New York has the Manhattan Cocktail Classic; New Orleans has Tales of the Cocktail. Now, Boston has Thirst Boston, a drink festival making its debut from Nov. 9 to 11, 2013.
Founded by four local industry pros, TJ Connelly, Andrew Deitz, Maureen Hautaniemi, and Brandy Rand, the event brings together even more notables from Boston (and other national and international cities), all to chat about coffee, cocktails, beer, and more. There's Will Thompson from Boston favorite Drink, Tyler Wang of Kirkland Tap and Trotter, Jake Robinson of Counter Culture Coffee, historian David Wondrich, Jackson Cannon of The Hawthorne, and more.
"If you think of Boston as a beer city, you’re really missing out on the last 10 years of amazing cocktail bars that have come up and great cocktail programs," Cannon told The Daily Meal in a phone interview, noting that the festival also celebrates beer and coffee culture. "We have a very enthusiastic clientele and this is a way to celebrate and have them learn something that they might not have known."
This means seminars ranging from the beer back to women in whiskies, to Japanese whiskies or coffee and cocktails. Plenty of seminars also deal with Boston history: "Old World vs. New World" examines New England cocktails with Wondrich, while "Boston Cocktails: Past, Present, and Future" brings together Cannon, Josh Childs of Silvertone, and John Gertsen of Drink to trace cocktails all the way back to colonial times.
"We’ve had great bars here for a long time and cocktails as we understand them today are really formed in the late 19th century," Cannon said. "But their roots go back to colonial times, with drinks that come right out of tavern culture." Naturally, Prohibition played a large role in the cocktail's evolution (there's a seminar on that), and beer's history is just as varied (yep, a seminar on that, too). Head over to Thirst Boston for the full list of events.