With fall evenings becoming longer, darker, and cooler, there’s no better time than now to go for a nightcap or two. And what better excuse than Cocktail Week? La Semana de la Coctelería, beginning on April 7 and on until the 14th is all about celebrating Buenos Aires’ vibrant cocktail culture and trying a potent potable (or four) (we won’t judge).
Buenos Aires’ cocktail scene dates back to the early 20th century, when immigration influxes inspired bartenders to get creative with flavors arriving from all over Europe and the United States. Peaking in popularity during the 1960s, cocktail culture almost entirely disappeared during the dictatorship years of the 70s and 80s. Since 2000, despite economic crises and hardship, cocktails have enjoyed a resurgence and continue to become more quirky and creative.
Cocktail hour is making a comeback here in Buenos Aires, with a nod to classics like vermouth hour. Almost forgotten Argentine cocktails created during the 50s and 60s are also resurfacing on many of the city’s bar menus. El Pato, a cocktail invented by legendary porteño mixer Santiago ‘Pichín’ Policastro contains a lethal sounding mix of gin, vermouth (both sweet and dry), Campari, and Cointreau, with a dash of Kirsch. Clarito, which calls itself an ‘almost’ dry martini is made with dry gin and dry vermouth. Originally a drink for the upper class elite who visited locations of the like of the San Isidro Hippodrome, the cocktail is an Argentine classic. Raúl Echenique’s prize winning Amba 65 is a concoction of Scottish whiskey, rum, red vermouth, and apricot. One thing is for sure, Porteños can certainly handle their drink!
Talking with The Bubble, organizer Rodolfo Reich spoke of how popular cocktail culture has become, both in Buenos Aires and the rest of Argentina, in the last five years and how the city has transformed into a hub for the most talented and innovative bartenders. Although not as popular as the scenes in cities like New York or London, Reich said that there is still room for growth in Buenos Aires and hopes to see the popularity of cocktails continue to rise. Of course, we love a good cocktail and couldn’t agree more.
During the week, the public will be able to try specially discounted cocktails in participating bars across the city (don’t worry, there are plenty outside of Palermo). Tasting sessions, a series of master classes, and bar crawls are all be available to book through their website.
Kicking off with an opening party to take place on Sunday, April 8 at New York subway style bar, Uptown (Arévalo 2030). Twelve of Argentina’s most well known and talented bartenders will be shaking up a selection of tragos for guests to try. All proceeds from the event will be donated to Fundación Húesped, an Argentine organization that works at increasing awareness for HIV/AIDS along with sexual health and disease awareness.
If you’ve always wanted to know how to nail a dry martini, head over to the master class at Suspira Resplendoris (Nicaragua 4346) on April 10th. For those aspiring mixologists among you, April 12th will see Boticario (Honduras 5207) spill the beans on the secrets of alchemy.
If you’re game to see more of the city, join one of the many themed ‘bar crawls’ that’ll take you to three selected bars in each area. A cocktail is included within the ticket price and if the booze starts going to your head, don’t panic as all bars are within walking distance or a mini bus is provided.
A collaboration between Open House BA and the BA Semana de la Coctelería means this year, cocktail sippers (or gulpers), will be able to take a tour from the South to the North of the city, stopping at BA’s most historical buildings and atmospheric bars. Starting at San Telmo’s Napoles bar located on the picture perfect Boulevard Caseros, the tour (April 12th) is not to be missed.
With an overwhelming selection of over 50 participating bars this year, we at The Bubble have given ourselves the rather hard task of selecting some highlights you should definitely check out (it’s a tough life, we know).
Anasagasti (Anasagasti 2067), located near the Alto Palermo shopping mall, is a discreet, low profile bar that resembles a Recoleta residential mansion. Ring the bell and hope you’ve got the right door. An expansive menu with a focus on mostly in-house concocted elements makes the selection process a little more exciting: think exotic ingredients like sesame oil or Açaí caviar.
Ever wanted to sit in a vintage Maserati? You can, sipping on a cocktail as you go. Bar-cum-Italian restaurant-cum-vintage clothing antique shop Napóles (Av. Caseros 449) is the spot to be for an evening surrounded by beautiful eclectic items all collected by the antique magnate himself, Gabriel Del Campo. Bonus points if you spot one of his chilled out pups making the rounds.
Bar La Calle (Av. Coronel Niceto Vega 4942) has jumped on the porteño bandwagon that is secret bars. Located behind legendary pizza shop ‘La Guitarrita,’ La Calle comes up with creatively mixed combinations that are frequently served in maté cups. A highlight of the bar is the VW camper van converted into DJ decks that blasts remixed electro tunes through the night.
Botanical bar Parque (Thames 1472) transports you to a private jungle oasis outside of the hustle of Palermo Soho. Featuring a private walled garden and swings, the bar’s cocktails are grouped and themed based on which continent their ingredients are derived.
If you feel like going up in the world, head to the Alvear Hotel’s Roof Bar (Av. Alvear 1891). From the tenth and eleventh floors of the hotel, watch the sun go down over the Río de la Plata and the rest of the city. Opulent and luxurious, this rooftop gem is one not to miss during the week.
I’ll drink to that!
Semana de la Coctelería is taking place during the week of April 7th – 14th. Make sure to check their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for details. Don’t forget to reserve your place at any of their events as spaces tend to be limited!