Quench your thirst for cocktail excellence at Thirst Boston this weekend

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Photos by Natasha Moustache :: natashamoustache.com
Editor’s note: The photos that ran in the Nov. 7 print edition of the Metro were also by Natasha Moustache, mistakenly credited as “Provided.”

There’s never been a better time to be a patron of the drinking arts. A boom in knowledge about, and an unprecedented breadth of options for, cocktails has revolutionized the way we drink — and the ways we think about what it is we’re drinking. That’s particularly true in Boston, home to some of the most renowned bars and bar professionals in the country.

With that in mind, this weekend’s Thirst Boston, held largely at the Commonwealth Hotel, aims to both edify, and (this being about drinking after all) entertain, with three days of parties, seminars and tastings from some of our own tippling icons.

“It’s an event for thirsty people,” Brandy Rand, one of the Thirst Boston founders explains. “If there’s such a thing as foodies, we’re for drinkies. Or drunkies. I prefer drinkies.”

Rand, a former beverage brand marketer and spirits writer, says the events — including a grand cocktail gala; a cheeky cocktail competition; seminars on the evolution of bourbon, beer and coffee cocktails, molecular mixology and the history and uses of sherry, tequila and many other spirits — is both a celebration for and of the Boston bar scene. At other cocktail-centric conferences around the world, she says, “Everyone who comes from the Boston industry are always known as an awesome close-knit family. The goal of Thirst was to celebrate our great beverage community, bring everyone together to show their talents and their passion for what they do.”

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It’s also a great opportunity for at-home bartenders and aficionados to learn. A bartending academy run by the renowned House of Bols in Amsterdam, for example, will be a hands-on workshop for both professionals and amateurs alike. “We didn’t want something that was 100 percent for bartenders, we wanted our bartenders as teachers, people who are really connecting and being the face of our beverage community,” Rand says.

It’s not all learning, of course. Mid-day, there will be liquid lounges for festival-goers to relax in and sip at. One highlight will be Sunday night’s Blender Bender, featuring 12 of Boston’s best competing head-to-head. “It’s kind of a cheesy, 1980s tiki theme with tongue-in-cheek frozen drinks,” she says. “Super fun.”

But not too much fun. Unlike other, similar conferences, they wanted to keep things short and sweet. “We didn’t want it to be a week-long and overwhelming, like Tales of the Cocktail [in New Orleans],” she says. That’s why it’s mostly on Sunday and Monday, so the industry professionals can actually get the night off. “Every fantastic bartender, will be here in some capacity,” she says. “You won’t want to drink anywhere else in the city.”

Thirst Boston is November 9-11. Specific seminar times and ticket prices vary. Visit thirstboston.com for tickets and more info.


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