Sasha Petraske—owner of Milk & Honey, Little Branch, Dutch Kills, and one of the Mount Rushmore faces of the neo-classic cocktail era—has founded his own cocktail convention. It's called the San Antonio Cocktail Conference, and the inaugural event will take place Jan. 26-29, 2012.
That Petraske would launch such a venture is somewhat surprising. Among the leading lights of the cocktail world, he is perhaps also the most elusive. He avoids talking to the press, and has only rarely presented seminars at other cocktail confabs, such as Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, where he sits on the founding advisory board.
Petraske said he decided to create the convention because he had become enamored of San Antonio during his various business visits to the Texas city. Moreover, the bash will not be for profit. Conference proceeds will benefit HeartGift San Antonio, "a group of surgeons, pediactric cardiologists, medical personnnel, volunteers, and host families dedicated to providing life-saving heart surgery to disadvantaged children living in developing countries where specialized treatment is scarce or nonexsistent."
Many seminars during the four-day event will be manned by an array of bartenders from the Petraske circle. Eric Alperin, a partner with Petraske in L.A. The Varnish, will present "Ice the Old Fashioned Way." Courtney Munch, another Varnish bartender, will teach "Yoga for Bartenders, Waitresses and Drinkers." Sam Ross, barman at Milk & Honey, will talk about bitters in "The Bitter Truth." Lucinda Sterling, senior bartender at Little Branch, will talk about sweetening agents in "Not Too Sweet." And Abraham Hawkins of Dutch Kills will discuss "The Old-Fashion Cocktail."
Also presenting are Christy Pope, Chad Solomon, John Lermayer, Michael Madrusan, Lauren Schell, Toby Cecchini, Brian Miller, Don Lee and Theo Liebermann.
Tickets and info are available at www.SACocktailConference.com. I