Modeled on the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, the first ever San Antonio Cocktail Conference is ginning up for next weekend, with four days of drink seminars, guided tastings, and cocktail parties. You can get a buzz just reading the program, which is amazing both in its scope and in the talent they’ve managed to lure to San Antonio. It takes place at the downtown Sheraton Gunter Hotel (mostly), from Jan. 26 to 29, with a total of 27 classes, 31 presenters, 5 parties, 1 contest, and 1 yoga class (love the yoga part). Obviously, I can only scratch the surface of what’s covered, but the one seminar I (as a foodie) wouldn’t miss is “The Science of Flavor: How Biology, Genetics and Psychology Affect Your Perception of Flavor in Cocktails.” I mean, I’ve always been curious to know why some people love tequila and it makes others gag (even without doing a dozen shots). Then, there is everybody’s favorite, “Making Cocktails in the Home,” or how to prepare world-class drinks for parties and by the pool, with a 25-page booklet of techniques and recipes (aka no more margarita mix). And I love this one: “How It All Started in Texas: Tito Beveridge” (best name for a vodka baron ever), in which the founder of Tito’s Handmade Vodka tells how he started the first legal distillery in Texas, using nineteen credit cards. And it wouldn’t be a Texas cocktail conference without “The Thinking Man’s Margarita,” an exploration of the Caipirinha and other peasant-style cocktails, and “The Rise of Spicy Cocktails,” all about the perfection of heat and alcohol’s impact on “spice.” Happily, it involves a tasting of the Tanteo Jalapeño Margarita. Seriously, this is a very impressive-sounding undertaking, both scholarly and fun. The impetus behind it is Mark Bohanan, chef-owner of Bohanan’s Prime Steaks & Seafood, where the gala opening night soiree will take place. Also, Bohanan’s Courtyard will be open all day Friday and Saturday from noon to 7 serving $5 cocktails. Get all the details at sacocktailconference.com. Most sessions are $30, some $50 and $60. Or an all-event pass is $275. Proceeds benefit HeartGift San Antonio.
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