About the Conference


Welcome to Cocktail Culture: A Conference

When Roland Barthes suggests that “the ideal drink would be rich in metonymies of all kinds,” he might well have been speaking of cocktails and the drinking cultures they have helped to create.  Whether in the 19th century saloon, the prohibition speakeasy, or the fictional realms of James Bond and Mad Men, the cocktail has functioned as cultural bellweather for issues of class, taste, and culture.  In the last ten years, the so-called Cocktail Revival has produced a host of professional organizations, writings, blogs, and conferences devoted to examining and reviving both the drinks and habits of these earlier cultures.  In fact, if this phenomenon suggests anything, it’s that the cocktail revival is nothing if not a loquacious movement:  Amateur and professional mixologists alike have set about recovering not just the craft of the cocktail, but also its history, philosophy, and culture in print and online.

Cocktail Culture: A Conference is a venue for exploring the cultures surrounding cocktail production and consumption.  Our meeting place–Louisville, Kentucky–offers an exciting venue for the conference. The River City is not only located near many of the United States’ biggest distilleries; it also plays host to an innovative cocktail scene of its own.  As such, Louisville provides the ideal location for exploring both historical and contemporary cocktail scenes.

Our confirmed keynote speakers are:

Philip Greene, author of To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion, and

Sonja Kassebaum, co-founder and co-owner of North Shore Distillery.


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