It's worth repeating that I'm never really quite ready for the San Antonio Cocktail Conference. Each year means different events, the need for several cute/comfortable/classy outfits and all the water I can find. This year's conference is no different. Here are our top picks for can't-miss events, both new and old.
Women Shaking It Up: If I were to implore anyone in San Antonio to visit an event during the week-long affair, this might be it. The first-ever event shines the spotlight on women in the industry through a screening of Jeret Peña's latest mini-documentary endeavor, Women of Tin, which features bartenders Karah Carmack, Elisabeth Forsythe and Hillary Woodhouse. After the screening, guests will be treated to drinks mixed by female bartenders, and bites by female chefs, including Heather Hernandez of Bohanan's, Brooke Smith of The Esquire Tavern, Lisa Astorga of Bite, Diana Barrios of Los Barrios, Margeaux Alcorta of Tre Enoteca and Cariño Cortez of Viva Villa Taqueria. $65, 7-10pm Wednesday, Arneson River Theater & La Villita, 418 Villita St., (210) 472-2211, sananatoniococktailconference.com.
Honoring Sasha Petraske: This event is a bit of a two-for-one. Last August, the cocktail world lost a visionary when SACC co-founder Sasha Petraske passed away at 42. To honor his legacy, Bohanan's will host a roundtable discussion about his influence (4:30-6 p.m. Thursday) with industry members. A Daiquiri Hour (Petraske's favorite) will be held immediately after with proceeds from sales benefiting Houston Street Charities. This is not a ticketed event.
Opening Night At The Majestic: Do you love cocktails, glitz and a total bash? Then don't pass on this event which features plenty of craft cocktails and bites as you weave your way on to the Majestic's stage (you may or may not want to re-enact that scene from The Book of Mormon while there). $85, 7-10pm, The Majestic Theatre, 224 E. Houston St., (210) 472-2211, sananatoniococktailconference.com.
Stroll on Houston Street: Do I love Friday's event at the St. Anthony Hotel? Yes. BUT, if for some insane reason tickets aren't available, get thee to Houston Street on Saturday. The night includes a takeover of the street as bookended by Bohanan's and Lüke San Antonio, with more than 20 restaurant options to choose from including plenty of cocktails along the way. Weekend bonus: Catch one of two pop-up bars being set up at Studio 109 (no tickets required, cocktails are purchased a la carte, between Travis & Soledad streets, 10 p.m. to midnight). Chicago's Bordel sets up shop on Friday evening while Distilled NY brings their New American Public House to SA on Saturday. $85, 7-10pm, Houston Street between Navarro & Soledad, (210) 472-2211, sananatoniococktailconference.com.
Tasting Suites: Brand ambassadors showing off liquor must-haves on Saturday with tons of great tastes? Sign me up. $45, noon-4pm, Suites at Valencia & Historic Frost Building, 217 E. Houston St., (210) 472-2211, sananatoniococktailconference.com.