November 22, 2006: On the Campus
Mixed drinks; clear minds
By Laura Fitzpatrick ’08
With midterms just around the corner, 11 students huddle around a tidy wooden table, flipping through thick packets of formulas. But this is no last-minute cramming session. Bartending 101 is about to begin. The students eye the instructor in silence. Then one student breaks in with a question that doesn’t sound out of place on a campus obsessed by grade deflation:
“Do we get tested on this?”
And the answer is yes. Touted as “the most popular course at Princeton” by the Student Bartending Agency, the four-hour session is one of five offered this semester in the Frist Campus Center cafeteria. Begun in 1985, the class prepares students for the professional bartender certification exam. Many will work for the Student Formals Agency; some will bartend parties for alumni in the area; still others will get summer jobs at local watering holes.
Eddie Jilozian, a teacher from the Philadelphia-based Mixology Wine Institute, leans over a geometric formation of cups filled with plastic straws in hot pink, cobalt, and lime green. Strewn over the table are mixing tools, which he holds up one by one: Boston shaker, cheater tin, four-pronged strainer, speed opener. The class will use colored water to make drinks, he explains, because “I wouldn’t want to waste all that alcohol.”
Over the next several hours Jilozian will break down how to choose a garnish, how to scoop ice without chipping the glass, and how to pour with accuracy and style. He’ll also speed through recipes for dozens of popular drinks. After that, it’s trial by firewater.
“Who wants to try it first?” Jilozian asks, grinning.
Two women in navy hooded sweatshirts inch to the front of the room. The rest of the class calls out drinks for them to mix from memory: WooWoo, Kamikaze, Washington Apple.
“I can do a rum and coke,” one of the students at the front says with a shrug. “I know what’s in that one.”
“Like this?” asks the other, upending a bottle. Encouraged by a nod from Jilozian, she mixes drink after drink, her curly dark ponytail springing from one side of her head to the other as she juggles ice and a shaker. Holding a Tequila Sunrise triumphantly above her head, she sidles back to her seat. Then she nods to a sophomore at the other end of the table: “You’re up.”
Upstairs the following day, preparing for a very different kind of class, a handful of students wait quietly in a softly lit room. For the next hour, as part of a weekly meditation class sponsored by the Princeton University Women’s Center, they will practice Korean Zen techniques and yoga breathing.
Some have been meditating for years and attending the class religiously, so to speak, since it started last spring. Others are here for the first time. As they stretch their legs out over a colorful, well-worn kilim rug, their certified yoga instructor, Jill Gutowski, a lithe woman in sweats, slides into the lotus position. Welcoming everyone, she lays out the basics of meditation.
“When you inhale, say to yourself three times: ‘Clear mind, clear mind, clear mind,’” she says. Explaining that getting bored and working to regain focus is part of the meditation experience, she adds: “When you talk to yourself, let it be soft and gentle.”
As the meditation begins, all eyes look toward the floor. Gusts of wind outside blend with the indoor hiss of audible Ujjayi breathing. One of eight types of breath control used in hatha yoga, Ujjayi translates to “ocean sounding.” In the hall a printer kicks in, humming. The longer the class sits without speaking, the richer the awareness of the sounds in the silence becomes.
After 20 minutes have passed, Gutowski quietly rouses the students. One student pokes her foot. “I can’t feel this,” she says. “I caught myself yelling at myself,” says another student with a small smile.
Gutowski nods, explaining that it’s a challenge to stay in the “now moment” — in meditation and in life. “Don’t think about jumping to the next thing,” she says. “Just do what you’re doing.”
Pulling themselves to their feet, the students filter out into the hall. The wind is still whooshing against the windowpanes. The meditation students shuffle out into the hall and down the stairs, merging back into the hubbub — until next week.
Laura Fitzpatrick ’08 is an English major from Ossining, N.Y.