Can you make a perfectly dry martini? Do you know how to make a margarita that achieves the right balance of natural sweetness and tartness? Do you know how to modify a classic cocktail when using the cucumber-flavored Hendrick’s Gin instead of a regular gin?
Anyone who loves a finely crafted cocktail knows that it takes plenty of studying to get the right mix.
But it also begs another question: Can you think of any studies that are more flavorful and more conducive to partying?
That’s the format of the first San Antonio Cocktail Conference, which kicked off Thursday night with, appropriately enough, a cocktail party.
Chef Mark Bohanan, a driving force behind the conference, opened the bar at his Houston Street place to more than 350 cocktail lovers. The crowd went from the luxurious interior, where a jazz combo kept things lively, to the neighboring patio.
The balmy January evening was perfect for traveling among the various tables where patrons could drink cocktails made with the likes of tequila, vodka, gin, Cognac and Champagne as well as such flavorings as coconut, ginger, lime and honey.
The whole conference is a fund-raiser for HeartGift, a local charity that provides medical assistance to children from around the world in need of heart surgery.
The overflowing crowd put a big smile on Mark Bohanan’s face. It must also be gratifying to know that some of the seminars today and Saturday have sold out. (For a schedule of events, including river cruises, parties at SoHo, Ocho and the Esquire Tavern, and Sunday brunch at the Sheraton Gunter, click here.)
Corey Morris, a bartender at Bohanan’s, offered a few tips for making a good cocktail at home:
- Make sure your ingredients are good. You can taste it when they’re not.
- Make sure you use good ice. Ice with an off flavor can affect your drink.
- Don’t shake your drink too much. Ice that melts too soon can water down your drink.
That’s just a taste of what’s to come over the next few days, including sessions in Forgotten Cocktails, the Wonderful World of Gin and the homegrown Lone Star Cocktails.
While working at Bohanan’s, Morris has studied under several master mixologists, including the internationally regarded Sasha Petraske of Milk & Honey. Petraske is just one of the people who will be leading seminars, which means that anyone with passion for making perfect cocktails can learn what bartenders know. Or you can just sit back and absorb the intoxicating atmosphere that’s marking the inaugural cocktail conference.