Cocktail and Bartending Calendar of Events

January, February, March

Tim Laird, Brown-Foreman Chief Cocktail Officer, muddles an Old-fashioned with Canadian Mist Whiskey
Mistology Session with Tim Laird; muddling an Old-fashioned with Canadian Mist Whiskey. Photo Credit: © Shannon Graham

Every year numerous competitions, seminars, conferences and expos take place that are of interest to cocktail enthusiasts, distilled spirit connoisseurs, bartenders and hospitality professionals, and any one interested in fine drinking. This calender is an attempt to organize many of those events, along with "cocktail holidays" so that you can see what's going on in the drinking world. If you know of an event or competition that is not listed, please email me the information.

One note: Whisky Live is an international celebration of whiskey and has shows worldwide throughout the year. Check their website for this year's dates.

January:

  • Bloody Mary Day
    January 1
    Could one of the reasons Bloody Mary Day is on the first day of the year be due to the number of New Year's hangovers? Recipe
     
  • Hot Toddy Day
    January 11
    One of my favorites, the Hot Toddy is one of the many classic cocktails with its very own holiday. Recipe or Hot Toddy Collection
     
  • Hot Buttered Rum Day
    January 17
    Cold winter days call for a hot cocktail and today is a great excuse to imbibe on one of the favorites. Recipe
     
  • San Antonio Cocktail Conference
    Typically the last weekend of January
    San Antonio, Texas
    A 4-day event filled with seminars, tastings, soirees, and classes for the home and professional bartender. Proceeds for the event go to HeartGift, a charity focused on giving heart surgery to children in developing countries
     

February:

  • Arizona Cocktail Week
    Typically the last full week of February
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    A 7-day celebration of the cocktail in the warm Arizona sun. Check out their website for details.
     

  • New Orleans, Louisiana
    Drinks for the Occasion: Traditional New Orleans cocktails, of course
     
  • National Margarita Day
    February 22
    Celebrate this fun "holiday" with your favorite Margarita.
     
  • National Kahlua Day
    February 27
    One of our favorite liqueurs and an essential for the bar has it's own day.
     

March:

Every year numerous competitions, seminars, conferences and expos take place that are of interest to cocktail enthusiasts, distilled spirit connoisseurs, bartenders and hospitality professionals, and any one interested in fine drinking. This calender is an attempt to organize many of those events, along with "cocktail holidays" so that you can see what's going on in the drinking world. If you know of an event or competition that is not listed, please email me the information.

April:

May:

  • The Kentucky Derby
    The Place To Be: Churchill Downs, Kentucky
    Drinks for the Occasion: Mint Julep
     
  • World Cocktail Day
    May 13
    Yes, the Cocktail has its own day! Surrounding May 13th there are many events throughout the United States celebrating this American-born libation. Many participate in a search for the signature cocktail of World Cocktail Day via the Museum of the American Cocktail. World Cocktail Week is celebrated May 6-13 and the entire celebration centers around the first publishing of the word 'cocktail' in print (1806 edition of The Balance and Columbian Repository).
     
  • Manhattan Cocktail Classic
    Typically the 2nd or 3rd week of May
    New York City
    Celebrate the cocktail, its history and future. Attend parties, seminars and more at this annual event in New York City. Tickets sell fast so book early (typically available in March).
     

    June:

    Every year numerous competitions, seminars, conferences and expos take place that are of interest to cocktail enthusiasts, distilled spirit connoisseurs, bartenders and hospitality professionals, and any one interested in fine drinking. This calender is an attempt to organize many of those events, along with "cocktail holidays" so that you can see what's going on in the drinking world. If you know of an event or competition that is not listed, please email me the information.

