By John Griffin & Bonnie Walker
The throngs on the first floor of the Majestic Thursday.
Here's a great way to ring in the new year (in case you didn't do it quite right a couple of weeks back.)
Dress up, go downtown, then join several hundred other people at a historic theater, wander from cocktail table to bar to a balcony to catch some fresh air.
Then, go back inside and do it again.
That was the scene Thursday night at the Majestic during the opener for the third annual San Antonio Cocktail Conference.
Hundreds of people wandered through the four floors of the theater, sampling everything from rum punches and French 75s while sampling bites from Feast, The Friendly Spot, the Monterey, GauchoGourmet, TasteElevated and Restaurant Gwendolyn. Jason Dady offered a sneak peak of his new restaurant, Umai Mi, by offering tamarind-glazed brisket with spicy peanuts and pickles. It's supposed to open next week, Crystal Dady said.
Meanwhile, people were enjoying a host of cocktails, some elaborate and some simply delicious.
The Cointreau Rickey (recipe below) would be a perfect refresher on a hot summer's day, and all you had to do to make one was mix the orange liqueur with fresh squeezed lime juice and soda. You could muddle your own additions to the drink, including cucumber, mint, raspberries, strawberries and basil leaves.
Treaty Oak Rum out of Austin mixed up a daiquiri, while Magellan's Last Word was a voyage of sweet and tangy with its mix of Magellan's Gin, Maraschino, lime juice and Chartreuse.
Cigar-maker draws a crowd.
Out on the balcony a cigar-maker was flattening and cutting leaves of tobacco and fashioning smokes, trying to keep up with the audience of interested onlookers.
While munching on a cocktail cupcake from Gigi's Cupcakes or snacks from the Art Institute, you could sip a Cutty Side Scuttle created by Benji Pocta of Chino Chinatown in Dallas. The winning drink featured Cutty Sark, lemon juice, simple syrup, ginger beer, Sandeman Port and Angostura Bitters.
Next to him, Ryan Sumner of Driftwood in Dallas was mixing up Judy Is a Punch cocktails complete with umbrellas and skewers of mint, lime and a marinated cherry. The drink featured Brugal Extra Dry Rum, lime, grenadine, Demerara, Allspice Dram and Herbsaint.
Of course, all of the fun was for a good cause. The San Antonio Cocktail Conference is a fundraiser for two children's charities, HeartGift and ChildSafe San Antonio. Plenty of events remain from today through Sunday. For more information on the conference, click here
For a Cointreau Rickey, use a siphon or club soda.
2 ounces Cointreau
1 ounce fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
4 ounces club soda
Simply pour Cointreau and fresh lime juice into glass and fill with ice. Top off with club soda and stir.
Variation: For a Cucumber Mint Rickey, muddle 3 slices cucumber and 5 mint leaves in the bottom of your glass. Add the ingredients above .Garnish with a sprig of mint.
Makes 1 cocktail.
Judy Is a Punch