A Love Affair with Liquids: Behind the Scenes of San Antonio Cocktail Conference 2014

A Love Affair with Liquids: Behind the Scenes of San Antonio Cocktail Conference 2014One of a limited number of cocktail conferences in the U.S. is held right here in the Alamo City from Jan. 16-19, 2014. But what does it actually take to entertain and educate aficionados and newcomers during the largest cocktail weekend in Texas?

San Antonio Cocktail Conference sold 4,750 tickets, drew attendees from 25 states and served 265 varieties of cocktails in 2013. Production of the event requires dedication from four individuals with full-time careers, and volunteered time from many others in the months leading up to the conference.

The planning process begins from a logistical standpoint in which cocktail recipes are collected from sponsoring brands and partnering bars. Each recipe is then broken down and recorded on a master list according to ingredients required and calculations based on estimated attendance.

“Planning San Antonio Cocktail Conference requires intense organization and sharp attention to detail because we don’t want to waste ingredients,” said Jenny Rabb, San Antonio Cocktail Conference event coordinator. “Each year, our volunteer team dedicates time to map out how ingredients will be cut, juiced and stored to ensure only the freshest cocktails for attendees.”

Volunteers handle all back-of-house preparation from extracting fruit juices from thousands of lemons, limes and oranges to filling five-gallon buckets with batches of mixture. They also organize the transportation of ingredients from a walk-in cooler to a central production location — generally the Sheraton Gunter Hotel.

A Love Affair with Liquids: Behind the Scenes of San Antonio Cocktail Conference 2014

Statistics from 2013

  • 3,554 Participants
  • 25 States Represented
  • 70 Texas Cities Represented
  • 457 Volunteers
  • 31 Classes
  • 41 Presenters


  • 267 Varieties of Cocktails
  • 9,173 Glassware Rented
  • 10,000 Lemons
  • 3,558 Oranges
  • 80 Pounds of Limes
  • 47 Pounds of Mint
  • 75 Pounds of Cucumber
  • 20 Pounds of Jalapeños
  • 75 Pounds of Pineapple
  • 31 Pounds of Blackberries
  • 150 Pounds of Ginger Root


  • $75,000 to HeartGift San Antonio
  • 3 Children’s Lives Saved

A Love Affair with Liquids: Behind the Scenes of San Antonio Cocktail Conference 2014When showtime rolls around, the team is on a fast track to prepare cocktails in the roughly 9,000 glassware that are continuously used, washed and re-circulated throughout the weekend. Runners are constantly restocking syrups and ice since production of cocktails is continual and ingredients can quickly run low.

“Bohanan’s staff and volunteers from partnering bars are the manpower behind the Cocktail Conference, and the event wouldn’t be possible without their hard work,” Rabb said. “Many don’t sleep during the preparation and actual conference weekend because the process is so rigorous and time consuming.”
The dedicated staff is responsible for the creation and distribution of thousands of drinks during the weekend and is also relied upon to execute all cleanup.

“The Cocktail Conference process from start to finish is brilliant and a pleasure to see,” said Chris Ware, bar manager at Arcade Midtown Kitchen. “The team pulls out all stops to make every aspect of the weekend successful.”

To see this unbelievable process come to life, come to San Antonio Cocktail Conference for an experience unlike any other. Significant effort goes into creating an incredible weekend for cocktail experts, enthusiasts and novices alike. The weekend features must-attend events with great music, delicious cuisine and the best hand-crafted cocktails in Texas; so join us for the cocktail celebration of 2014! For more information on classes, parties and presenters, visit www.sacocktailconference.com.

A Love Affair with Liquids: Behind the Scenes of San Antonio Cocktail Conference 20142014 Events Schedule
Thursday, Jan. 16

  • 7 – 11 p.m. – Opening Gala at the Majestic Theater

Friday, Jan. 17

  • Seminars at Sheraton Gunter Hotel throughout the day from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.
  • 4 – 6 p.m. – Happy Hour and Sherry Slam co-hosted by The Monterey and Virtuoso Selections
  • 6 p.m. – Weston Centre Rio San Antonio Cruises to Pearl sponsored by Rémy Cointreau
  • 7 – 11 p.m. – Pearl Stable Soiree
  • An “All Texas Spirits Night” with musical guest The Rick Cavender Band.

Saturday, Jan. 18

  • Seminars and tasting rooms throughout the day from 12 – 5 p.m.
  • 6 – 10 p.m. – Houston Street Stroll
  • Bohanan’s and Lüke partner to create an unforgettable evening menu.
  • 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. – Empire Theatre After Party
  • The 86 Co. hosts spirit-filled party with musical guest The Spazmatics.

Sunday, Jan. 19

  • 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Bloody Mary Brunch hosted by Deep Eddy Vodka at Sheraton Gunter Hotel
  • 2 p.m. – Movie Screening of “Hey Bartender” at Aztec Theatre
  • 5 – 8 p.m. – Original Cocktail Competition sponsored by William Grant & Sons at Aztec Theatre
  • 8 p.m. – A Tribute to Tequila sponsored by La Margarita
  • 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. – Closing Party
  • The Brooklynite will throw a closing party to remember.

Visit www.sacocktailconference.com for more information on available seminars.

About San Antonio Cocktail Conference 2014
Welcoming cocktail novices and enthusiasts, industry experts, sponsors, and regional and national media to San Antonio from Jan. 16-19, 2014, San Antonio Cocktail Conference 2014 combines education with good old-fashioned fun. With seminars, tastings, evening soirees, after parties and more, the conference benefits HeartGift San Antonio, a nonprofit organization that provides life-saving heart surgery to children from countries where necessary care is unavailable to them, and ChildSafe, a child advocacy center that specializes in providing services to children who have been abused or neglected.