Your Day-by-Day Guide to the 2020 Arizona Cocktail Weekend

It's going to be a wild week at the 2020 Arizona Cocktail Weekend.
It's going to be a wild week at the 2020 Arizona Cocktail Weekend. Arizona Cocktail Weekend
The ninth annual Arizona Cocktail Weekend is starting to look like a circus already — and that’s a good thing. Though not every single event has yet to be announced, the next week (no, it’s not just the weekend) is filling up nicely. In case you have a few free nights coming up, or have Presidents’ Day off, or just enjoy well-made craft cocktails by some of the Valley’s top bartenders, here’s a breakdown of the many events happening during the 2020 Arizona Cocktail Weekend.

Thursday, February 13

Graduates of the online BarSmarts program (sorry, everyone else) may attend the full-day Bar Smarts Advanced mixology testing and certification event at The Croft Downtown starting at 9 a.m. Hosted by Pernod Ricard USA and BAR, LLC., the bartending class will select a top student, who will then be awarded a Bar 5-Day scholarship. And if you haven't taken the online course, you may do so at the Bar Smarts Advanced website for $75.

click to enlarge There will be seminars galore at the ninth annual Arizona Cocktail Weekend. - ARIZONA COCKTAIL WEEKEND
There will be seminars galore at the ninth annual Arizona Cocktail Weekend.
Arizona Cocktail Weekend

Friday, February 14

You better bring your going-out clothes to the office, because Friday’s activities start at 5 p.m. and don’t let up much after that. From 5 to 7 p.m., join the American Single Malt Whiskey Evolution talk and tasting with Dave Smith of St. George Spirits at Century Grand. From 8:30 to 11 p.m., head to Lustre Rooftop Bar for Agave and Art on the rooftop with El Tesoro Tequila.

Or: from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Melinda's Alley is hosting A Night in Havana. Or, fom midnight to 2 a.m., check out the Tartlet Takeover with the people from Grey Goose Vodka, Teeling Whiskey Company, and Banks Rum at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour.

click to enlarge The Cocktail Carnival is already looking to be just that. - ARIZONA COCKTAIL WEEKEND
The Cocktail Carnival is already looking to be just that.
Arizona Cocktail Weekend

Saturday, February 15

Hope you slept well, because Saturday’s drinking starts at 10:30 a.m. (till 2 p.m.) with Earn Your Milagro Tequila!, a free, 21-plus group workout held at Chico Malo. Or head to Little Rituals for The Highball Hideout with rotating guest bartenders from 11 to 3 p.m. From noon to 2 p.m., Jaymee Mandeville, Bacardi North America’s Trade Education Director, will be hosting Vermouth 101 at Bitter & Twisted. And if you’d like to learn more, the class A History of Gin According to Cocktails will be held from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. back upstairs at Little Rituals.

If shoeshines and craft cocktails sound your speed, check out Emporium by I.W. Harper from 4 to 7 p.m. at Hotel Palomar. By this time, you’ll need some food, so head for the Diageo Dinner 2.0 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Nook Kitchen Downtown. After from 8 to 11 p.m., check out the cocktail menu during Single Malt at Sazerac hosted by, yes, Sazerac PHX.

One of the bigger events is the Cocktail Carnival, which goes from 8 p.m. to midnight at The Walter Where?House, which will also be the temporary home of the MarchFourth marching band. And from midnight to 2 a.m., check out the St. George Carnival Afterparty at Pigtails Downtown, or head back to Bitter & Twisted for another Tartlet Takeover, again from midnight to 2 a.m.

click to enlarge Top Bars is a must do. - ARIZONA COCKTAIL WEEKEND
Top Bars is a must do.
Arizona Cocktail Weekend

Sunday, February 16

Take a deep breath, because Sunday is going to be wild. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can hang at the Garrison brothers' house (like, an actual house) for Sunday Funday. Or check out UnderTow for Sail Along With the East India Co. from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., or head back to Little Rituals for another Highball Hangout from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.,

From 12:30 to 2 p.m., Bitter & Twisted is hosting the tequila-heavy Aged to Perfection event with Patrón's director of production, Antonio Rodriguez. During that, you can sneak off to the preview screening of the new web series Happy Hour History from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott Phoenix Downtown next door.

Found:RE Phoenix Hotel is hosting back-to-back seminars this afternoon. Head over for Bulleit Frontier Lab Seminars: The Future of Bartender Mentorship, from 1 to 2 p.m., followed by Bulleit Frontier Lab Seminars: Create an Award-Winning Drink Menu from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Lastly, from 4 to 5 p.m., check out Bulleit Frontier Lab Seminars: The Bartender Paradox.

From 3 to 6 p.m., Little Rituals is hosting the Martin Hudak Masterclass & Guest Shift with Mr. Black's Global Coffee Ambassador, Martin Hudak. This is a good opportunity to get some caffeine in you. Another tasting, St. George Spirits Portfolio: Tasting and History, will be held from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at From the Rooftop at Cambria Hotel Downtown Phoenix.

Now for the big event. The Croft is hosting Top Bars — pop-up versions of Phoenix’s most beloved bars — and it goes down from 8 p.m. to midnight. After all that, if you need to wind down, move over to Cornish Pasty Downtown for A Night to Fernet About with jazz and nightcaps from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

click to enlarge The Last Slinger Standing competition is always a fun one. - ARIZONA COCKTAIL WEEKEND
The Last Slinger Standing competition is always a fun one.
Arizona Cocktail Weekend

Monday, February 17

It’s not over yet. Presidents’ Day proper kicks off with Bartenders Brunch 2.0 — offering ceviche and morning cocktails — happening from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Larder + the Delta. Follow that with another class, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal: Mezcal 101, at Little Rituals from 2 to 4 p.m. Or begin your drinking in the early evening, starting with the Banks Rums Punch Social from 4 to 6 p.m. over at Century Grand. Either that or stay downtown and join Discovery Hour: Craft @ Home inside Dust Cutter.

Now, for the fun one. Check out Last Slinger Standing from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Young’s Market Company to see which bartender from the Southwest will take home the gold. That’s always a wild one.

Finally, hit The Anti Party over at Ziggy's Pizza and Stardust Pinbar for offerings from the Last Slinger Standing event and Sailor Jerry Savage Apple from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.

click to enlarge It's not over yet. - ARIZONA COCKTAIL WEEKEND
It's not over yet.
Arizona Cocktail Weekend

Tuesday, February 18

Join the full-day Consejo Regulador del Tequila starting at 9 a.m. at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel for a chance to earn a certificate in tequila education. The CRT seminar and exam will be followed by a flight tasting with Gran Patrón and Roca Patrón.

For more information (as if you could cram any more), see the Arizona Cocktail Weekend website. See you in the emergency room.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lauren Cusimano is Phoenix New Times' food and drink editor. She is a journalist and food waste writer based in Tempe. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.
Contact: Lauren Cusimano