It’s been another crazy weekend in the Music City. Not only did we have the usual cast of characters: bachelor/bachelorette parties, concert-goers, and tourists, but this weekend we had thousands of visitors from around the country participating in the Rock and Roll Marathon. I, on the other hand, kept it local and had the chance to see what the Music City Spirits and Cocktail Festival was all about. Cocktail connoisseurs and imbibing enthusiasts from across the city came together to celebrate craft cocktails, award winning bar programs and some of the city’s top mixologists.
This multi-day festival had something for everyone. Kicking off the party on Thursday was an event sponsored by Cooper’s Craft, Bourbon and Bluegrass, two of Nashville’s favorite things.
Providing a little bit of relief from the heat on Friday afternoon, MCSCF hosted the Polynesian Pop, A Tiki Extravaganza. Not only do I have a love for rum but I have a penchant for coconuts, umbrellas and all things tiki. While all of the cocktails were spectacular, there were two standouts of the evening. The first was a take on a Dark and Stormy which used Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum, Lustau Sherry, and Ginger Beer.
My second favorite cocktail of the evening was concocted by the mixologist from Rolf and Daughters. Although nameless, this cocktail certainly had a presence. Packed with Stolen whiskey, ginger and strawberries, there was a line at this table all night long. Guests simply couldn’t stop at just one.
In addition to the fabulous cocktails, MCSCF had food truck lineup that would make your mouth water. I was excited to see Banh Mi and Roll Factory outside as I had only heard amazing things about their sandwiches. Many of the Banh Mi variations sounded interesting, but I opted for the Banh Mi Chicken which included cilantro, cucumbers, sliced onion, jalapeño, Vietnamese pickled daikon and carrot with five spiced chicken. As if that weren’t enough flavor in one baguette, it had this sinful Sriracha mayo spread. Even though it was on the messy side, it was worth every bite!
Leaving behind the rum and coconut drinks of the South Seas, MCSCF decided to “shake it up” a bit with a Shaken and Stirred Mod Martini Party sponsored by Deep Eddy Vodka. The heat was brutal but guests had a chance to cool off with various interpretations of vodka cocktails. A crowd favorite was the Blueberry and Lavender Lemon Drop Salle’s Greatest Simple Syrups was serving up. Try saying that one five times fast!
Wrapping up the weekend at MCSCF was my favorite event of the festival: Brain Freeze: A Frozen Cocktail Comeback. Mixologists got creative and showcased their skills and their blenders. It was hard to pick a favorite out of this group but there were two standouts. First, the frozen Fernet with Almond and Lime. Our very own hosts, Jon and Lindsay Yeager of Pourtaste, created this fun take on a frozen fernet cocktail using dry ice and some of their very own E. Harlow mixtures. Not only was this drink cold and delicious, but the lime provided the perfect amount of tartness to break up the sweetness of the afternoon.
Second, I fell in love with George’s Sister, a creative and flavorful cocktail using none other than George Dickel. Using a combination of ginger simple syrup, Luxardo apricot liqueur, lime and chopped peaches, my favorite ingredient was the base of the cocktail, orange sherbet. Nothing reminds me more of summer than this.
Music City Spirit and Cocktail Festival was an event that any tastemaker would enjoy. Not only did I have the chance to try out some new and exciting spirits that are entering the Nashville market, but it was wonderful seeing the talented mixologists from local establishments showcase their creativity and make cocktails that we wouldn’t necessarily find on a restaurant menu. The festival is held annually (usually in April) so click here for future updates Cheers!