Boston: A Thirsty City

Thirst Boston

The 2nd annual Thirst Boston held on November 7-10 in Boston, MA was a 4-day educational and overall fun event for anyone who loves the science, taste, and craft of cocktails. The event was a gathering of noted industry professionals, bartenders, and local beverage connoisseurs.

From grandiose, festive parties to intimate pop-ups, tastings, and educational seminars, the weekend extravaganza was filled to the brim with something for everyone. Returning after its hugely successful inaugural debut last year, Thirst Boston was bigger and bolder. Featured events took place each and every day starting with their opening night gala on Friday and capped off with their bartender brunch on Monday.

The 4-day cocktail festival also allowed their attendees to take educational seminars and hands on workshops ranging from the history of cocktails to creating your own infused vodka. Overall, it was a great event to socialize with industry professionals, learn about the craft, and enjoy all the cocktailing Boston has to offer.

Here’s a quick look at some of the exciting events and seminars that took place:

Infusion Methodology – A Hands On Workshop was a very cool seminar that educated attendees on Tito’s Handmade Vodka and how to infuse it. Infusions are a great way to add flavor and intrigue to any cocktail.  Michael Hanley, National Beverage Director of Tavistock Restaurant Collection, discussed the different methods of how and why to infuse vodka naturally. Starting with a taste test, it’s important to understand the differences between vodka before you begin the infusion process. Moving on, attendees tasted Tito’s infused Raspberry Vodka and then Stoli Raspberry Vodka, demonstrating that the base product and infusion methods can have different effects on the final product. The seminar ended with participants making their own infused vodka with cucumbers and strawberries.

Vodka Infusion

Tito’s Infused vodka recipe:

75% frozen fruit (12 ounces)

15% Tito’s Handmade Vodka (16 ounces)

Mix it all in a closed container

Let sit for 5 days, shaking occasionally


Carbonation Station, presented by Death’s Door Spirits, guided you thought the do’s and don not’s of forced handmade carbonated cocktails at home or behind the bar! Carbonated drinks are made with 80% liquid and 20% empty space to allow for carbonation and the colder the better! During the seminar, Kevin Mabry, Beverage Director of JM Curley, Bogie's place and Merrill & Co, Daren Swisher, Head Bartender of JM Curley and Bryn Tattan of Merrill and Co. provided samples and even put a batch together during a live demonstration. Our favorite cocktail we tried was the carbonated Negroni.

Carbonation Station at Thirst Boston

To create a carbonation station, you’ll need the following supplies:

1.      CO2 tank ($30-$50)

2.      Fill it up ($5-$10)

3.      Gas Regulator ($39.95)

4.      Tubing & hose clamps ($20)

5.      Ball lock keg coupler ($7.95)

6.      Carbonator cap ($11.43)

7.      Soda Bottle ($.05)

Carbonated Negroni recipe:

1 oz. Death’s Door Gin

1 oz. Campari

1 oz. sweet vermouth

2 oz. water

New England Craft Showcase, held at the Fairmont Copley Plaza on Sunday November 9th, attendees were able to meet distillers to learn more about their craft while tasting an array of unique and delicious spirits, beer and cider from Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont.

One company, Bantam Cider, located in Somerville, showcased two crisp refreshing craft ciders perfect for fall:

-          Wunderkind – Bright and crisp, made from a blend of local apples, and has a hint of flower-blossom honey.

-          Rojo – Spicy fruity aroma, made from local New England apples, aged with sour cherries and black peppercorns, subtle cherry note.

Another potable drink was the Onyx Apple Pie cocktail from Onyx Moonshine distilled in Connecticut.

Onyx Apple Pie

1 ½ oz. Onyx Moonshine

1 ½ oz. Apple Cider

½ oz. Brown Sugar/Cinnamon Simple Syrup

1 oz. Lemon Sour Mix

Combine ingredients over ice and shake well.

The Craneberry, a Massachusetts Cranberry Liqueur, made from Grand Ten Distillery located in Boston, was also on the docket. A unique spirit, Craneberry is white rum, infused with Cape Cod cranberries and Cabernet Sauvignon. The cranberry tartness mixed with the dry wine finish made it very delicious.

There was also one restaurant that was exhibiting their product at the showcase, Ceia Kitchen + Bar, located in Newburyport, MA. Ceia is a coastal European bistro & wine loft. They were serving their Barrel Aged Cocktail.