As a girl who can make ANYTHING into a drinking game, I figured a trip to something called a Cocktail Conference would be a good adventure. I received no fewer than three invitations, so I thought was definitely a sign that I needed to give my liver a pep talk and do this. So I did.
For people who peddle booze, they're WAY more organized than my favorite bootleggers on Boardwalk Empire could ever be! You think Nucky would ever be so legit he'd have not just one but TWO glossy books detailing the agenda and mapping the places participants can go to learn about drinks and sample them (because just letting someone look at alcoholic beverages but never sample them would be as mean as taking a baking lesson and never getting a bite of cake).
We set out Saturday morning to see what this was all about. We watched a competition where bartenders were given ridiculous drink orders and were graded based on the amounts of alcohol in the drink. Apparently, they used to judge these competitions on taste, but that's subjective and participants could fill the room with their pals. Then, they passed these drinks around the room for all to sample. I had a sip of one drink from the first contestant. I am so easily impressed (and uncoordinated), I might have gasped when I saw him shaking a drink with one hand while stirring a drink with the other. It wasn't tossing bottles in the air (a la Cocktail) but it was magical!
Then, it was off to the tasting room. I'm going to try to tell you what I remember from these photos.
Tito's vodka. Made in Texas, y'all! That was a little taste of margarita. It was good. NOTE: I can't figure out how to make iPhone focus on things in the foreground sometimes. And some of those times are when I'm all "OOOOH! Tequila!!!"
I filled my goodie bag with a koozie, pin and I think a sticker. I'm not sure.
This whiskey was not fancy. The guy on the right (who I kept looking at thinking he looked familiar before I realized he resembles Giovani Ribisi) wanted us to know how unfancy this booze was. He said it was for shooting. Then he offered us a Lone Star to chase it. Every bit of that made this booze a little cooler. It probably did not taste awesome, but who cares? It was FREE. And he was honest. You can't not like that. And if you can, you're a snobby jerk.
If you ever get the chance to go to one of these things, do it. Just have a driver or a plan that involves food (which, aside from olives and lemons, was not around) and nothing else on your schedule.
PS - you should know that consuming just about every type of alcohol in the world will NOT kill a cold. It will only make it angry.