Annual Thirst Boston event is exclusive to adults age 21 and older.
21 Plus Salute!
‘Thirst Boston’ rolls out schedule of events and seminars, releases tickets for sale.
Four-day lineup features new and improved events, hands-on seminars, tastings.
Thirst Boston returns for the third time May 20-23, 2016, and brings an impressive variety of evening parties and events, unique seminars with leading beverage experts, and appearances by some of the industry’s top bartenders. Expect the best yet from Thirst’s four-day extravaganza.
Along with the storied gala, The Thing, which kicks things off at The Hampshire House on Friday night, three days of seminars and pop-ups feature something for every adult, accommodating all skill levels. The home bartender or amateur enthusiast might learn how to entertain like a pro or make margaritas while careerists can engage in discussions about keeping top talent local.
Highlighted special events and seminars include…
The Thing: Opening Night Gala
Friday, May 20, 8 p.m. – 12 a.m. (VIP hour begins at 7 p.m.)
A veritable who’s who of the Boston cocktail scene, the now-legendary 4th annual “The Thing” gala celebrates all things grande old Boston. This year, a decadent VIP Hour will feature live piano music, special food offerings like oysters and caviar, and exclusive access to all five bars. All guests are welcomed to don their finest duds, creative black tie-optional, and enjoy shaken, stirred, and artfully prepared drinks from thirty leading bartenders, including Sam Treadway (Ames Street Deli & Backbar), Kevin Mabry (Capo), Will Thompson (Yvonne’s), Ezra Star (Drink), Naomi Levy (formerly of Eastern Standard), and Ran Duan (The Baldwin Bar). James Wallace of Brookline, winner of Thirst’s first-ever “Best Home Bartender Competition,” will serve up his cocktail alongside these stars.
New England Craft Showcase
Saturday, May 21, 3-6 p.m.
At this afternoon showcase, ticket holders get a taste of the best around. Eighteen regional distillers, including Damnation Alley, Astra Luna, Deacon Giles Distillery, Berkshire, Privateer. Turkey Shore Distillers, Triple 8, Boston Harbor Distillery, Dirty Water Distillery, Bully Boy, Allagash, GrandTen, Sons of Liberty, Dovetail Sake and Ripe, will be on hand sampling their spirits and brews through tastings, specialty cocktails, and more.
State Lines: New England in your Backyard
Saturday, May 21, 8-11 p.m.
New this year, experience some of the great bars from all over New England at this fun, non-ticketed event. Some of the region’s top bartenders are partnering up with local bars to bring their style and skills to Boston. Can’t get up to Portland as much as you’d like? The Hunt & Alpine Club will be shaking up cocktails at Trina’s Starlite Lounge. Other highlights include The Baldwin Bar coming to The Hawthorne and Armsby Abbey to Audubon. Create your own citywide pub crawl and sip cocktail specials at each spot.
Sunday, May 22, 8:30-11:30 p.m.
The popular Sunday bash is back for the third time, this year featuring 12 teams of three competing head-to-head for best blended cocktail. Led by team captains from New England’s top bars & restaurants, guests will vote on the winning concoction. Local captains include Fred Yarm (Loyal Nine), Tainah Soares (Trina’s Starlite Lounge), Jason Cool (Franklin Cafe), and Nicole Eclair (Hojoko) with visiting captains Jesse Hedberg (The Eddy), Gigi Mall (Tiqa), Roger Gross (Highland Brass), and Oriana Conklin (Bubala’s).
Craft Cider: From Orchard to Glass
Saturday, May 21, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
No longer New England’s best-kept beverage secret, cider is popping up on menus at bars and restaurants all over the country these days. It’s shed its too-sweet reputation, and now cider is known as a sophisticated and complex beverage that can stand on its own or take the place of beer, wine, and even a cocktail. Eleanor Léger, founder of Eden Specialty Ciders and one of the most knowledgeable producers around, leads this seminar covering different styles of craft cider, how they are produced, and how to pair food with cider. Get a wealth of information and taste a selection of the area’s brands.
Better Together: Pairing Food with Cocktails
Saturday, May 21, 12:15-1:45 p.m.
With wine pairings nearly ubiquitous, it’s time cocktails got in on the food game. Ashish Mitra (Russell House Tavern) and Dan Lynch (Blue Dragon) will lead attendees through a tasting of three Junipero Gin cocktails, each paired with a dish that features botanical flavors. Sip while tasting donuts, crackers with cheese, and even oysters, and get ready to take your entertaining chops to the next level by learning how to incorporate cocktails into the time-honored tradition of pairing drinks with food.
Entertaining Like A Pro
Saturday, May 21st, 3:45-5:15 p.m.
Led by Tucker Reeks, Certified Specialist of Spirits and Brown-Forman Boston Whiskey Brand Champion, and Ándrea Pentabona, experienced Boston bartender and current Bar Manager at Waltham’s Red Bird, learn from the pros. This hands-on class will teach you how to make any format of cocktail for entertaining at home. From made-to-order classics like an Old Fashioned to large-format pitchers and punches for a group, easily-sourced local ingredients will wow your guests. Tucker and Ándrea will lead you through preparing a range of drink options that all share one base spirit, Old Forester Whiskey.
Nix the Mix: Margaritas from Scratch
Sunday, May 22, 12:15-1:15 p.m. or 1:30-2:30 p.m.
The margarita is the most popular cocktail in America, yet most of the ones served in bars and restaurants leave much to be desired. An entire mixer industry has sprouted up in the service of making the margarita “easier” to make when the traditional way is impossibly easy—without the use of artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. In this class, “the Tipsy Texan” David Alan of the Patrón Spirits Company will discuss the history of the margarita, taste acceptable variations, and lead guests in a shake-your-own demonstration of proper technique. Every cocktail enthusiast should know how to make this simple classic cocktail, and guests will leave this seminar with not just the know-how, but also their own tools of the trade.
Creating and Catching the Rising Tide of Cocktails
Monday, May 23, 11 am.-12:30 p.m.
With the help of an expert panel, Ian McLaren, Director of Advocacy for Bacardi USA, will break down examples of how and why some cities, bars and bartenders have risen to the top and how where you live needn’t be a barrier to success. Having himself started his career in the small market of Edinburgh, Scotland and watched his city churn out a generation of talent that has gone on to run some of the best bars in the world, McLaren has been a keen ‘student of the game’ for nearly two decades running bars, training schools and ambassador networks in the UK and USA. Using examples from both sides of the Atlantic and beyond, this seminar will map out what it takes to succeed in modern bartending regardless of whether you are from Boston or Boise, Biloxi or the Bronx.
Keeping Boston Talent(ed)
Monday, May 23, 12:45-2:15 p.m.
Boston produces great talent, you can see it across our city and across our country. Pound for pound and person for person our ranks represent some of the best of what’s out there but we consistently lose talent to the big cities. This panel discussion, put on by Drew Cesario from Absolut Elyx, is an open conversation about how we can holistically grow our city from the inside. Let’s change the tide of talent leaving, discuss opportunities happening inside our bars, distributors, wineries and distillers from leaders in each that can help build our great city. Joining Cesario in the conversation is Ryan Lotz of Bar Mezzana, Sam Treadway co-owner of Ames St. Deli and Backbar, Molly Hopper-Sandrof of Eastern Standard, Will Thompson of Yvonne’s, and Ashley Cesario of Jordan Wines.
– Text & images courtesy Thirst Boston