KC's Sparkling Cocktail Culture
On this Thursday's Central Standard, how local bartenders are helping KC reclaim its status as the Paris of the Plains.
Reporter Sarah Gish from Ink Magazine recently penned a cover story about our town’s thriving cocktail culture and the upcoming Paris of the Plains Festival and Bartending Competition. We'll ask her who's shaking and stirring the best stuff in town.
Kansas City, place your order. What is your favorite bar? Who is your favorite bartender? What is your favorite drink? Tell us about what makes the spirit world so special here in the metro. Call in at 816-235-2888, send us a tweet, or shoot us an e-mail.
UPCOMING EVENTS AT THE PARIS OF THE PLAINS FESTIVAL 2012:
(More info on the festival website.)
A Farmer’s Dinner
Locally grown ingredients are the star at this five-course farm-to-table dinner, which features food by The Farmhouse chef/owner Michael Foust and cocktails by bar manager Arturo Vera-Felicie, winner of the 2009 Greater Kansas City bartending competition. Tickets cost $75 plus tax and gratuity. To make reservations, call The Farmhouse at 816.569.6032.
- 7-10 p.m. Tuesday at Farmhouse, 300 Delaware St., River Market
Tequila Tasting Dinner
Mestizo executive chef Brad Rishmany prepares contemporary Mexican cuisine with tequila pairings in mind. Among the six courses: Adobo cured pork belly with Corzo anejo (aged) tequila; halibut ceviche with Herradura reposado (rested) tequila; and an endive, mango and habanero salad served with Mestizo’s house margarita. Brian Finegold from Standard Beverage Corp. will be there to talk tequila. Tickets cost $75 plus tax and gratuity. To make reservations, call Mestizo at 913.752.9025.
- 6-8 p.m. Aug. 22 at Mestizo, 5270 W. 116th Place, Leawood
Midwest Mohawk Melee
Mohawked bartenders from Kansas City and St. Louis stir up their meanest trash talk and cocktail recipes. A $30 ticket gets you samples of six drinks: two punches, two cocktails on tap, and two shaken or stirred drinks.
- 3-5 p.m. Aug. 23 at Manifesto, 1924 Main St., Crossroads Arts District
Angostura Bitters Dinner
The Rieger’s chef/owner Howard Hanna cooks four courses with Angostura bitters, a key ingredient in many cocktails. Festival co-founder Ryan Maybee, co-owner of the Rieger and Manifesto, will also use bitters in four cocktail recipes. Tickets cost $90 plus tax and gratuity. To make reservations, call The Rieger at 816.471.2177.
- 6-9 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange, 1924 Main St., Crossroads Arts District
Dale DeGroff’s Night on the Town
Dale DeGroff, award-winning mixologist and author of “The Craft of the Cocktail,” tells stories of bygone bar culture, from colonial times through Prohibition. Also on the agenda: music and gin and whiskey cocktails. Tickets cost $40, and proceeds benefit the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans.
- 9-11 p.m. Aug. 23 at Nica’s 320, 320 Southwest Blvd., Crossroads Arts District
Snuffling your Horsefeathers
Kansas City improvisational, avant-garde band Snuff Jazz provides the music as Chris Conatser, winner of the 2008 Greater Kansas City bartending competition, mixes up Horse Feathers for the whole crowd. Entry is $5 at the door.
- 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Aug. 23 at Grünauer, 101 W. 22nd St., Freight House District
Paris of the Plains, Sez Who?
Local author and historian John Simonson explains how Kansas City got its Paris of the Plains moniker. Ryan Maybee will mix up Kansas City-inspired cocktails. Tickets are $35.
- 3-4:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Westin Crown Center, 1 E. Pershing Road
A Tribute to Count Basie
Kansas City jazz pianist Mark Lowrey teams with the New Jazz Order in a tribute to legendary musician and onetime Kansas City resident William “Count” Basie. The event will be one of the first at The Kill Devil Club, a new jazz lounge that Ryan Maybee is consulting on in the Power & Light District. Tickets cost $40 and include food and gin cocktails from the event’s sponsor, Tanqueray.
- 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Aug. 24 at the Kill Devil Club, 31 E. 14th St., Power & Light District
On a Dessert Island
Christopher Elbow and Master of Wine Doug Frost match chocolates with complementing cocktails at this incredibly decadent seminar. Tickets cost $35.
- 3-4:15 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Westin Crown Center, 1 E. Pershing Road
A brewer from Boulevard Brewing Co., co-hosts a seminar on beer in cocktails with mixologists Ryan Maybee and Ryan Conklin from Euclid Hall in Denver, Colo. Tickets cost $35.
- 4:30-5:45 p.m. Aug. 25 at The Westin Crown Center, 1 E. Pershing Rd.
Crayola Cafe Agave Dinner
Steve Olson, a nationally recognized expert on wine, beer and spirits, crafts tequila and mezcal cocktails to complement food by Crayola Cafe executive chef Greg Bauer. The bold menu features mezcal-cured salmon and flank steak rubbed with coffee from South America. Ron Cooper, founder of Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, will be there to talk agave. Tickets cost $85 and include tax and gratuity.
- 6-9 p.m. Aug. 25 at Crayola Cafe, 2500 Grand Blvd., Crown Center
Master of Wine Doug Frost pairs with The American Restaurant’s executive chef Debbie Gold (who you might recognize from Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters”) on a five-course meal served alongside cocktails made with Missouri wines. Tickets cost $75 plus tax and gratuity.
- 6-9 p.m. Aug. 25 at the American Restaurant, 2511 Grand Blvd.
Paris of the Plains Bartending Competition
Twelve bartenders (including six from Kansas City) concoct their best cocktails and compete for a $1,000 grand prize. The competition, now in its sixth year, gets bigger every time. This year’s event is a party, with burlesque performances and live music. There will also be food from The Farmhouse, Gram & Dun, Local Pig, Chez Elle, Tannin Wine Bar and other local restaurants. Tickets cost $25 at ticketmaster.com and include one drink token.
- 6-10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26 at the Uptown Theater, 3700 Broadway
KCPT Paris of the Plains Gala
The cocktail festival’s culminating event is a big party with live music, dancing, small plates by Debbie Gold and cocktails handcrafted by top bartenders from the Paris of the Plains Bartending Competition. Tickets cost $100 each at kcpt.org. VIP tickets are available for $250 and come with gifts, behind-the-bar tours and extra access to the bartenders. Proceeds benefit KCPT.
- 6-9 p.m. Aug. 27 at the American Restaurant