Hold onto your flutes, coupes and such. This is a cocktail-driven Flavor File.
To start us off, area bartenders, amateur and professional alike, have until midnight on Sunday, December 21 to turn in their original cocktail recipe for next year's San Antonio Cocktail Conference cocktail competition, which wraps up the festivities on Sunday, January 18 inside the Aztec Theater. Competition forms, recipes (made using sponsor William Grants portfolio of spirits, which includes Hendricks gin, Reyka vodka, Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey, Sailor Jerry spiced rum, Milagro tequila and more), a photo of said recipe and a $25 entry fee isn't necessarily asking for a whole lot, is it? To curtail the length of the competition, eight finalists will be announced on Sunday, January 4 in advance of the conference. Entrants will receive a ticket to the contest, whether they're chosen to participate or not; second place wins $1,000 cash and first place will take home $2,000 cash. For judging and recipe guidelines, visit sanantoniococktailconference.com.
While we wait for Mezcalería Mixtli to open its doors in January we can start getting our mezcal fix at The Monterey (1127 S St. Mary's, (210) 745-2581), which recently launched a new rotating menu of spirits. Created by two former Miss Speed Rack Texas winners, Karah Carmack (Hot Joy) and Elisabeth Forsythe (Barbaro), the menu also features nods to grapes, so folks can expect cocktails such as the Grandad's Smashed with Gran classic, Manzanilla sherry, mandarin orange, mint, honey and a salt solution, or the Suburban Home with rye, ruby port, lemon, simple syrup and Angostura. Get down there ASAP.
If you need to have an emergency cocktail in while shopping in Narnia—er, La Cantera—Perry's Steakhouse & Grille (15900 La Cantera Pkwy, Ste 22200) has added a few festive 'tails, incuding a Holiday Sparkle with Pimm's blackberry and elderflower liqueur, and a Oolong Whiskey Spice cocktail with Dickel No. 8 bourbon, mint, lemon, a hint of peach and oolong orange spice tea.
Holiday happenings are serious business and reservations are a must. Crumpets Restaurant & Bakery (3920 Harry Wurzbach, (210) 281-5600) will host a Christmas Eve dinner with select entrees and sides from 5:30-10 p.m. Azúca Nuevo Latino (713 S Alamo, (210) 225-5550) and sister eatery Starfish (709 S Alamo, (210) 375-4423) will host a New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball with a four-course menu, welcome drink and fireworks at midnight. Flying Saucer will turn into 1920s-era New York for a Great Gatsby New Year's Eve soiree at 9 p.m.; reservations for two ($50) include a table, your choice of Brooklyn Local 1 or 2 and a goody bag.