Cocktail Conference To Bring Mix of Brains, Booze to Downtown Louisville

  Cocktail  enthusiasts  from across the country will be in Louisville this week to celebrate the history and science of mixed beverages.

Cocktail Culture: A Conference aims to bring together authors, historians and academics to discuss the presence of alcohol throughout history in film, literature and culture.

Stephen Schneider is a University of Louisville professor and the event’s organizer.  He said the event is not just geared towards people in the cocktail industry, such as bartenders, but also those with interest in the academia of cocktail culture.

“A lot of these drinks have stories and histories of their own,“ he said.

Schneider said Louisville’s contribution to the spirits industry makes it a great host city for such an event.

“Certainly it is the hub of bourbon,” he said.  “That industry is intimately built in to Louisville.  I think it is the natural location.”

The event comes as a “revival” of craft cocktail culture is surging, Schneider said.

“Not just this restaurant revival that you see in NuLu or Frankfort Ave,” he said.  “But, part of that revival is craft cocktails, which are made with a fair amount of flair and skill.”

Going beyond the science of the drinks, the conference will also host an array of presenters that will discuss the role of the cocktail in various films and literature.

For a complete list of presenters, click here.

Tracy Heightchew, an organizer of the event, said it’s for anybody interested in mixed drinks.

“If you’re that person that has an Old Fashioned  on the weekend, but you want to know where that Old Fashioned  came from.  You can Google it, or you can come and listen to an expert talk about it,” she said.  “If you’re a person that just has eclectic tastes and want to hear about lots of different kinds of things it will be about the history of the zombie cocktail and the literary history.”

The conference is being sponsored by the University of Louisville’s English Department, UofL’s Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society, Drake University’s Center for the Humanities and St. Charles Exchange.

The free event begins at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday at the Brown Hotel then moves to St. Charles Exchange for tastings and more presentations.  Registration is recommended.

Jacob Ryan

Jacob Ryan is the Urban Affairs reporter for WFPL.

@jacobhryan

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