On the last weekend of January, San Antonio was the first city in Texas to experience an event designed to experience all things cocktail – resulting in the first ever San Antonio Cocktail Conference. I was there enjoying the festivities as skilled bartenders from around the country who joined together to share their top cocktail concoctions at popular downtown venues. Throughout the weekend, event patrons were also given the unique opportunity to learn from the best in the industry at an array of classes designed to give hands on experience and background on cocktail ingredients, styles and history.
The opening night event was held at one of downtown’s finest - Bohanon’s. Known for its prime steaks and seafood, Bohanon’s proved to be the perfect venue for the opener of this inaugural event. Upon walking into the restaurant, revelers were immediately greeted by the lively sounds of a jazz band – perfectly adding to the ambiance of the night. Bartenders from around the country set up shop along the pristine wooden bar with colored spirits, unique recipes and personality to boot. As partakers walked across the restaurant and outside courtyard, the area was transformed to a bar all it’s own – with masters of the mixed drink serving up their very best in the cool night air.
My Top Three Cocktail picks of the night included:
Unusual Collins – A refreshing cocktail with the most exquisite presentation of the night that would pair well with light seafood or pork.
Ingredients: Hendricks gin, lime juice, cucumber juice, agave nectar, soda water and fresh mint.
French 75 – Shaken by one of Bohanon’s finest – a perfect brunch cocktail one could enjoy with any breakfast fare.
Ingredients: Pierre Ferrand Cognac, lemon juice, simple syrup and sparkling wine
Linda Rose – Reminiscent of a Cosmo, but on bubbles! A perfect cocktail for a fun evening on the town and presented by one of Bohanon’s own.
Ingredients: Cinco vodka (made locally), campari, carpano antica, lime juice, honey syrup and champagne
As I made my way across the event and kept tabs on my favorites, I realized my top three of the evening shared one common and personal thread – a tie to my great home state of Texas. The man behind the Unusual Collins, in its grand presentation and refreshing taste hails from our very own Austin, while the French 75 and Linda Rose were shaken by two of Bohanon’s finest. While some may say that Texas is slowly catching on to the art of the cocktail, I would beg to differ – and the proof may be behind your favorite local bar.
Contributed by & photo credits: L. Carpenter