- Rick Canfield
- Get your sniffer ready to pick up subtle spirit notes by the dozen
Wednesday, January 14
BBQ and Bourbon Kickoff
This pre-conference event sponsored by the Current will feature barbecue stations, sides and other Two Bro. faves paired with Old Forester, Woodford Double Oak, Woodford Rye and Jack Daniel's single barrel bourbon. $60, 6:30-9pm, 1256 West Avenue.
Thursday, January 15
Opening Night at The Majestic Theatre
The third time’s the charm as the conference officially kicks off with more than 25 cocktail stations inside the historic theater, accented by bites from more than 16 of the city’s eateries and music by Mayer Hawthorne. $100, 7-11pm, 224 E Houston.
Friday, January 16
Rum, Ron & Rhum—Reorganized
Get familiar with rum styles and learn how history has influenced them via presenters Kiowa Bryan (head bartender at Eveleigh in West Hollywood) and Benjamin Jones (of Clement USA Inc.). $35, 11am-12:15pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
Intersecting Ranges: Sugar, temperature and ABV
It's time to get a little nerdy as you take a deep dive into how sugar and alcohol content play a part in pleasing the palate with Sasha Petraske, of Milk & Honey, in New York. $35, 11am-12:15pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
Terroir and Sustainability: A conversation
Austin’s Jessica Sanders (drink.well) and Natalia Cardenas (Pisco Portón U.S. brand ambassador) will host a chat on how to keep the tradition of artisanal and sustainable spirit-making by ensuring proper use of the spirits’ region of origin. $35, 11am-12:15pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
How Sweet of You: Discovering sweeteners in cocktails
Lucinda Sterling of NYC's Middle Branch will walk attendees through sweeting agents and alternatives. $35, 11:30am-12:45pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
Part 1: The ABCs of North American whiskeys
Tipsy Texan David Alan and Nick Korn of OFFSITE, an event and brand strategy firm, will geek out on American and Canadian whiskeys with a tasting workshop on the styles and definitions of both. $35, 11:30am-12:45pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
Gin Is in, but What's in Your Gin
Brand owners, directors and bartenders will congregate for a chat about the specific types of botanicals used by different gin brands and the nuances of tonic. $35, 11:30am-12:45pm, Bar 414 at Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
Self-branding for Bartenders
Gabe Sanchez of Black Swan Saloon in Dallas and self-branding guru Nico Martini (what an appropriate last name) will coach mixologists on how to build and maintain their personal brand, create buzz and network. $35, 1-2:15pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
The Mechanics of the Hustle
Speed and quality are the topics for this seminar that brings together Speed Rack creator and former champions Ivy Mix, Caitlin Laman and Yael Vengroff, respectively. Learn how they keep up with demand in the three of the nation’s largest markets. $35, 1-2:15pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
The Four Seasons of Cognac
Hoke Harden knows his stuff. You'll want to sit in as this member of the Society of Wine Educators, Master Instructor with the French Wine Academy and general lover of wine and spirits discusses the seasonality of Cognac with a tasting of nine iterations. $35, 1-2:15pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
Scotland vs Mexico Parte Dos
The party shifts over to The Last Word for a seminar on the virtues and similarities of tequila and scotch with brand ambassadors David Allardice (Glenfiddich) and JP De Loera (Milagro). $45, 1:30-2:45pm, 229 E Houston, #10.
Part 2: Pappy Hour
The whiskey conversation continues with WhistlePig Master Distiller Dave Pickerell joining David Alan and Nick Korn for a look into American whiskies, the Stitzel Weller Distillery and awesome, wallet-friendly bottles. $35, 1:30-2:45pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
The Cocky Rooster
Mixology is so hot right now, but what’s a bartender to do when faced with a horde of cocktail-happy patrons? It’s all about service. Two of Republic National Distributing Company mixtologists will discuss how to keep patrons happy and welcome. $35, 1:30-2:45pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
Michael Madrusan, owner and operator of The Everleigh in Melbourne, Australia, will discuss classic cocktails and variations to sample using the recently released book Cocktail Branches. $35, 3-4:15pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
Deadly Games (Nitrogen, fire & stupidity)
Safety first: This insider’s seminar will feature Jason Kosmas (co-founder of Employees Only and 86 Co. Spirits) and hospitality attorney David Denney in a discussion about common bar practices that could cost a bar big bucks. $35, 3-4:15pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
The Importance of Yeast in Spirits Production
Yeast doesn’t just matter in the production of your favorite brew. This seminar focuses on everything there is to know about fermentation in agave sprits and beers. Samples include a fermented shandy and a beer and tequila cocktail. $35, 3-4:15pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
The Psychology of Ordering
What factors go into what customers want to imbibe? Learn how menu design, atmosphere and staff attitude help shape how and what guests order from Dushan Zaric (co-founder 86 Co. Spirits), Claire Bertin-Lang (CBL Liquid Consulting) and Pamela Wiznitzer.
Sherry + Oysters + Growers Champagne
The Monterey will share its penchant for sherry, growers and freshly shucked oysters. Because why the hell not? $40, 4-6pm, 1127 S St. Mary's.
Cutty Sark Shave & Shine Cocktail Lounge
The Rosso Corsa pass can get you into the basement lounge to sip Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition whiskey ’tails, get a quickie shoe shine or freshen up with straight razor shaves for the rest of the weekend’s festivities. 2-6pm, Basement of the Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
Waldorf on the Prairie
The St. Anthony hearkens back to its days as the swankiest hotel west of the Mississippi with cocktail, food stations, and a lively mix of tunes. $85, 7-11pm, 300 E Travis.
