Cocktail fans, unite
New Cocktail Summit shakes up the San Antonio bar and restaurant scene in January
San Antonio fans of cocktails will get their fill of tasting sessions, curated dinners, parties, seminars, and panel discussions in a new multi-day event highlighting the impact and evolution of the cocktail. Local nonprofit Culinaria will present the first Third Coast Cocktail Summit from January 10-14, 2023, taking place across multiple venues in downtown San Antonio.
Suzanne Taranto Etheredge, Culinaria’s president and CEO, said the cocktail summit is a natural evolution for her organization, which hosts various wine and food-oriented events throughout the year, including the twice-a-year Restaurant Weeks.
“Our goal is to highlight the spirits and mixes that define the cultures of so many distinct and diverse regions around the country. We also want to bring leading trade professionals together for discussions on philosophies of the industry’s past, present, future, challenges and opportunities,” she said.
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk will host most of the summit's daytime programming. The first three days will provide a “Hall of Education" focused on beverage industry-related seminars, such as starting and marketing one’s bar, advanced mixology techniques, the future of San Antonio’s cocktail community, and deep dives into specific spirits, including whiskey and Fernet.
Organizers said each seminar is designed to be fun and educational for service industry workers, makers of brands of spirits, and the casual aficionado of adult beverages. Guests of the Hall of Education may also visit a lounge and bookstore at the Drury Plaza Riverwalk 11 am-6 pm, and participate in other festivities on the hotel patio and Teller’s Hotel Bar.
Panels with audience question-and-answer sessions will center around beverage industry sustainability, inclusivity, and the consequences of pandemic shutdowns.
“Seminars and workshops will serve to preserve the knowledge of the past and pass it forward to a new generation of bartenders that will lead change within the industry for years to come,” Etheredge said. "We will feature not only spirits and cocktails, but professional seminars centered on wine, beer, coffee and anything else that gravitates around the cocktail space.”
Evening programming includes a plethora of events, with happy hours, special guest bartenders, spirited dinners, pop-up events, and late-night parties at different bars and restaurants, such as The Esquire, Lilly’s Greenville, Sojourn Trading Co., The Friendly Spot, Bruno’s Dive Bar, Amor Eterno, TBA, and The Squeezebox.
The final day of the summit, January 14, will feature a farewell brunch at Backyard on Broadway, a beer break at The Friendly Spot, and an evening cocktail party at The Witte Museum. Organizers said more events are being added right up until summit time.
Etheredge said a group of local beverage industry professionals approached Culinary about holding a “cocktail-centric” event in downtown San Antonio during a time of year when visitors may enjoy the festivities in comfortable weather. She acknowledged the Third Coast Cocktail Summit has traditionally taken place at at roughly the same time as the San Antonio Cocktail Conference (the latter event was last held in 2020, shortly before COVID-19 shut down bars and restaurants).
“We are in the same timeframe, but this is a totally different entity altogether. The summit doesn’t replace the San Antonio Cocktail Conference,” Etheredge said, adding that January is traditionally a quiet month for major local activities.
Attendees can choose from different types of admission, ranging from seminar-only passes to all-access passes, and Culinaria will send a portion of summit proceeds to charities benefitting beverage and hospitality professionals.