While this site is about and for DC and the surrounding areas, sometimes there are worthwhile events worth traveling for, such as the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. The opening gala on May 17 takes DC’s annual Repeal Day Ball and turns the dials up to about 35: it takes over the main branch of the New York Public Library, with space for a few thousand guests and multiple bars, bands, speakeasies, and hidden delights scattered around four floors of the building. It ain’t cheap though. This year the organizers have announced a new Uber VIP package, which includes VIP admission to the gala, transportation from Uber, and access to the MCC’s parallel Industry Invitational event, which runs from May 18-20.
What’s the Industry Invitational? It’s an inside look at all sides of the business, with sessions on history, operations, trends, best practices, and, oh, free spirits tastings all day long. For three days. If you’ve ever wondered what really goes into your cocktail glass – the who, the what, the how, and the how much – there’s no better way to learn than by spending three days attending professional seminars. Last year (on a press pass) I attended talks on the economics of production, the effects of filtration, the importance of ice, and a demonstration on how to use a rotovap or an iSi siphon to infuse spirits with flavors like habañero pepper or coffee. Plus countless others I’ve forgotten, since I had a cocktail in my hand by noon every day.
The gala is worth attending (if you can afford it, that is), and the public events are a blast, but if you’re a cocktail nerd the Industry Invitational might just be worth the cost of the ticket and the trip to New York.
Disclosures: we have received no compensation for this post but the Social Chair and I attended last year’s event on a press pass, and due to a misunderstanding, inadvertently crashed the opening Gala (and were let in with VIP passes once all was said and done). I wouldn’t recommend it if we hadn’t enjoyed and learned from it.