Chow Town

Upcoming Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival is more than drinking cocktails

Updated: 2013-07-31T14:36:03Z


It’s easy to think the Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival is just about drinking cocktails, but that would be a mistake.

The event encompasses every aspect of what goes into your glass, how it gets there and how best to enjoy it during its run in Kansas City Aug. 21 to 25.

Curious about how spirits are made? Explore the art of distilling at Dark Horse Distillery, brewing beer at Boulevard Brewery and all things coffee (including coffee cocktails) at The Roasterie.

Learn about rum from F. Paul Pacult, editor of Spirit Journal, and Sean Ludford,’s editor, during a session at the Kill Devil Club; the duo will also lead an American whiskey session at the historic Pendergast building.

Soak up tequila expert Steve Olson’s encyclopedic knowledge of mezcal during a lunch at Snow & Co., or weigh in on a beertail/winetail throwdown at The American Restaurant with Kansas City-based drinks savant Doug Frost and mixologist Adam Seger.

Want a little music with your drinks? Listen to The Late Night Callers while sipping cocktails featuring Pierre Ferrand Cognac and Plantation Rum at The Majestic Steakhouse, or get blown away by Mark Lowrey’s 12-piece swing band during Tanqueray’s tribute to Kansas City jazz at the Kill Devil Club.

Feeling charitable? Attend the PopFest Gala at The American Restaurant. You get to sample cocktails from the Washington Cup Spirits Competition and help decide which American spirit makes the best, listen to lives music by Shay Estes and know that it all benefits KCPT.

Up for even more competition? Choices include the Midwest Melee, a unique cocktail contest in which teams from four cities are judged not only on how their drinks taste, but on how well each team serves ‘em up for a crowd.

And of course there’s the PopFest Bartender Competition at The Uptown Theater, now in its seventh year.

The event that started it all has now grown to include bartenders from around the country, a tasting room where guests sample finalists’ creations, burlesque performers, musicians, local food and hundreds of spectators.

Details on all these events, ticket information and more (including several industry-only gatherings) are available online. You can even volunteer to help out.

Okay, so you might also drink a cocktail or two at some point during PopFest. But is that such a bad thing?

After all, it’s what the name promises.

Anne Brockhoff is an award-winning spirits writer who writes a monthly column for The Star’s Food section, as well as food features. She blogs at food_drink_ .

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