Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic

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Having attended a few cocktail conferences this past year I can safely say that food and drink conferences are my favorite kind of events. So of course I am over the moon about the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic that is coming September 12-13th. A weekend of getting to know amazing chefs, learning about food and wine trends in Cincinnati and around the world, and grand tastings every night? Yes please!! I am especially excited about the Four Bourbons, Four Ways being hosted by Molly Wellmann. Tickets are on sale now and are selling fast so get yours today. Here is their official press release with all the important info.

Cincinnati Food & Wine Classic Tickets On Sale Now

First Local Celebration to Offer Grand Tastings, Demos, Competitions, Seminars and After-Parties

Cincinnati, OH – Tickets for the first-annual Cincinnati Food & Wine Classic in Washington Park from September 12-13 are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at www.cincinnatifoodandwineclassic.com.

“This is a two-day epicurean event designed to capture the energy and enthusiasm of Cincinnati’s dynamic food scene,” says Courtney Tsitouris, co-founder of the Classic. “We’re showcasing local culinary talent and ingredients alongside nationally recognized chefs, wine and spirit experts, beer connoisseurs, authors, journalists, and network personalities.”

The Classic will include two completely different grand tastings on Friday and Saturday evening. Friday celebrates Cincinnati’s “Porkopolis” heritage with Pork Chopped, a competition judged by Andrew Knowlton of Bon Appétit, Keith Pandolfi of Saveur, and Top Chef Masters judge Francis Lam.

 

Saturday’s grand tasting will celebrate Cincinnati’s finest dining. Culinary demonstrations, wine and spirit seminars, panel discussions, chef competitions, book signings, and a Rising Star brunch take place Saturday morning and afternoon; and five individually themed VIP after-parties at downtown venues will cap off both evenings. A portion of proceeds will go to the Freestore Foodbank, the event’s non-profit partner.

“The word is out,” says Donna Covrett, co-founder and executive director with Tsitouris. “We have a vibrant food, wine, and brewing community that’s getting noticed by others. We’ve piqued the interest of publications such as Food & Wine, New York Times, USA Today, Travel & Leisure, and more as a beautiful city with a quirky-cool community of creative, talented, artisans of all sorts. It’s something to be proud of, explored, and shared.”

 

Local and national talent has already been confirmed for the event. Names include (but are not limited to):

 

Jean-Robert De Cavel + Daniel Wright + Michael Paley + Paul Sturkey + Julie Francis + Nate Appleman + Megan Ketover + Jonathon Sawyer + Keith Pandolfi + Jose Salazar + Tony Ferrari + Edward Lee + Todd Kelly + Stephen Williams + David Falk + Anne Kearney + Andrew Knowlton + Francis Lam + Elias Leisring + Nick Marckwald + Jeremy Lieb + Owen Maass + Levon Wallace + David Cook + Cristian Pietoso + Anthony Lamas + Joy Wilson + Jimmy Gibson + Stella Parks + Joel Molloy + Charles Redmond + Rom Wells + Ned Elliot + Anita Hirsch + Mark Bodenstein + Hideki Harada + Michael Worth + Ryan Santos + Kyle Johnson + Paul Barraco + Jim Cornwell + Pat Lafrieda + Vic Vegas

Tickets are priced as follows:

 

  • Grand Tasting Pass ($125): Friday Grand Tasting or Saturday Grand Tasting
  • Saturday Savor Pass ($190): Saturday Grand Tasting and 20+ Saturday Educational Experiences (culinary demos, wine and spirit seminars, panel discussions, competitions, and book signings)
  • Weekend Revel Pass ($290) Friday Grand Tasting, Saturday Grand Tasting, and 20+ Saturday Educational Experiences
  • VIP Pass ($390): Friday Grand Tasting, Saturday Grand Tasting, 20+ Saturday Educational Experiences with priority seating, exclusive VIP lounge, VIP swag bag, and admission into one VIP after party

 

For more information about scheduled talent, event programming, and ticket purchases, visit www.cincinnatifoodandwineclassic.com.

 

About Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic

Founded in 2014 by Donna Covrett and Courtney Tsitouris, the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic is a celebration of Cincinnati’s Porkopolis and fine dining heritage as a longstanding destination for Midwest food, beer and spirit excellence. The inaugural event, located at the doorstep of Music Hall in the historic Washington Park, features local, regional and national chefs showcasing local flavors through tastings, demos, seminars, and parties across the city. For a complete look at what’s in store, visit http://www.cincinnatifoodandwineclassic.com, or follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. #CFWC14

San Antonio Cocktail Conference in Seven Cocktails

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Well I survived the San Antonio Cocktail Conference for 2014 and I have finally sobered up enough to write about it. I was initially invited to attend the San Antonio Cocktail Conference because of my writing for Bourbon & Banter, (and for full disclosure I should let you know that they paid for my ticket and my hotel room,) but I can’t go to something like that without bragging about it to my Queen City friends. The four-day event consisted of educational cocktail sessions lead by some of the biggest names in the industry during the day and amazing parties each night where spirit brands had their own bartenders whipping up cocktails to show off their products. A full recap would take far to long so I decided to pick seven stand out cocktails from the weekend as a way of telling the story.

