While New England is no stranger to beer fests, the city will see its first major cocktail-centric extravaganza take place next weekend with the Boston Cocktail Summit. The gathering will bring together a showcase of fine spirits, cocktail tastings, informative seminars and lectures and appearances from some of the biggest local and international names in the bartending world.
Spearheaded by organizers and veteran Boston bartenders Alexei Beratis and Jamie Walsh, it comes at a time when Boston has finally carved out a respected space for itself on the national cocktail map.
"Boston has been a growing destination city and our bartenders and cocktail bars have helped create that, but never received the recognition as the chefs ... have," Beratis says. "Over the past few years the recognition has started to come on the national level, but this type of event is long overdue."
The summit features about 60 seminars and panel discussions led by the likes of cocktail experts Dale DeGroff, David Wondrich, F. Paul Pacult, Gaz Regan, Steve Olson and Wayne Curtis, as well as the cream of Boston's own crop like Brother Cleve, John Gertsen, Misty Kalkofen and Jackson Cannon. The range of topics covered will move from master level certification classes in mezcal to the history of Boston's bar culture and in-depth looks at specific spirits. Yours truly will make an appearance on Saturday in the author's lounge among a lineup of much more talented and important writers.
It’s not just for industry professionals
You needn’t be a seasoned pro to find something of value in the seminars, or even many of the great parties at the summit, says Beratis.
“I feel we have interesting and fun events for all. Yes, some are industry-focused, but many are of general interest and some, like ‘Making Great Gin Cocktails at Home’ and ‘How to Order a Great Wine Every Time’ are being offered for the everyday consumer. We tried to leave no level out, as this touches us all and has and will for years.”
Regional and revolutionary cocktails
Though it’s similar to other established festivals, such as Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, Beratis says there’s a decided northeast feel to the event, including sessions that focus on rum, which he refers to as “the spirit that built New England.”
There will also be sessions that look into the historical aspects of punch and cocktails from the area in the 18th century. “These give the event a more regional feel than others of this type,” says Beratis.
If you go
Boston Cocktail Summit
Boston Park Plaza
and the Royal Sonesta
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