dunn, a former student, said his schooling opened him up to the complex world of bartending.

"You really get a comprehensive idea of the history of drinks and service," he said, noting that the school
was also focused on learning liquor laws, as well.

Man behind the school
But for Richard G, bartending has simply become a part of him. The Acton resident said he has been part owner and owner of four establishments, including a trendy celebrity hot spot, a sports bar, a fine dining
restaurant and even a family restaurant that included a bar.

"I didn't have a home life in those days," he said. "That was my marriage."

Richard G said he got into bartending after his music career, which ran for 10 years and took him all over
the world.

"I wanted to learn the trade because it was social," he said, adding that he had a natural talent for
mixing drinks and socializing.|

He soon found himself in bartending school, picking up the same certification he now passes on to his
students.A

Even though Richard G has gained an in-depth understanding of the trade, he still finds himself in
an industry that remains popular.

"The trade reinvents itself all the time," he said.

For more about the University of Mixology, located at 18348 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country, call
(661) 250-8200.

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