The Keystone Group, owners of formative venues such as The Winery, Gazebo, and theloft among many others, are making headway in establishing their name as a cocktail-focused operation. Under the watchful eye of their cocktail manager Jason Williams, they’ve put together a host of events to celebrate World Cocktail Week, which kicked off on May 6 and runs until May 13.

Put together in the United States by The Museum of the American Cocktail, the week celebrates the history of the cocktail and its place as a noble drink and profession. Officially sanctioned events donate their profits to the ongoing work of the museum and help to highlight great drinks and great bartenders the world over.

So in the spirit of this worldwide celebration, Keystone have gone above and beyond to deliver a line-up of events to showcase the cocktail and give back to the museum.

To open the festival last night was The World Bar Chat Championships. Taking eight of the city’s bartenders shown to consistently show platinum grade banter, they were pitted against each other to see who has the city’s best chat. From the outside, it’s one of the most overlooked skills in the repertoire of the bartenders, but internally, bartenders know you’re not worth your salt if you can’t hold down decent banter, regardless of how good your Manhattan is or how tasty your artisanal, handmade bitters.

Here are a couple of events to drink the week away at:

Bloody Mary Buffet
Bloody Mary fans can indulge their idiosyncratic desires for spice levels, garnish and base spirit, all perfectly tailored to their unique brand of hangover with the Bloody Mary Buffet. The courtyard of The Winery will transform into a smorgasbord dedicated the magical spicy cure.
The Winery
Saturday May 12 from 2pm.

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Persia to Ponies
Persia to Ponies at The Sugarmill takes a close look at one of the earliest recorded cocktails, the infamous Mint Julep. Presented by industry professionals, well versed in the drink and its bourbon-based ingredients, you’ll be treated to a boozy, educational journey to celebrate the official World Cocktail Day.
The Sugarmill Hotel
Sunday May 13 from 6pm.

There are a host of other great events for lovers of cocktails, spirits and good times. Check the micro-site for the full line-up and booking details.

In honour of the week of celebration, The Keystone Group have created a drink that you can try at all their venues throughout the week. If you can’t wait, check the recipe and the instructional video below. Happy World Cocktail Week!

The Yankee Gin Smash
45ml Tanqueray No. 10
5–7 dried cranberries
3 lemon wedges
15ml honey syrup

4–6 mint leaves

Muddle lemon and cranberries with the honey, add remaining and shake. Fine strain into a highball, fill with crushed ice and garnish with a lemon wheel, a mint sprig and some dried cranberries.