Conference to toast cocktail culture


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With a twist on the usual academic gathering, the University of Louisville’s English department will present a downtown event April 4-5: “Cocktail Culture: A Conference,” with talks and sampling from industry insiders and academic experts about the literary and cultural history of cocktail consumption and production.

    Although conference registration is recommended, morning sessions are free at the Brown Hotel, 335 W. Broadway; afternoon sessions, including roundtable discussions and talks, will be at the St. Charles Exchange restaurant, 113 S. Seventh St., and require a daily purchase of a $10 restaurant wristband that includes sample drinks. To register, visit

    Event co-sponsors are UofL’s Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society, Drake University’s Center for the Humanities and St. Charles Exchange.

    Local presenters include Michael Veach, author and bourbon historian for the Filson Historical Society; Fred Minnick, author and bourbon expert for the Kentucky Derby Museum; Susan Reigler, author of “The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book”; Bernie Lubbers, author and international whiskey ambassador for Heaven Hill Distilleries; and Sara Havens, LEO “Bar Belle” columnist.

    Keynote speakers will be Philip Greene, a founder and vice president of the New Orleans-based Museum of the American Cocktail and author of “To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion,” and Sonja Kassebaum, co-founder of Chicago’s North Shore Distillery and founder of the Chicago Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails.

    Conference speakers will touch on issues of history, fashion and race within the representation of cocktails in film, literature, media and culture. Topics will range from the history of cocktail dresses and Zombie drinks to alcohol consumption on “Star Trek” and in Ernest Hemingway novels.

    For more information, contact Tracy Heightchew at 502-852-8977 or

    Judy Hughes
    Judy Hughes is a senior communications and marketing coordinator for UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing and associate editor of UofL Magazine. She previously worked in news as a writer and editor for a daily newspaper and The Associated Press.