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Thursday, May 13, 2010

S.F. Bar Stars Shine at Manhattan Cocktail Classic, Ft. Mason Gala

Posted By on Thu, May 13, 2010 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge 15 Romolo's Scott Baird. - CUESA/FLICKR
  • CUESA/Flickr
  • 15 Romolo's Scott Baird.
A word of warning to drinkers in the Bay Area this weekend: The Manhattan Cocktail Classic, NYC's first-ever multi-day festival celebrating the history, contemporary culture, and artful craft of the cocktail, goes down May 14-18. What's that got to do with us, you ask? Well, at New York's Astor Center ― the Cocktail Classic's three-ring circus of liquid delight ― a significant number of San Francisco bartenders will be mixing up drinks.

Manhattan is enlisting the talents of Dominic Venegas of Smuggler's Cove, Ryan Fitzgerald of Beretta, Erick Castro of Rickhouse, Marco Dionysos of HMS Cocktails, Jackie Patterson (formerly of Heaven's Dog), and Neyah White of Nopa.

But don't despair. As a nod to how depleted the city's stock of bartenders will be, organizers added the Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala at Fort Mason Center to fill the gaps. It features Scott Baird and Aaron Smith of 15 Romolo, Daniel Hyatt of The Alembic, remaining partners of HMS Cocktails, Brooke Arthur (debuting drinks from the upcoming Prospect), and Rye bar duo Jon Gasparini and Greg Lindgren. Then again, at $400 a pop, flying to New York for the Cocktail Classic doesn't seem so crazy.

If you are lucky enough to be heading to NYC, festivities kick off tomorrow with a gala (already sold out), which takes over the entire historic New York City Public Library. You know it's going to be something special when people with a heart conditions are required to sign a waiver prior to entering the building.

The educational seminars start on May 15 and continue through May 18, most at Astor Center, the rest in bars. The curriculum includes a punch tutorial with cocktail historian and Esquire drinks correspondent David Wondrich, a home cocktail party primer with Milk & Honey bar's Sasha Petraske, and cocktail glasses 101 with Dale DeGroff, the man credited with starting the classic cocktail revival.

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