Here's How to Make the Most This Year's San Antonio Cocktail Conference

click to enlarge STACEY LOVETT
Stacey Lovett
Since its inaugural outing in 2012, the San Antonio Cocktail Conference has grown in leaps and bounds, earning consistent support from the local community and nods of approval from big-name publications like Fodor’s and Paste magazine — all while donating hundreds of thousands of dollars from event proceeds to area charities such as ChildSafe, the Children’s Shelter, HeartGift San Antonio and Transplants for Children. Founded by restaurateur and chef Mark Bohanan and presented under the umbrella of Houston Street Charities, the five-day affair strives to be much more than just “an opportunity to drink” as it brings together a far-flung assortment of liquor reps, cocktail enthusiasts, bartenders and other industry pros for guided tastings, paired dinners, swanky parties and niche seminars exploring everything from sustainability and “functional bar flair” to Puerto Rican bar-scene history and women in mezcal.

Kicked off this past Sunday with a boozy brunch in Boerne, this year’s packed program continues through Sunday with more than 90 individual offerings. Standing out among the highlights are Wednesday’s Women Shaking It Up: The Art of Being Awesome event celebrating female bartenders, chefs, community leaders and business owners in an artsy setting with hands-on creative opportunities ($65, 7:30-10:30pm Wed Jan. 16, SAY Sí, 1518 S. Alamo St.); Thursday’s newly reimagined “opening night” party Come & Taste It, which mixes cocktails, historical reenactments and period musicians in the Alamo-centric confines of the Battle for Texas: The Experience attraction ($85, 7:30-11pm Thu Jan. 17, Battle for Texas: The Experience, 849 E. Commerce St.); the return of Friday’s luxe Waldorf on the Prairie shindig with top-notch libations, cuisine samples and music amid the old-school splendor of the St. Anthony Hotel ($100, 7:30-11pm Fri Jan. 18, St. Anthony Hotel, 300 E. Travis St.); the introduction of a clever theme in the form of Saturday’s Cocktails in the Enchanted Forest, set in a woodland-inspired spread inside the La Villita Assembly Hall ($85, 7:30-11pm Sat Jan. 19, La Villita Assembly Hall, 418 Villita St.); and Sunday’s closing hurrah, the It’s Not Over Yet: Gospel Brunch, which promises to wrap things up on a posh note at SACC’s official birthplace of Bohanan’s with uplifting music, brunch faves and an abundance of the hair of the dog that bit you ($75, 11am-1:30pm Sun Jan. 20, Bohanan’s Bar, 219 E. Houston St.).

While you’re out in the thick of it, keep an eye out for SACC’s signature cocktail for 2019: Call Me, Honey — a concoction combining Deep Eddy vodka, lemon juice, orange juice, honey syrup and a muddled cardamom pod, garnished with cinnamon and a lemon wheel (snag the recipe directly from the source at

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