Golden State of Cocktails 2016

Make plans for your bartenders weekend:
You’re going to Golden State of Cocktails

Golden State of Cocktails is back in the City of Angels. Celebrating all the delicious traditions, tastes, and techniques that contribute to the state of modern mixology, Golden State of Cocktails takes over The Majestic Downtown with a number of seminars and tastings for bartenders looking to sharpen their cocktail knowledge or events for consumers looking to appreciate the spirits, cocktails, and artisans who make up this industry.

Golden State of Cocktails is cocktail nerdery at its finest. Here were some highlights from last year and some things I’m looking forward to this year.

Last year: A seminar on bitters, with King Cocktail himself, Dale DeGroff

Tasting bitters through identical Manhattans, where only the bitters were changed, really allows you to taste how different bitters can change the experience of a cocktail, from the aroma to the palate.

This year: Seminars at #gscla 2016

These seminars, hosted by luminaries in the profession, are geared toward members of the hospitality industry & cocktail community.

  • Hot / Cold: Cigar and Spirit Production, Pairing and Flavor Workshop
  • Batching 101: exploring “Small Batch” vs “Single Barrel”
  • Smartphone Cocktail Photography
  • The Drink Download: The Intersection of Tech and Hospitality in the Digital Age
  • Tiki Cocktails & Culture in a Contemporary Setting (with Martin Cate, Smuggler’s Cove)
  • The Styles & Heritage of Japanese Bartending presented by Kikori Rice Whiskey
  • Sustainability in Agave and Mezcal Making
  • History and Applications of Sake
  • Rum and Punch: The Historical Roots, the Recipes, Rituals and the Modern Revival of the Flowing Bowl
  • Geekery Meets Practicality: Technology For Working Bartenders, presented by Polyscience
  • The Science of Preventing Loss and Promoting Profit Behind the Bar

Register for seminars at

This Year: Taste some great spirits

For those in the industry, there will be a number of tasting tables to discover new spirits and products for your bars and events. Some favorites include

  • Kikori Rice Whiskey (a recently launched Japanese whiskey made from rice)
  • Ludlows Cocktail Co. Spritz prelaunch
  • Chareau Aloe Liqueur
  • Revel Avila (a new agave spirit)

And for consumers interested in tasting spirits, sign up for the spirit dinners at some of the best restaurants in Los Angeles.

The MUNCHIES Dinners presented by Crown Royal

7 Pm – 9 PM; Open to all.
  • SUN 1/24: Girasol – 11334 Moorpark St, Studio City, CA 91602
  • MON 1/25: Faith & Flower – 705 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015
  • TUE 1/26: Hatchet Hall – 12517 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

Tickets are $100 (tax + tip included). Visit for more information.

Last Year: Tasting New or Rare Spirits

Last year, I was treated to a sneak peek at the new Woodford Reserve Rye, which had just been released, as well as last year’s Birthday Bourbon, which had already sold out everywhere in Los Angeles. I loved last year’s Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection so much, that I was thrilled to find a bottle of the Sonoma-Cutrer finish at a local liquor store.

Last Year: Making my own barrel aged cocktail

Larceny sponsored a table where you could fill your own barrel with a cocktail. You could choose from a boulevardier or a manhattan, and I chose to put a manhattan in my barrel. It was delicious when I pulled it out a few weeks later.

Last Year & This Year: Demos & New Technology

PolyScience had many of their techy toys on view to demo for Golden State attendees, including sous vide machines, rotovapes, and centrifuges. Their Smoking Gun was the clear winner for visitors because of its theatricality and ease of use.

This Year: Parties & Charity Events

Golden State of Cocktails is proud to support non-profit partner, LA Kitchen, whose mission is to reclaim healthy, local food that would otherwise go to waste and use it to empower, nourish, and engage the community.

Additionally, there are many events for consumers and bartenders to attend that benefit our local community and give back to the people who need it most. Here are a few that should be top on your calendar.


Volunteer Day with the Bon Vivants (Open to All)
11 AM – 2 PM; Location: Covenant House California: 1325 N. Western Ave. Hollywood, CA 90027
Join The Bon Vivants for a midday service project at a local Los Angeles school.
Email to reserve your spot to volunteer!

Charity Fundraiser BBQ with the Bon Vivants (Open to all)
2 PM – 5 PM; Location: Tenants of the Trees: 2808 Hyperion Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
A Charity Fundraiser BBQ will follow the Volunteer Project.