Saturday, January 17
“Real Substance” - How the martini helped shape cocktail culture
Glean a bit of history with a look at the martini’s fuzzy origins and its influence in cocktail culture. $35, 11am-12:15pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
What Now? Career opportunities for professional bartenders beyond the bar
Find out where else and how your talents can take you on boozy, new career paths. $35, 11am-12:15pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
Exploring Honey Cocktails
Charlotte Voisey, host of The Proper Pour, will discuss the virtues of honey varietals during this educational tasting. $35, 11am-12:15pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
Tex vs Mex: Texas flavors vs Mexican spirits
Margs are over. This seminar will touch on the smoke and spice of Mexican spirits and pair them with Texas 'cue and authentic Mexican cuisine. $45, 11:30am-12:45pm, The Last Word, 229 E Houston, #10.
Mixology 101: Build your own signature cocktail
Jonathan Pogash, "The Cocktail Guru," will give you a quick history lesson, before letting you loose with some spirits to create your own poison. $50, 11:30am-12:45pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
From Berry to Beverage: The story of juniper
Gin takes the spotlight again with a seminar that features a comprehensive look at juniper-based 'tails. $35, 11:30am-12:45pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
Porch Cocktails? F-sho!
Lüke San Antonio's executive chef John Russ will keep you nice and boozy on his "front porch" with recipes hailing from New Orleans. $45, 11:30am-12:45pm, 125 E Houston.
White Whiskey: The flavorful alternative to vodka
Ranger Creek’s white dog will be in the spotlight. Find out how the “premium moonshine” can change the way you make cocktails. $35, 1-2:15pm, St. Anthony Hotel, 300 E Travis.
Are You Experienced?
Brian McCullough, co-founder of Dallas’ The Standard Pour, will discuss how to pair tunes and cocktails in a balanced way. $35, 1-2:15pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
Whiskey Bon Voyage
Who doesn’t love a good ride down the San Antonio River? Join for special spirits and whiskey-filled treats and tastings. $45, 1-2:15pm, San Antonio River Cruise, launch from IBC Plaza.
Meet real mezcaleros that are keeping the agave distillate alive in several Mexican states. $45, 1-2:15pm, Bohanan’s, 219 E Houston.
Shaking It Up With Champagne!
Speed Rack’s Lynnette Marrero and Raines Lawroom’s Meaghan Dorman will chat about quality bubble-filled cocktails. $45, $35, 1-2:15pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
The Speakeasy Experience in Your Own Home Bar
Craft aficionados can learn how to take their home bar to the next level with better tools, custom menus and quality booze. $45, 1:30-2:45pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
The Relativity of Flavor Pairing
Science, bitch! Learn how to pair food, drinks, beer, spirits and cocktails for a harmonious and convergent experience. $45, 1:30-2:45pm, The Last Word, 229 E Houston, #10.
The Tasting Room
Any cocktail conference ticket holder (or a $20 donation to Houston Street Charities) has access to this cornucopia of spirits with brand ambassadors and representatives in one giant room. Noon-5pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
Old School Distilling Families/New School Spirits
Bring all the bourbon question for this seminar with look at the Henderson Family’s history in the industry. $45, 3-4:15pm, St. Anthony Hotel, 300 E Travis.
Into the Glass
The guys behind The 86 Co. will show you how to get specific flavors into your cocktails using spirits, techniques and occasions. $35, 3-4:15pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
Rare Beam Suntory Bourbon Tasting & Educational Seminar
The conference means trying unique spirits and limited releases. Ambassador Adam Harris will walk you through the Beam Bourbon portfolio including their Harvest Collection. $60, 3-4:15pm, Beam Room at Hyatt Regency, 123 Losoya.
San Antonio's Olaf Harmel will host a small exploration of brandy 'tails and elegant bites, all which incorporate the spirit using gastriques and reductions. $45, 3-4:15pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
Chocolate and liquor are a match made in heaven and this seminar will pair cacao with bourbon, rum, Cognac and sherry. $35, 3-4:15pm, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
Friendly Craft Beer Break
Palate fatigue is real. Give your tastebuddies a break with a visit to the Friendly Spot. Free to any ticketholder or $20 donation to Houston Street Charities, 4-6pm, 943 S Alamo.
Stroll on Houston Street
Play tourist for the night and bounce along Houston Street eating, drinking and dancing. $85, 6-10pm, along Houston Street.
After-Party With 86 Co. Spirits
The Charline McCombs Theatre will host bars across Texas, music by Deke Dickerson and Los Straightjackets and breakfast tacos via El Mirador. $75, 11pm, 224 E Houston.
Sunday, January 18
Hair of the Dog That Bit Ya' Sunday Brunch
Ease into that hangover with this buffet-style seated brunch and breakfast beverage bar. $40, 11am, Sheraton Gunter Hotel, 205 E Houston.
Craft & Draft Bartender Brunch in the Park
Break bread with the folks that helped put the whole thing together. Brunch includes street tacos by Austin’s Freedmen’s BBQ, hand-chipped ice balls and more. Free with purchase of any cocktail conference ticket, noon, Travis Park, corner of Travis and Navarro.
Original Cocktail Competition & Closing Party
Eight finalists will battle it out for bragging rights and $2,000 buckaroos. The night and conference end with more music and cocktails. $40, 4pm, Aztec Theater, 280 W Crockett.