A Complete Guide to Thirst Boston

More bartenders, more boozy seminars, and hence, more debauchery.

thirst boston

Sichuan Garden bartender Ran Duan. Photo by Natasha Moustache

The Thirst Boston cocktail festival, produced by industry vets Andrew Deitz (M.S. Walker), Brandy Rand (Richer Pour Wine Co.), and Maureen Hautaniemi (ICOB, The Hawthorne), returns on November 7 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Back Bay. The second annual gathering will feature parties, pop-ups, tastings, and educational seminars, all hosted by leaders in the distilling and bartending fields. In addition, a selection of events will be held in venues across the city so visitors can experience all the cocktailing Boston has to offer. Below are details on all the events:


Opening Night Gala
Nov. 7, Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, 8 p.m.-midnight 
After parties: The Hawthorne and Citizen Public House
A veritable who’s who of the Boston cocktail scene, “The Thing” gala celebrates all things grand old Boston. Guests are encouraged to don their best attire (black-tie optional) and enjoy shaken, stirred, and artfully prepared drinks from Ezra Star (Drink), Jackson Cannon (Eastern Standard, The Hawthorne),  Josh Childs (Silvertone, Audubon, Trina’s Starlite Lounge), Naomi Levy (Eastern Standard), Nicole Lebedevich (Lincoln Tavern), Ran Duan (Sichuan Garden II), Sean Frederick (Citizen Public House), and many more.

State Lines: Portland & Providence Pop-Up
Nov. 8, Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, 1-4 p.m.
The ultimate bar crawl featuring some of the best bar talent from Portland, ME (Eventide, Hunt and Alpine, Provisions, Sonny’s) and Providence, RI (Cook & Brown, Aurora, The Eddy, The Grange).

Nov. 8, 23 Dry Dock Ave., 8-11 p.m.
Inspired by dive bars, hay bales, and jello shots, this throwdown will feature Southern-style cocktails, barbecue, and live rockabilly from Tigerman Whoa. Guests are encouraged to dress the part.

New England Craft Showcase
Nov. 9, Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, 1 – 4 p.m.
Meet the men and women behind Bantam Cider, Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Bully Boy Distillers, Cisco Brewers & Triple 8, Damnation Alley, Grand Ten, Mad River Distillers, New England Distilling, Onyx Moonshine, Privateer, Sons of Liberty, Turkey Shore Distillers, and Vermont Spirits.

Blender Bender
Nov. 9, Chau Chow City in Chinatown, 8-11 p.m.
After Parties: Silvertone and JM Curley
This epic tiki battle pits 12 talented bartenders against each other for the title of best brain freeze. Competitors include: Bob McCoy (Eastern Standard), Isaac Sussman (State Park), John Drew (Blue Dragon), Joy Flannagan (Armsby Abbey), Kevin Mabry (Merrill & Co.), Markus Yao (Shojo), Michael Ray (Oak Long Bar), Michael Stevens (Silvertone), Nicole Travers (Deep Ellum), Sabrina Kershaw (Franklin Café), Sean Maher (Barrel House), and Seth Freidus (Alden & Harlow).

Bartender Brunch
Nov. 10, The Hawthorne, noon-3 p.m.
Join friends and industry professionals for one last hurrah.



(90 minute seminars take place Saturday and Sunday at the Fairmont Copley Plaza from 10 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.)

Rye-sing Tide: A Look at Rye Whiskey from Pre-Prohibition to the Present
Nov. 8, 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

All For Rum & RUM FOR ALL!
Nov. 8, 10-11:30 a.m.

Music & Cocktails
Nov. 8, 10-11:30 a.m.

Importing Awesome: The World’s Next Great Spirits (cachaca, mezcal, and pisco)
Nov. 8, 3-4:30 p.m.

America’s Incredible Whiskey Innovators
Nov. 8, 3-4:30 p.m.

Tales of Tattoo & Tiki Culture
Nov. 8, 3-4:45 p.m.

The History of the Martini
Nov. 8, 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

Westering Home to Islay and Laphroaig
Nov. 8, 4:45-6:15 p.m.

The Re-Emergence of Rum
Nov. 8, 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

Spirits in the Movies

A History of Tennessee Whiskey: From Moonshine to Mustaches
Nov. 8, 4:45-6:15 p.m.

Sustainability in Spirits
Nov. 9, 4:45-6:15 p.m.

Woodn’t It Be Nice?: What You Haven’t Been Told About Barrel-Aging History and Impact
Nov. 9, 10-11:30 a.m.

Understanding Tequila Flavors through Aroma
Nov. 9, 10-11:30 a.m.

Carbonated Cocktails
Nov. 9, 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

From Medicine to Libation, the Art of Preparing Vermouth
Nov. 9, 10-11:30 a.m.

Cocktails Through the Pages of Time
Nov. 9, 3-4:30 p.m.

Water, Ice and Scotch: The Myths, the History and the Science
Nov. 9, 4:45-6:15 p.m.

The Three Phases of Hospitality
Nov. 9, 3-4:30 p.m.



  • “French Cafe” with Domaine Select
  • “World of Whisk(e)y Bar” with William Grant & Sons
  • “Bloody Bar” with Absolut
  • “Daiquiri Time Out” with Plantation


Nov. 7-9, 138 St. James Ave., Boston; 617-267-5300 or thirstboston.com. Events range from $25-$95. Special one-day and weekend passes are also available.