The Real Gems of the San Antonio Cocktail Conference Aren’t the Cocktails

Monday 06th, January 2020 / 14:57 Written by
The Real Gems of the San Antonio Cocktail Conference Aren’t the Cocktails
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The San Antonio Cocktail Conference’s Main Purpose is Educating Attendees on the Craft Cocktail Industry & the Experiences Surrounding it Through Informative Seminars, Paired Dinners, & Collaboration

When you think cocktails you probably think of having a drink at a bar or before dinner. But the San Antonio Cocktail Conference is so much more that just drinking cocktails. Educating attendees rather than just giving them a drink is more of what you can expect at the Conference. This event showcases the beauty of the cocktail. It’s the art of making the drink, smelling its flavor profile on the nose, tasting the different layers of flavor on the palate as you take your first sip and taking note of how it finishes as you swallow. You are being educated on the spirit as a whole, not just kicking it back.

The conference makes this education deliciously fun starting with the pairing dinners! These dinners take place in many of the finest restaurant in and around San Antonio, so be assured you will be getting a delicious dinner. But there is more. Each course of the meal is meticulously prepared to complement different expressions of the spirit with which it is paired. It’s a beautiful marriage of food and spirit, each bringing out the best of the other. The meal is led by both the Chef and the spirit Ambassador to describe what you are getting and how the flavors work together in harmony. You will come away with a better understanding of the spirit and how to use it later. Tickets!

Photo Credit: San Antonio Cocktail Conference
PAIRED DINNER: TORO KITCHEN + BAR & ROCA PATRON

Probably the most interesting “hidden gems” of the conference are the seminars. There are a wide variety of seminars offered throughout several days of this event meant to inform cocktail rookies, cocktail nerds, cocktail aficionado, mixologists and business owners on different aspects of the industry. There is a seminar to interest just about everyone. Take for instance in Barrel Chemistry 101, attendees will learn there’s more to aging than adding the flavor of the wood to the spirit. In Community, Quality and Sustainability of Mezcal they ask the question,” does handmade or artisanal really matter”? In Centuries of Poitin: Ireland’s Notorious Spirit, Dave Mulligan, Poitín expert and owner of Bar 1661 in Dublin, the world’s first Poitín-focused cocktail bar, will provide a history of Ireland’s first spirit, from its humble monastic roots which predate whiskey, to its illegal production throughout the country for over 300 years. At Caribbean Elixirs, you will dive into the importance of Caribbean drinking cultures and celebrate these magic potions. In all there are 37 different seminars talking about things like; how to run a bar, how to set up a home bar, how to compare cognacs and how to trust your palate. Other topics covered are tasting the terroir of a spirit, what happened to the steakhouse cocktail, the history of rum runners, and drinking your food-eating your booze. This year they even address incorporating CBD into a bar program, pairing cigars & spirits and adding draft cocktails to your bar. As I said earlier, there is literally something for everyone.

San Antonio Cocktail Conference
Photo Credit: San Antonio Cocktail Conference

Some of the seminars may offer tasting of a liquor or several liquors for comparison to teach you different aspects of that brand (say Flor De Cana) or particular spirit (say rum for instance). If you are interested in attending a seminar you need to purchase tickets here.

San Antonio Cocktail Conference
Photo Credit: San Antonio Cocktail Conference

Also happening this year are a number of events Sponsored by different industry brands or groups. Some of these are pop-ups happening during the conference and some are more like after hours parties. Many are smaller gatherings which usually include tastings. These events may or may not be ticketed or may require you to RSVP. Check here for ticketing info.

You must buy a pass to get into the signature events of the Cocktail Conference. There are four signature events:

  • Opening Night at the Majestic Theatre – Opening party for the SA Cocktail Conference 2020
San Antonio Cocktail Conference
Photo Credit: San Antonio Cocktail Conference
  • Waldorf on the Prairie – At the St. Anthony Hotel this party weaves the cocktail experience throughout the downstairs ballrooms, into the grand Peacock Alley, through the lobby and beyond, resplendent with exquisite food and drink, wonderful music and all the accompaniments that make this a signature event for SA Cocktail Conference.
  • Tasting Suites – Taking place in the beautiful St. Anthony Hotel, Tasting Suites will give you the opportunity to learn about new spirits, international and regional brands, and all things cocktail, while interacting closely with ambassadors and representatives from all over the world.
  • Cocktails under the Big Top – In Villita Assembly Hall experience the non-stop excitement of a circus paired with the magic of cocktails, unlike any other big top you will have experienced. Celebrate together with music, food, circus fun and dancing and close out SACC 2020!  
San Antonio Cocktail Conference
Photo Credit: San Antonio Cocktail Conference

There are two different pass levels:

Come and go as you please with the Clean Sneak PASS (the official SACC 2020 multi-event pass), named for the beautiful Signature Cocktail of SACC 2020. This is your access to multiple events at Cocktail Conference including:

Opening Night at the Majestic Theatre – (Thurs, Jan 16)

Waldorf on the Prairie (Fri, Jan 17)

Tasting Suites (Sat, Jan 18)

Cocktails Under the Big Top (Sat, Jan 18)

This pass does NOT include SACC Seminars.

Come and go as you please with a VIP lanyard, giving you access to multiple events at Cocktail Conference including:

Opening Night at the Majestic Theatre (Thurs, Jan 16)

Waldorf on the Prairie (Fri, Jan 17)

Cocktail Under the Big Top (Sat, Jan 18)

Tasting Suites (Sat, Jan 18)

THIS VIP PASS ALSO INCLUDES:

  • VIP status to bump the lines, and go right in!
  • Special invitation-only access to two parties during the weekend.

This pass does NOT include SACC Seminars.

San Antonio Cocktail Conference

Once again the conference will donate 100 percent of its profits to benefit children. Past years’ beneficiaries include Children’s Shelter, ChildSafe, Clarity Child Guidance Center, Food Bank of San Antonio, HeartGift San Antonio, TEAMability and Transplants for Children.

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