We don’t need much of an excuse to go out drinking in New York, so you can be sure we will be attending the Manhattan Cocktail Classic next month. The fourth edition of the fest includes five days of parties, seminars, tastings and demos. Here are the events you shouldn’t miss.
Speed Rack Finals (Thursday, May 16):
Speed Rack is not officially part of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, but we recommend you check out the finals of the year-long competition anyway. Top female bartenders from across the US will battle each other in a test of speed and accuracy. And all the proceeds go to fighting breast cancer.
The Gala (Friday, May 17):
The Classic kicks off with its legendary gala at the historic, mammoth main branch of the New York Public Library. According to the organizers, 25,000 cocktails will be served to thousands of revelers. There are no regular admission tickets left, but you can still spring for a VIP- or Uber VIP-class ticket for special early access to—along with a free ride to and from—the festivities.
Culinary Tour of TriBeCa with Oban, Talisker and Lagavulin (Saturday, May 18):
Talented bartender Michael Neff leads this walking bar tour of TriBeCa, which is home to his acclaimed watering hole, Ward III. You’ll visit a number of spots, sampling a Scotch paired with a bite to eat at each.
A Deliciously Decadent Afternoon of Chocolate and Cocktails (Sunday, May 19):
What’s better than drinking cocktails? Drinking cocktails and eating chocolates. Yes, you read that right: At this decadent event, chocolatiers and pastry chefs will be serving treats, and you’ll be able to enjoy them with fine tipples.
Indie Spirits Expo (Tuesday, May 21):
Taste a selection of alcohol from a worldwide assortment of craft distilleries and meet the people behind these up-and-coming brands at the Indie Spirits Expo. There are two sessions on Tuesday: One at 5 PM and one at 7.