    July:

    • National Anisette Day
      July 2
      This delightful anise liqueur can be used as a replacement for the more potent absinthe. Find cocktails
       
    • Tales of the Cocktail
      Typically the 3rd week of July
      New Orleans, Louisiana
      Billed as "The Most Spirited Event of the Summer," Tales of the Cocktail is all about the spirit, celebration and art of the cocktail. The event is hosted primarily at the Hotel Monteleone, is the work of the Museum of the American Cocktail and is a meeting of the best mixologists working behind the bar. This is the must attend event for any cocktailian. Check their website early if you're interested in participating as a speaker or competitor. Also, be aware that many events sell out quickly and tickets go on sale some time in April.
       
    • National Piña Colada Day
      July 10
      This is one of the ultimate summertime cocktails and you can have it shaken or frozen.
       
    • National Mojito Day
      July 11
      Another icon of summer cocktails, the Mojito is a refreshing and simple drink. Get the Mojito recipe...
       
    • National Grand Marnier Day
      July 14
      Grand Marnier, one of our favorite orange liqueurs has it's own day and one of the best cocktails has to be the Napoleon.
       
    • National Daiquiri Day
      July 19
      Not only do the Margarita and Martini get their holidays, but the Daiquiri has one as well and what better way to beat the July heat? Shaken or Blended
       
    • National Tequila Day
      July 24
      Mix up a tequila cocktail or two using your favorite tequila and celebrate the spirit of Mexico.
       
    • National Scotch Day
      July 27
      Sit down for a sipper of your favorite Scotch whisky today, you deserve it.
       

    August:

    • National Root Beer Float Day
      August 6
      Who doesn't love a Root Beer Float in the middle of the summer? Root Beer Float recipe or Root Beer Floatini
       
    • National Rum Day
      August 16
      With all of the tropical cocktails that are perfect for summer days and nights, it is only appropriate that today is Rum Day. Find rum cocktails
       
    • National Whiskey Sour Day
      August 25
      A fantastic cocktail like the Whiskey Sour deserves a holiday and there are many variations you can try today as well. Recipe and variations
       
    • San Diego Spirits Festival
      Typically the last weekend in August
      San Diego, California
      Part of San Diego Cocktail Week, this two day event celebrates the cocktail scene and talented bartenders of the San Diego, California area. One ticket per day will get you into all of that day's events, which include tastings, demos, the Cocktail Wars, and more. Starting in 2013, the event will also be holding an International Spirits Competition.

    September:

    • Kentucky Bourbon Festival
      Typically the 2nd or 3rd week of September
      Bardstown, Kentucky
      What better place to have a bourbon festival than in the "Bourbon Capitol of the World?" This five day festival is filled with fun, entertainment, history and bourbon. Many of the surrounding distilleries are fascinating to visit and tours are available similar to this one of Maker's Mark Distillery.
       
    • National Rum Punch Day
      September 20
      Mix up your favorite rum punch or explore a new recipe to share at your next party. This is the day to celebrate the great variety in rum punches.
       
    • San Fransisco Cocktail Week
      Usually 3rd week of September
      San Fransisco, California
      A 7-day celebration of the cocktail that takes place around the San Fransisco Bay Area. Seminar, cocktail crawls, culinary events, and galas galore are part of this event.
       

      Every year numerous competitions, seminars, conferences and expos take place that are of interest to cocktail enthusiasts, distilled spirit connoisseurs, bartenders and hospitality professionals, and any one interested in fine drinking. This calender is an attempt to organize many of those events, along with "cocktail holidays" so that you can see what's going on in the drinking world. If you know of an event or competition that is not listed, please email me the information.

      October:

      November:

      • National Harvey Wallbanger Day
        November 8
        There are many "cocktail holidays" but this one was a big surprise. Someone must be a huge fan of the Harvey Wallbanger, not to say it isn't a fantastic cocktail. Recipe
         

        December:

        • Repeal Day
          December 5
          In 2008 we celebrated 75 years of the Repeal of Prohibition.
           
        • National Eggnog Day
          December 24
          It is no wonder that this traditional holiday cocktail have its own holiday on the eve of another. The entire month of December is also National Eggnog Month. Recipe or Variations