The first-ever five-day festival -- "part conference, part cocktail party" as the organizers call it -- features seminars, hands-on classes and tastings to celebrate and explore the culture and the craft of the cocktail.
Discover boutique distillers, blend you own single malt whiskey, trace the history of the martini, celebrate Campari's 150th anniversary, discuss the roots of moonshine in the American South (and its present day renaissance) with a legendary bootlegger, sample Monastic tipples and cheeses, be regaled by tales from behind the bar.... these are just a sampling of the activities on tap.
The events take place at the Astor Center and bars around the city. For the gala kick-off party, top bartenders, chefs and all manner of revelers will take over all four floors of the New York Public Library (so if you find an errant olive among the solemn shelves the next time you are checking out a book, you'll know why).
The Cocktail Classic was dreamed up by thirteen bartenders, educators, bar owners and professional imbibers, including David Wondrich, a cocktail historian and author; Lesley Townsend, founding director of the Astor Center; mixologist Dale DeGroff, aka King Cocktail; and beverage director extraordinaire and Pegu co-owner Julie Reiner, to name a few.
For a complete list of events and tickets, go to http://2010tickets.manhattancocktailclassic.com/. If the event you want is sold out, console yourself with a stiff drink and the knowledge that the Cocktail Classic will return next year.