Cocktail culture in Tampa Bay is looking up

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If you are a cocktail enthusiast of any kind, you are probably aware that in the United States, the hotspots for well made cocktails are New York, New Orleans, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. These areas seem to have the highest concentration of bars and bartenders that use fresh ingredients and take care in crafting quality cocktails.

There are plenty of bars that make passable drinks in my area. I just have some personal pet peeves that turn me off when I order a drink or look through a menu. I dislike having a drink shaken when it really should be stirred. I do not like the use of pre-made mixers instead of fresh ingredients.  I realize these methods are chosen because it saves time or money, I just don’t care for them. I also don’t like a cocktail being called a “Martini” when it is not made with gin, vermouth and bitters.

Recently, while doing some research on cocktails, I came across a link to a Tampa Bay chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild. I was excited to see that a group of local bartenders had gotten together with a mission to increase the quality of the Cocktail Culture in this area.

According to their website, the Left Coast Bartender’s Guild has been around for a little over a year. They organize meetings and seminars for their members in order to increase knowledge and skills behind the bar. The guild has a 7 member Board of Directors and 36 active members from various bars and restaurants in the Tampa Bay area.

The guild is busy organizing their 2nd Repeal Day Celebration. This celebration commemorates the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. On December 4th, 2011, they will hold the celebration at the Don Vicente Historic Inn in Ybor City. There will be food, music, entertainment and cocktails that span 100 years of mixology history. This is a charity event and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Metro Charities, the Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn and the Museum of the American Cocktail.

I’m looking forward to working my way through the list of guild member bars and imbibe some quality cocktails when I am out on the town.

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