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Over the years, cocktails have evolved from simple liquor plus mixer combos to multi-ingredient creations. While Britt and I enjoy a vodka soda as much as the next person, we also love to explore (or indulge!) in innovative craft cocktails. Often times, we’re inspired to recreate our favorites at home, but it’s hard to know where to start.

Our friend Aida from Salt+Wind is always recommending cool activities for us to try when we travel, and recently she suggested looking into a mixology course when hearing we were headed to Santa Barbara. Mixology is the science behind complex cocktail recipes, and let me just say my vote is in — It is by far my favorite science class I’ve ever taken!

Britt and I contacted Test Pilot Cocktails and they were gracious enough to host us and a few of our friends for a private crash course in cocktails. We learned the terminology, techniques, ingredients involved in making these delish (and complex) cocktails … all while having a blast (obviously)!

Located right in the heart of the Funk Zone of downtown Santa Barbara, Test Pilot’s focus is on contemporary tiki-style cocktails, and this mixology class was just what we needed to kick off the perfect girl’s trip.

Jon Jarrett was our resident Mixologist, and what I loved was how all of his ingredients were fresh and nothing was too sugary. Jon used agave syrup as a substitute for sugar and simple syrup, and when the recipes called for a fruit based mixer, Jon mashed up fresh fruit instead of using concentrate. We also tried making a chamomile drink that was super refreshing, and hands-down one of the best cocktails I have ever sipped on!

I highly recommend considering a mixology course on your next vacay — It was a true bonding experience, plus we all left with plenty of tips and techniques that will come in handy next time we entertain.

Below were two amazing cocktails that Jon taught us and I am so excited to be able to share with you guys! Thanks to Blue Gabor for the great photos. Cheers!!




2.0 oz vodka (Tito's recommended)

.75 oz lime juice

.5 oz Passionfruit cordial

.25 oz ginger cordial

.5 teaspoon vanilla liqueur

2 dashes angostura bitters


Directions: Add all ingredients but the soda to the shaking tin. Add one cube of ice and shake vigorously with ice for 8-12 seconds. Pour out into a collins glass over ice. Top with soda water and garnish with a mint sprig.

Passionfruit cordial: Juice passion fruits. Strain out all the pulp and discard. Emulsify (via shaking, a blender, or an emulsification wand) one part strained passionfruit juice to one part white organic sugar. Cordial keeps for two weeks under refrigeration.

Ginger cordial: Juice ginger root. Emulsify (via shaking, a blender, or an emulsification wand) one part strained ginger juice to two parts water to three parts white organic sugar (or Agave). Cordial keeps for two weeks under refrigeration.

Variations: Sub in another fruit for passionfruit. Sub in another base spirit. Sub in a liqueur or bitter digestif for some of the sweet or three dimensional components.



1 large shaking tin

1 small shaking tin


1 oz. dry "cuban style" light rum

.5 oz lime juice

.5 oz honey cordial top with sparkling wine

Directions: Add all ingredients *but the wine* to the smaller shaking tin. Add one large scoop of ice to the larger shaking tin pour in smaller shaking tin ingredients. Shake vigorously for 8-12 seconds. Strain contents into a coupe/martini glass. Gently add the sparkling wine (to not lose effervescence) and serve immediately. Garnish with a lime wedge.

The Sweet Life By Brittany + Cynthia Daniel


Welcome to The Sweet Life by Brittany + Cynthia Daniel — A place where 

balance meets beauty, and it’s all about feeling inspired by the journey.

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