"New York has played a role in my own bibulous education."

New York City has always been a drinking town. From the first taverns of New Amsterdam to the palatial 19th century hotel ballrooms to the Prohibition-era speakeasies and today's cutting-edge cocktail lounges, New York has always been well prepared to slake the thirsts that come with being one of the world's greatest cities.

Fittingly, after all this time, the city will celebrate its spirituous history at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic on October 3 and 4, the city's first-ever "part festival, part fête, part conference, part cocktail party." The series of seminars, tastings and out-and-out parties (check) will take place at the Astor Center and assorted bars around the city.

The Manhattan Cocktail Classic will feature presentations by some of the most influential people in the mixological world: cocktail historian David Wondrich will host a panel on New York's drinking history, writer Gary Regan and Pegu Club co-owner Audrey Saunders will cover the history of gin, and bartending legend Dale DeGroff will take an in-depth look at glassware. Oh, then there's cocktail tastings, cocktail parties and, you get the idea.

The event is actually a warm-up to an even larger event planned for May, timed to take place during World Cocktail Week--yes, there is such a thing--and will coincide with a similar series of events at San Francisco Cocktail Week. This bi-coastal celebration of mixology will help participants tune up their palates (and livers) for the annual Tales of the Cocktail event in July.

New York has played a role in my own bibulous education, so I'd really like to make it to the big event. Tickets go on sale after Labor Day.

About the author: Paul Clarke blogs about cocktails at The Cocktail Chronicles and writes regularly on spirits and cocktails for Imbibe magazine. He lives in Seattle, where he works as a writer and magazine editor.

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