Explore cocktail culture
Pro and amateur cocktail summit keeps tab open for second year in San Antonio
Renowned bartenders, mixologists, and distillers from around San Antonio and the nation are returning to Alamo City to reprise last January's inaugural Third Coast Cocktail Summit.
It was an opportunity for mainly hospitality professionals and hardcore aficionados of distilled spirits to enjoy tastings, and hands-on workshops and seminars.
The event organizer, local nonprofit Culinaria, is bringing back the cocktail summit from January 9-13, 2024. Educational daytime activities will happen at the Alley on Bitters retail center in Hill Country Village.
Culinaria Vice President Ginger Robinson says cocktail summit programming is being expanded to pique the interest of hospitality professionals and the general public.
“The cocktail summit will certainly offer a mix of education that appeals to the industry while other sessions will prove interesting to the consumer,” says Robinson. “Specifically for the consumer, we have seen a bit of a shift with so many people staying at home, the cocktail enthusiast has also honed their skills as a home bartender. They’ve spent time, money and effort into building their perfect home bar and their skill set has evolved.”
On January 9, the BarSmarts Practical will kick things off, giving professional and amateur mixologists a chance to formally certify their ability to make and serve classic drinks, be inspired by noted practitioners, and learn meaningful service skills.
January 10 will feature a bourbon steward program, where representatives of Bending Branch Winery in Comfort, Texas, will guide participants on various bourbon topics, including descriptors, heritage, aging, and distilling.
The Alley on Bitters will also be the site of a tasting space, which will boast a wide range of spirits and wines from multiple beverage-makers. Alongside it will be presentations from industry experts and observers, such as co-owner of The Friendly Spot Jody Newman, discussing women in the bar industry and other issues related to bar management.
On weekday afternoons and evenings during the cocktail summit, participating bars will host special happy hours and parties, and a few select restaurants will offer spirit-focused dinners.
Fans of craft beer can enjoy the beer break January 13 at the Friendly Spot, where representatives of several breweries will offer samples. The cocktail summit will wrap up that night at the Witte Museum, which will host a disco-themed cocktail party complete with plenty of samples of spirits as well as gourmet bites from local chefs and restaurants.
Robinson says the Third Coast Cocktail Summit will have something for everyone interested in cocktail culture.
“With consideration to our programming, the certified bourbon steward will appeal to all, while additional courses will, too. The summit cocktail party, happy hours and spirited dinners will also be a mix of industry and consumer participation,” she added.
Tickets for single-day general admission, full-summit all-access, and individual events (various prices) are available at culinariasa.org.