If you've ever wondered why there are no Scottish Olympians, it's because they drink whiskey instead of water. Or so says Martin Daraz, Highland Park's Brand Ambassador who last Tuesday led a Scotch intensive at Seven Grand.

Free to members of the Southern California United States Bartending Guild, (So Cal USBG) the event was also open to the (in-the-know) public for the ridiculously low price of twenty-five dollars. The four-hour intensive included blind tastings of Scotch whiskies from different regions, explanations of how they're made and their histories, lunch from Bottega Louie, and for the finale, three classic Scotch cocktails whipped up by Eric Alperin, Marcos Tello, and John Coltharp.

With his heavy Scottish brogue and encyclopedic knowledge, Martin Duraz is a born teacher and a man enthralled with what he does. The fact that he was willing to impart his wisdom on a motley group of Angelenos is a testament to both his generosity and the USBG's passion for educating and entertaining bartenders, industry people and anyone excited about elevating the cocktail culture in Los Angeles.

To find out when USBG and Sporting Life (a concurrent group of L.A. bartenders that gather together on a monthly basis to eat, drink and geek out) events are happening, log some hours in your favorite cocktail bar and make friends with the host. Like everything in life, it's who you know.

LA Weekly