5 events to toast to during Midtown Cocktail Week

Centro Snowcone2
Photo by Callista Wengler
Centro Cocina Mexicana's tequila-infused snow cones are the star at Just Chill, one of the highlights of this year's Midtown Cocktail Week

It’s almost time to raise a glass to Midtown Cocktail Week, Sacramento’s seventh annual celebration of all things mixological. Running from Aug. 19-24, the six-day series of events boasts competitions, classes and chances to partake in the city’s burgeoning cocktail culture. Here are five highlights worth toasting to.

The Cocktail Competition
Aug. 19 Cocktail week kicks off with one of its most popular events. Watch as eight bartenders from local watering holes and restaurants like Shady Lady Saloon, Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co. and Field House American Sports Pub go head-to-head mixing their tastiest creations using Tanqueray 10 gin to win the grand prize of $1,000 and bragging rights until next year. Judging the competition will be industry leaders like Rachel Ford, a Sacramento native who co-founded the Manhattan-based Ford Mixology Lab. $15. 6-9 p.m. Harlow’s. 2708 J St. harlows.com

It Takes Two to Tiki
Aug. 19 Shake off that intense competition at Harlow’s and head next door to The Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar for a laid-back contest with island flair, where bartenders work in pairs to create a tiki-inspired concoction. The catch? The duos must fit into an oversized Hawaiian shirt together, with each member using only one arm to make the pair’s cocktail. Give them a hand! Free admission. 9 p.m. to close. The Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar. 2718 J St. theredrabbit.net

Jeffrey Morgenthaler
Aug. 20 Over at The Citzen Hotel, Industry leader Morgenthaler—the bar manager at Clyde Common in Portland, Ore., whose bar recipes have been featured in the likes of The New York Times and the mixology magazine Imbibe—will talk about his recently released The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique, a technique-based “bar bible” that includes more than 60 recipes and photo guides depicting proper ways to shake, stir and garnish a fabulous cocktail. $10. 5-6 p.m. The Citizen Hotel, Metropolitan Terrace. 926 J St. jdvhotels.com

Just Chill: A Spirited Snow Cone Party
Aug. 20 Beat the heat at Centro Cocina Mexicana, where GM and resident tequila-infuser Joel York has come up with some icy, tasty ways to cool off. Get a snow cone drenched in a fruit-infused tequila—try Centro's Anniversary version (the restaurant is celebrating its 20th birthday this year), a mash-up of pineapple, strawberry, mango and kiwi—or grab a popsicle made from Centro’s traditional margaritas. Make sure to nab a “hot shot,” a taste of Casamigos, George Clooney’s new ultra-premium tequila, in a hollowed-out jalapeno pepper “shot glass.” Free admission. 6-9 p.m. 2730 J St. 442-3335. paragarys.com

Bright Lights, Big City, Dress Down, Get Down
Aug. 22 A cocktail week favorite, Grange Restaurant & Bar pulls out all the stops for this shindig with live entertainment featuring garage-punk band Happy Fangs, Sacramento-based DJ Katz and 1940s nostalgia song-and-dance ensemble The Satin Dollz. Nibble some fried truffle mac ’n’ cheese balls or dirty duck wings with house-made habanero hot sauce from the “Classy & Trashy” bar bites menu created by chef Oliver Ridgeway, or head upstairs to the Champagne Room where you can toast to life with flutes full of Veuve Clicquot champagne. Free admission. 6-9 p.m. Grange Restaurant & Bar. 926 J St. 492-4450. grangesacramento.com

Some of Midtown Cocktail Week's events require reservations or tickets in advance. For more information, visit midtowncocktailweek.org.