Preview: 2015 SA Cocktail Conference

Conference to benefit twice as many children's charities

SAN ANTONIO – If you've stepped into a bar in or around downtown San Antonio in the past few years, you've probably noticed an uncanny resemblance to the Prohibition-era speakeasy: the entrance can be almost a hidden secret, the atmosphere is luxuriously Gatsby-esque, and the cocktails are high quality -- often with a house spin.

This new cocktail culture can be thanked, in no small part, to the San Antonio Cocktail Conference (SACC). Now in its fourth year, the conference has been dubbed one of the best cocktail festivals in America by Fodor's.

The four-day 2015 San Antonio Cocktail Conference begins Thursday with Opening Night at the Majestic Theatre, a shindig for hundreds featuring three floors of craft cocktails and small bites. The following three days will bring tastings, bartending seminars, competitions and charity fundraisers.

This year, four children's charities are on tap to benefit from the price of admission: conference familiars ChildSafe and HeartGift as well as two newcomers, The Children's Shelter and Transplants for Children.

ChildSafe is Bexar County's only child advocacy center. The organization works with families who have been traumatized by sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect. It also works with local law enforcement to bring perpetrators to justice.

In 2014, the SACC made a $50,000 donation to ChildSafe and donated an additional $50,000 to HeartGift, a non-profit organization that provides life-saving heart surgery to children from countries where the care they need is either unavailable or inaccessible.

The money given to HeartGift from last year's conference went to help two patients: a boy named James from Uganda and a toddler named Mimi from Ethiopia. Both children had ventricular septal defects -- holes in their hearts.

Leslie Davis Met, HeartGift's Executive Director, said she recently spoke with a referring physician who told her James is now doing very well. She said she was not able to get in touch with anyone about Mimi's condition because Mimi lives in an area that does not have access to doctors.

The Children's Shelter plans to use money generated by this year's cocktail conference to provide emergency and temporary care for 66 children at the Zachry Cottage; and Transplants for Children plans to use funds to aid in its mission to provide educational programs and support services to families through and beyond the transplantation process.

Tickets for the 2015 San Antonio Cocktail Conference are available online at www.sacocktailconference.com. To view the conference schedule, click here.

KSAT will begin web coverage on the conference Thursday during Opening Night at the Majestic Theatre, complete with slideshows, stories, and of course, all those hand-crafted cocktails. Cheers!

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