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The Imbibe 75 and the Come & Take It

The first two drinks of the weekend happened at the Imbibe Happy Hour at the Esquire Tavern. These two drinks really stand out in my mind as being some of the best of the weekend but that could be because they were the only two drinks I had while completely sober. The Imbibe 75 was a take on the classic French 75 cocktail but with the addition of lemongrass and cilantro for a really fresh taste. The Come & Take It was made with Glenroth Select Reserve whiskey, ginger liqueur, pineapple, lime, bitters, and garnished with a Luxardo cherry. Both were excellent and the band that night was great. The Esquire Tavern should absolutely be a stop if you are ever in San Antonio. 

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Angel’s Envy Manhattan at the Evolution of Barrel Aging Class

On of the things I was most excited about for SACC was to meet Wes Henderson and attend his class on the evolution of Barrel Aging. The class did not disappoint. Not only did I get an hour and half of hearing Wes discuss creating Angel’s Envy, his father Lincoln Henderson, and the changing field of barrel aging whiskey, I also got to try a selection of really fine whiskeys including Angel’s Envy cask strength and rye whiskeys. All of that and then they brought out an Angel’s Envy Manhattan. I would have normally thought that Angel’s Envy was too sweet a bourbon to use in a manhattan but this one was wonderfully balanced. I also got a chance to sit down and interview Wes Henderson for Charlie Tonic and you can hear that whole interview here.

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Palma Fizz in the Home Mixology Class with Sasha Petraske

One of the embarrassing things for me was how often I attended an event with someone at SACC and only later realized just how big a deal they really were. Such was the case with my first class of the session, a home mixology class led by none other than Sasha Petraske, the man behind Milk and Honey and one of the leaders of the cocktail revival movement. I learned a great many wonderful tips and tricks for my next cocktail party and got to try one of his signature drinks, the Palma Fizz, made with vodka, lime, ginger, rosewater, and seltzer. I loved how the rosewater added a strong dimension of smell that completely changed the way the other flavors interacted.

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The Pink Lady in the Women Behind Bars class

The Women Behind Bars was a seminar that looked at a history of women from both sides of the bar. The session, lead by Ladies United for the Presevation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC) looked at women’s historic roles as tavern keepers, prohibitionists, customers, and bartenders while the audience sipped on a few vintage cocktails. The Pink Lady was my favorite of the two. Made with gin, apple jack, lemon, egg white and grenadine, it is a wonderfully sophisticated drink. I really appreciated how well prepared this cocktail was considering they were making it in such large batches. That foam head is not always an easy thing to perfect in a cocktail.

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Martini made by Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric of The 86 Co. and Employee’s Only

Another memorably interview of the weekend was when Charlie and I sat down in the media room with Dushan Zaric and Jason Kosmas. These two legendary bartenders started Employee’s Only in NYC, which won best cocktail bar in the world in 2011, and have since gone on to create The 86 Co., a bartender-focused spirits company.  If you still don’t quite understand why I was geeking out about this go watch the documentary, Hey Bartender, which features the two of them heavily. Having now had a cocktail made for me by these two, I feel as if I’ve truly arrived. You can hear that interview in Episode 109 of the Charlie Tonic Hour.

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One of the best parts of the evening parties, aside from all the free drinks, food, music, and dancing, was getting to try new spirits that are not yet available in Ohio or even Kentucky. This cocktail from Friday night’s event Texas Spirits Night, was one if just many gorgeous drinks featuring Texas-made spirits. Made with Red River Rye Whiskey, it was a simple cocktail.  The anise and amaretto added sweetness without overpowering the whiskey and I loved the elegant little star floating as a garnish.

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Charlie as an Old Fashioned and me as a Gin and Tonic

Two of my favorite drinks of the weekend were not the kind you can drink. We attended two different events at The Brooklynite, a very hip bar near the riverwalk in San Antonio, and the drinks at both events were incredible. But at the after, after, party we attended there on Friday we go the chance to have our caricatures drawn by Dave Stolte. His book, “Home Bar Basics (and Not-So-Basics),” has been nominated for best cocktail book by Tales of the Cocktail and now we have a picture of ourselves as two of our favorite cocktail by him. It is one of my most treasured souvenirs of conference.

So there you have it. I wish we lived in some kind of a Star Trek future where you could reach into the pictures I post try them all yourself. There were so many other amazing drinks and events from the weekend that I am leaving out. If you want to see and hear everything head over to www.charlietonic.com where you can hear all the interviews and see pictures from each day of the event. And if you are looking for a starter cocktail conference I can’t recommend San Antonio highly enough. It has a beautiful city, great weather, friendly people, and a weekend of amazing drinks. I am counting down till next year already.