Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cocktail Geeks to Meet Theatre Geeks at 2012 Manhattan Cocktail Classic

The 2012 Manhattan Cocktail Classic is upon us. And, as if the bartenders and cocktails weren't theatrical enough, this year there's actual theatre. From the New York Times:
Cocktail Conference to Mix Whiskey With ‘Macbeth’
The quality of the drinking at the site-specific Off-Broadway show “Sleep No More” is going to climb steeply at the May 14 performance. There has always been a bar at the fictitious McKittrick Hotel, where this free-form, wordless, immersive deconstruction of “Macbeth” takes place. But you can’t take your drink with you as you follow the performers over the six-floor playing space.
At the May 14 show — one of the centerpiece events at this year’s Manhattan Cocktail Classic symposium — attendees will be handed a series of drams and cocktails made with Bowmore 15-Year-Old Darkest, an Islay Single-Malt Scotch (as well as assorted nibbles, to preserve equilibrium). The libations are part of the $125 admission price.
The classic’s founder and director, Lesley Townsend, saw the show in December. (For reasons unclear, “Sleep No More” has become a hot ticket among New York mixologists and liquor professionals.) “I thought, the only thing that would make this better is if I could get a drink,” Ms. Townsend said.. You might even see an actor or two onstage with a whiskey in hand. “They’re being incredibly flexible with their art,” she said.
This year’s mixed-drink conference will take play May 11 through 15. As in previous years, its opening night gala will overwhelm the Fifth Avenue branch of the New York Public Library. Unlike in past years, Astor Center on Lafayette Street will not be the festival’s hub. Instead, most of the public seminars will be held at noted cocktail bars in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, among them Raines Law Room, Pegu Club, Dutch Kills, Death & Co., PDT, Weather Up Tribeca, Mother’s Ruin, The Beagle, The Tippler, 1534, Apotheke and Employees Only.
“We’re doing this in New York City because it has this crazy concentration of bars and restaurants,” Ms Townsend said. Seminars include:
– “The Second Annual British Invasion,” a look at classic British cocktails (expect much gin);
– “Ladies Behind Bars,” an assessment of the role of women in drinking history (among them, “widow Alice Guest who ran her public house from a cave in colonial Philadelphia”);
– “Cocktails for the Rest of Us,” which examines how the Midtown craft cocktail bar Rum House has tried to steer “Times Square tourists from Coronas and shots, to stirred cocktails”;
– and “A Suburban Tiki Safari,” which will take ticket holders to forgotten, “once glamorous bastions of faux Polynesia” in New Jersey and on Staten Island.
“Next year we’ll do an event in the Bronx, and then we can declare complete borough domination,” Ms. Townsend joked.
Also new this year is the “Industry Invitational,” a collection of talks, events and presentations — all at the Andaz 5th Avenue hotel — geared toward mixologists, bar owners and other liquor professionals. As the title indicates, attendance is by invitation only, but interested members of the beverage industry can go online to apply for entry.
Pre-sale for the public starts Wednesday at noon, on the festival’s Facebook page, where would-be ticketbuyers can access a code to use on the MCC Web site. Tickets will go on sale on the Web site itself on Thursday at noon.

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