The fourth annual San Antonio Cocktail Conference wrapped up on Sunday, and it really wasn't a moment sooner. Not because the conference wasn't a blast, but because there's only so many days this food and nightlife writer can drink in a row.
After hydrating, eating some menudo, popping a Tylenol and gathering my thoughts on Monday, I've compiled a list of the best moments of the weekend, tiny tweaks and then some.
When you're trying upwards of 50 cocktails over the span of five days, things get fuzzy and palate fatigue kicks in — hard. But highlights did include a Santa Ana Punch made with Hendrick's gin by Steven Rickhoff of Esquire Tavern; A Feliz using Cinco vodka, Tuaca, rosemary simple syrup, egg white and topped with Champagne; Jake Corney of H&C Ice Co. used J.R. Ewing Bourbon, Licor 43, Angostura bitters and Reagan's orange bitters for a Zesty Sue Ellen on Friday night while ice-mate Andy Hack churned out a Velvet Hammer using Caffe Borghetti Liqueur, Cointreau and cream on Saturday; finally Matt Dulaney's Ginger Snap (Fernet-Branca, Canton ginger liqueur, lime juice, lemon juice, simple syrup and ginger ale) at Bohanan's on Saturday had the longest line of the evening.
Pardon my use of iPhone photography. But the bites of the weekend are a bit mix and match. Thursday's lineup included a grits dish via Folc, La Condesa took me back with a fresh chicharron with a pipette filled with delish Valentina, Bee's Knees Catering filled me up with a tortilla española and The Empty Stomach's group tickled the palate with crunchy, churro-style pig's ears. The sweet treat of the evening came through the Rosso Corsa sorbet. Robbie Nowlin's mini foie gras genoise was a rich little morsel on Friday night, along with fresh-as-heck ceviche by Lüke. Stefan Bower's itty bitty profiterole filled with Pernod-cured salmon, horseradish, black olive tapenade, Gina Marie cream cheese, tumeric-pickled crosnes was a delight. Austin's Noble Sandwiches delivered a duck pastrami I can't stop thinking about. Lick's Rebecca Creek-spiked horchata was another highlight. Saturday's Stroll featured bacon-wrapped, blue cheese-glazed hot dogs from the Original Hot Dog House on Bitters (which is opening a new location off St. Mary's and Mulberry!), spicy lettuce wraps via Acenar, a savory rice soup via Hot Joy and "cocktail" tamales via La Norteña Tortilla Factory in Pecos, Texas.