This is the third year of the Rochester Cocktail Revival, a week of tastings, seminars, and parties celebrating the vibrant cocktail scene in Rochester. Chuck Cerankosky, co-owner of Good Luck and Cure, and Joe Fee of Fee Brothers, along with other Rochester bar and restaurant owners came up with the idea of the Revival in 2013.
"The cocktail scene in Rochester rivals that of bigger cities," Cerankosky says. "We wanted to showcase that."
The bars participating in this year's Revival include Good Luck, Cheshire, Cure, Ox and Stone, The Revelry, The Owl House, The Daily Refresher, and The Playhouse. And events will be held at Fee Brother's Portland Avenue location. The central party of this year's Revival is called Heaven Hotel, and will feature samplings from Heaven Hill Distillery, appetizers, a smoked cocktail demonstration, and music by the Coupe De Villes. The party takes place Friday, May 13, 6 p.m. at the Revival's Public Market site (124 Railroad Street). Tickets are $35-$40 and can be purchased online at the Rochester Cocktail Revival website.
This year's events also include "Stirred, Not Shaken: Cocktails and Bond at the George Eastman Museum." A brand ambassador with Absolut Vodka, Josh Pearson, will discuss the history of vodka and cocktails in the James Bond films. The event is Friday, May 13, 6 p.m., at the Eastman Museum (900 East Avenue), and tickets are $25 which includes two Bond-inspired cocktails as well as a tour of the current Bond-themed Taryn Simon exhibit, "Birds of the West Indies."
A Rochester chapter of the United States Bartenders' Guild recently opened, and is now the fastest growing branch in the country. The goal of the national organization is to promote education and advance professional bartending. "Our membership is kind of like the child of the Revival," Cerankosky says. "It demonstrates the enthusiasm we have here."
The Revival is really for anyone that's enthusiastic about cocktails and its culture — not just for those in the service industry. Seminars open to the public will give tips on perfecting their own drinks, like the Rescue the 'Rita event on Saturday, May 14, which will teach you how to make a better margarita; or if you're looking to shape up your Mint Julep for that Kentucky Derby party, there's a Secrets of the Mint Julep and Sazerac event on Sunday, May 15.
The spirit of collaboration energizes the event, even though most of the bars are usually in competition with one another outside of the week. The Revival "raises the tide to bring all of our boats up," says Cerankosky. "When the scene works together we can show off."
The Rochester Cocktail Revival takes place Monday, May 9, through Sunday, May 15, at various locations around Rochester. Visit rochestercocktailrevival.com for a full listing of seminars and events.
There are plenty of Cinco de Mayo events coming up on Thursday. A couple of events to look for: Ox and Stone (282 Alexander Street) will host a pairing dinner with Avion Tequila and live music at 9 p.m.; and La Casa (93 Alexander Street) will have live music all day and a special curated menu. Reservations are encouraged for both events.
Amore Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar (1750 East Avenue) has recently made some big changes. The Wegmans-owned restaurant brought on chef and restaurateur Jerry Vorrasi (2 Vine, The Brasserie) as a consultant, and added Pasquale Sorrentino (Branca, Next Door) as Chef de Cuisine. Vorrasi and Pasquale have developed a new menu for the restaurant that includes house-made pastas and traditional Neopolitan pizzas. More information at wegmansamore.com.
Black Button Distilling will release its limited edition lilac gin on Sunday, May 6, coinciding with the first day of the Rochester Lilac Festival. The gin is made with hand-picked lilac petals and complimentary botanicals, and is available for purchase at Black Button or at select liquor stores in the area. More information at blackbuttondistilling.com.
If you've been in the Park Avenue or East End neighborhoods recently, chances are you've seen a Rochester Pedal Tour taking place. The pedal-powered trolleys take groups of 13 or 15 people out for pub crawls, bachelorette and bachelor parties, and now a series of mixers for Taco Tuesday, Wine Wednesday, and Singles Mingle Monday. Mixers cost $30 per person. More information can be found at rochesterpedaltours.com.
Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to email@example.com.
Chow Hound | Rochester Restaurants | Rochester Cocktail Revival | Chuck Cerankosky | Craft Cocktails | Cinco De Mayo | Amore | Black Button | Lilac Gin | Rochester Pedal Tour