It’s about time somebody launched a festival dedicated solely to the consumption of booze, with zero pretense of cultural distractions like movies or music. The first-ever Manhattan Cocktail Classic kicks off this weekend, with events like “The Agave Session: The Magical Elixirs of Mexico,” and “Cocktail Kingdom Presents: A Practical Guide to Barware from Around the World.” Beyond the seminars, which promise to have many tastings, there’s a series called “Stories from Behind the Bar” where you can get up close and personal with bartending talent on their home turf.
You can hang out with Julie Reiner of Clover Club, Dushan Zaric & Jason Kosmas of Employees Only, Audrey Saunders of Pegu Club, and Jim Meehan of PDT. The “Stories” series allows for tastings of signature cocktails and the regaling of hilarious bar tales. The grand finale on Sunday night takes place at the New York Public Library’s Astor Hall, with big band jazz, classic pre-Prohibition food, and plenty of dancing. Most of the events take place at Astor Center downtown, and tickets run about $50, though the final event on Sunday is $100. Check it out for yourself here. Or follow them on Twitter here.