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Raider On The Rocks

Mixology | Illustration by Kayli Thompson | The Wright State Guardian


While bars are currently only serving beverages until 10 p.m., Wright State University (WSU) students and alumni ages 21+ had the opportunity to learn mixology skills from the comfort of their own home.  

The second installment of Raider on the Rocks took place virtually on Oct. 1. with an engaged crowd eager to learn the ins and outs of crafting the perfect alcoholic beverages. The mixology expert and teacher of the class Brian Petro, Founder of Smart Guy in a Tie Cocktails, has been mixing up tasty beverages for 17 years.  

Meet the expert 

“I started studying [mixology] and learning about spirits in 2003 to get better at my serving job. I had been doing it since the recession in 2002 when I was laid off. The more I learned about spirits, the more I wanted to learn,” Petro said. “Books were scarce at the time, so it was mostly research on the internet and the few books I could find. I stepped behind the bar in 2004, and it felt so natural, like that is where I should have been for a while.”  

While Petro is all business behind the bar, his title ‘Smart Guy in a Tie’ started as a funny joke. 

“I liked dressing up nicely for work. It started in 2008 and it just kept going. When I was working at a company doing social media, it turned heads when I did not wear a tie. They just got used to it. So when I went out on my own, I made a joke about calling the company Smart Guy in a Tie. People liked it, and it stuck. Now, people who hear it appreciate it. Though now I am stuck wearing ties to every event,” Petro said.  

Raiders eager to learn 

Participants in the virtual mixology course echoed Petro’s natural bar tending abilities, and were not afraid to ask questions during the presentation. 

“While we were on the WebEx we had people picking Brian’s brain about all kinds of things,” said Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement Brooke Leppla. “People wanted to know Brian’s recommendations for different types of liquor, and were also interested in finding out why certain drinks pair well with others.”  

The active participation and overall positive response to the cocktails taught during Raider on the Rocks has Leppla and Petro eager to continue the virtual mixology series moving forward.  

“There is going to be another one of these virtual bartending events on Dec. 8, and the drinks of choice will be crowdsourced,” said Petro. “So far gin has generated a large interest due to holiday themed drinks. People that want to suggest drinks or sign up to join us should contact Brooke for more details.” 

Associate Director of Advancement Research and Prospect Management Rob Boley and his wife were two guests in the virtual mixology course, seen taking selfies with their hand-crafted beverages.   

“The best thing about these events is learning from Brian’s expertise. It’s a real joy seeing a master practicing his craft, and we love trying out new recipes,” said Boley. “My wife and I absolutely will be at the next class!”  

Those ages 21 and older interested in partaking in the next virtual mixology course brought to you by Smart Guy in a Tie Cocktails on Dec.8, may visit www.wrightstatealumni.com for more information and a future events schedule.