Cheers: Festival Lineup

  Festival Lineup - Mark your calendar for the upcoming events that Alexis Korman says raise the bar (and quite a few glasses) for festive cocktail and beer happenings.

Craft-cocktail aficionados and beer fans, take note: The love of quality drink has gone global, and liquor-focused festivals have you in mind. Once strictly the purview of bar professionals, these spirited fests have splashed over into the consumer realm, becoming the new hot ticket for drink-lovers this summer and fall. Whether you go to improve your home bartending skills or just to savor some stellar sips, mark your calendar for these must-try tipple festivals around the world.

Tales of the Cocktail July 17–21
New Orleans is arguably the perfect place to host a cocktail convention—it’s home of the Sazerac and Gin Fizz, after all. So it comes as little surprise that Tales returns to the Big Easy this summer, where the festival will cater primarily to the professional bartender, offering innovative seminars (this year’s topics include The History of Ice, Low-Country Cocktails and Nineteenth-Century Ingredients), along with competitions and tastings that tend to map out major spirits trends each year. That doesn’t mean consumers won’t feel welcome, however: Cocktail enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the tasting rooms, high-octane parties or the Spirited Dinner series, which features unique, themed food-and-cocktail tastings at some of New Orleans’s hottest restaurants, like ROOT and Sylvain.

San Diego Spirits Festival Aug 24–25
San Diego’s fifth annual spirits fest features two days of fun cocktail competitions, chef demos and educational seminars, with the gorgeous waterfront on the Port Pier Pavilion serving as a fitting backdrop for the seaside city. In 2012, the event boasted close to 4,000 attendees, who learned about California’s hottest cocktail and culinary trends from liquor brands large and small, including Conjure Cognac, Milagro Tequila and Crater Lake Vodka. Small bites were on offer, too, like the city’s famous fish tacos.

Sydney Bar Week Sept 21–24
Over 3,000 passionate tipplers attended Sydney’s hottest spirits fest in 2012, scoping the best and brightest bar trends in Australia over four days at a wide variety of booze-inspired events. Imbibers indulged in premium liquor tastings, learned how to stir and shake at mixology classes, took speakeasy bar tours and even indulged in a Sailing with Single Malts tasting cruise on Sydney Harbor. While this year’s events have yet to be confirmed, Sydney Bar Week promises to be equally spirited in 2013, with plenty of parties on tap.

Oktoberfest Sept 21–Oct 6
Some six million brew lovers descend upon Munich for the city’s—and perhaps the world’s—most famous beer fest each fall. But don’t let that discourage you: Breweries of all sizes (including Augustiner, Hofbrau and Hacker Pschorr) offer suds by the liter served in themed beer tents with communal tables, giving the festival a convivial atmosphere. Traditional Bavarian brass bands lend to the gregarious vibe, while German foods (including a 15-inch pretzel, pork knuckles and potato dumplings) provide sustenance. Luckily, no lederhosen are required, though traditional costumes are part of the fun.

London Cocktail Week Oct 7–13
Nearly 40,000 cocktails were poured at London Cocktail Week in 2012, celebrating the city’s famous cocktail culture. Spirits lovers will get a heavy pour of educational seminars, pop-up bars, premium tastings, parties and master classes meant to be enjoyed by professionals and home bartenders alike. In addition, vintage buses shuttle imbibers on cocktail tours, where some of the city’s hottest bars offer unique drinks for £4 each.

The Art of the Cocktail Oct 19–21
While Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal might be the heavy hitters in Canada’s craft cocktail scene, the country’s major cocktail fest takes place in Victoria, B.C., each fall. Hundreds of spirits lovers mix it up every October by taking in cocktail workshops, a Grand Tasting—where new Canadian spirits-makers, like Saskatchewan’s Lucky Bastard, are unveiled—along with the Ultimate Cocktail Challenge. With events held in the gorgeous Crystal Garden, Chateau Victoria and local restaurants, attendees get to try tipples and taste local foods in a sophisticated setting.

Tales of the Cocktail , San Diego Spirits Festival , Sydney Bar Week , Oktoberfest , London Cocktail Week , The Art of the Cocktail
Posted On: 01 July 2013    Print    Email
Author: Alexis Korman

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