School for cocktail lovers
School for cocktail lovers
Courtesy of AZ Cocktail Week

AZ Cocktail Week Kicks Off Feb. 16: Expect a Carnival, Competition and Seminars. Better Line Up a Designated Driver.

As a card-carrying member of the cocktail cognoscenti, you'll want to know about this: Arizona's second annual AZ Cocktail Week is coming -- Saturday, February 16 through Friday, February 22 -- and it promises to be an altogether intoxicating mix of festivities this year.

See also: -- 3 Hot (Literally) Cocktails in Downtown Phoenix -- Dwayne Allen of Rum Bar Gives a Tasty Tutorial on Rum

A week's worth of drink-related activities, including seminars, a pool party, a cocktail dinner, a light rail safari, a cocktail competition and a cocktail carnival (the boozy blastoff that sets the tone for the week) promises a little something for everyone, including industry pros, cocktail enthusiasts, hobby mixologists and day drinkers. Here are a few freshly squeezed details you need to know.

First of all, participating bars and restaurants will offer half-priced drinks all week long (this event is state-wide, by the way) to those who've bought AZCW wristbands for $10. It's a screaming deal, and proceeds benefit C-CAP, a nonprofit organization offering a culinary arts program and job opportunities to Arizona's underserved youth.

Wristband wearers will also receive RACK (Random Acts of Cocktail Kindness) alerts -- sent out via email and social media -- informing them of pop-up events (a famous LA bar will be a pop-up, for example) and special giveaways, as well as a free Bloody Mary/Maria at the Bloody Bar (Sunday and Monday only).

AZ Cocktail Week participants who shell out $55 for Saturday night's Cocktail Carnival (think of it as the Epcot of Cocktails, complete with food court, music and cocktail stations) will receive a wristband free. The Hotel Valley Ho is hosting the carnival, as well as many of the week's events.

Besides a raft of local talent participation (think Shel Bourdon, Tyson Buhler, Micah Olson, Travis Nass, Rich Heider II, Dave Johnson and Mark Tarbell, to name a few), the event will feature nationally recognized heavy-hitters of the spirits world such as Adam Seger, Tobin Ellis, Charlotte Voisey, Dale DeGroff and Bobby Gleason. Don't have a clue who these folks are? Go read about them at under Speakers & Talent and prepare to be impressed.

A ticket to every event on the roster costs $295, a fair price for all that you get. But if 300 bucks isn't in your budget right now, it's very easy to cherry pick events you might like: seminars on ice and water, vodka and whiskey ring in at an affordable $25. And that wristband gets you a couple of freebies.

Meanwhile, if you like mixing and mingling with celebs, Tony Abou-Ganim, author of The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails will host a ladies-only cocktail seminar, while Steve Olson, cocktail consultant and Wine & Spirits writer for Bon Appetit will host a Cognac seminar and wine crawl.

It all sounds fun.

For a full rundown of the week, visit The website is frequently updated.

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