Now in its eighth year, the San Antonio Cocktail Conference has evolved into a week-long event geared toward folks in the bar industry as well as cocktail enthusiasts, said Cathy Siegel, executive director of Houston Street Charities, the 501(c)(3) organization that puts on the event.
» When: Sunday-Jan. 20
» Where: Various venues
» Cost: Varies per event
» View the full schedule here.
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The conference combines seminars, dinners and large-scale tastings and parties at venues that tend to be in the downtown area. This year’s edition offers 57 seminars—from “Don’t Judge a Consumer By Their Cocktail: Dispelling Bias” to “Women in Mezcal: Past, Present and Future”—which is 30 percent more than last year.
“We really intend to offer a variety of cocktail educational opportunities—and not just for industry professionals, and we have a lot of those—but also for the novice and the aficionados, those people who just want to be better at cocktails,” Siegel said.
This year, whiskey is big.
The Tasting Suites, which are open noon-4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, at the St. Anthony Hotel, are an opportunity for the public to sample brands worldwide. This year, SACC is highlighting Lone Star-made whiskey in the separate Texas Whiskey Room. Admission to both is $45.
Several seminars are also devoted to the style.
There are events throughout the week, but the big kickoff gathering is called Come & Taste It!—7:30-11 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, at Battle For Texas, The Experience at Rivercenter Mall—which promises Alamo re-enactors, period music, food and, of course, cocktails.
Each year, Houston Street Charities, through the conference, raises money for about five children’s charities. The 501(c)(3) is the brainchild of Mark Bohanan, chef and owner of Bohanan’s Prime Steak and Seafood on Houston Street.
“We don’t set a monetary goal,” Siegel said. “We want to raise as many dollars as we can and so as much good as we can. We raise money all year.”