Industry elite and local enthusiasts sign up for the Manhattan Cocktail Classic.
Last year's Manhattan Cocktail Classic program included a deep dive into sherry. (photo: Filip Wolack)
Anyone who’s had a drink at PDT, Little Branch, or The Dead Rabbit knows that skilled mixology is an art. Once a year the city’s most accomplished mixologists and bartenders, retailers, distillers, brand ambassadors, and drink enthusiasts join in a celebration of that art and the wonders of the mixed drink at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, a five-day festival starting May 9.
Events throughout the week—some for trade, some for everyone—include the Industry Invitational (the festival’s annual trade conference), artisanal spirit tastings, a distillery visit, seminars, and interactive workshops. The Classic kicks off with a gala at the New York Public Library, where more than 3,000 guests will sample over 25,000 handcrafted cocktails, including those from Hangar One Vodka, which will be hosting the “Craft in a Glass” lounge during the party.
The liquor label will feature six female bartenders to celebrate its new (female) distiller Caley Shoemaker and to showcase vodka’s versatility. “I think it might be the year of the vodka,” says bartender Jane Elkins, of Flatiron’s Junoon and East Village’s Summit Bar, who will participate in the lounge. “We’re seeing a resurgence of it and welcoming it back to the cocktail community.”