- Erin Winch
Job/Title: Manager @drinking.in.sa since 2016
Birthplace: San Antonio
Impact: Founded one of San Antonio’s first cocktail blogs for bar hoppers and home mixologists
Industry Experience: Several years working in the fast-casual dining industry and a veteran of the San Antonio Cocktail Conference
Money Quote: “Is that really tiki, or is that just a Cosmo in a different glass?”
Tell us about your background and how you got where you are.
When I moved downtown in 2016 and was surrounded by craft cocktail bars, I decided to learn more about cocktail culture. I started writing lists of all the happy hours with interesting craft drinks, but no one knew about it. I started @drinking.in.sa to get the word out about it.
How did you learn about local beer culture?
I didn’t always love beer but visiting Künstler Brewing really helped me learn to appreciate San Antonio beer. Now I love trying brews from Künstler, Ranger Creek and Highwheel BeerWorks at Dorcol Distilling + Brewing Co.
What’s your best recent cocktail experience:
Tales of the Cocktail 2019 in New Orleans. The event offers more diverse liquors, brands, trends that might take longer to arrive in San Antonio. During Tales, there were a lot of brands that explored connections between spirits and food, and how all your senses — even the music you listen to — can influence your drink experience. I took a class with several bartenders and brands that showed us the parallels between music and cocktails — it’s what you add to it, simple beats or ingredients, that allow you to make it your own.
What are the biggest trends or changes you’ve seen in local bars?
At Tales, I saw a real focus on mental health in the industry, and in San Antonio, we’re seeing more organizations like HEARD, that work with bars and restaurants to provide resources and classes to bartenders who work long, demanding hours.
I’ve also seen two extremes emerge: there’s fewer sugary shots and drinks like Cosmos these days. We’re seeing more classic cocktails like the Highball. On the other hand, there’s a lot of places that are replacing those drinks with new sugary cocktails and try to call them “tiki-style.” I love tiki, but is that really tiki or is that just a Cosmo in a different glass?
There’s been a real shift here and throughout the U.S., as more bars turn toward local spirits and products. The way people drink has changed, but I think bars and what they’re producing have stayed the same.
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