Drink Yourself Smart at the L.A. Spirits Expo

Get a tasty lesson in booze at this weekend’s inaugural event

You love booze, sure, but have you ever wanted to take your relationship with it to the next level? Get to know its history and background? Fact: Jamaican rum tastes better after you learn where its distinctive funkiness comes from. This Friday and Saturday, you’ll get that chance at the inaugural L.A. Spirits Expo, a trade and consumer craft spirits event that showcases distillers, bartenders, bottlers, and label makers through tastings, panel discussions, and seminars. (Yours truly will be leading a workshop on social media on Friday!)

Friday is trade only, but Saturday is wide-open to the public. Here are a few favorite workshops you should put on your calendar:

Tequila v. Mezcal

Gilbert Marquez (Ilegal Mezcal), Marcos A. Ramos (Ilegal Mezcal), Raul Yrastorza (Las Perlas)

An ex-Aztec dancer, a booze peddler and a bartender walk into a bar lead this discussion demonstrating the similarities and differences in mezcal and tequila, covering their history, culture, distillation process and, of course, taste.

Rum Panel Discussion

Moderator Matthew Robold (RumDood) with Allan Katz (Cana Rum Bar), Bryan Davis (distiller), Richard Foss (author of Rum: A Global History)

Although the World of Rum workshop has been getting a lot of buzz, do yourself a favor and stick around for what is sure to be a lively follow-up discussion featuring the top experts in all things rum. Plus, that Allan Katz is a hoot.

Gin: The Making of a Spirit “Brand”

Lesley Jacobs Solmonson (LA Weekly, author of 12 Bottle Bar)

This is sure to be the tastiest history lesson ever. Explore gin’s sordid history — the debilitating Gin Craze in London and the bathtub gin of Prohibition — by sipping samples of the spirit as it evolved, from its origins as genever to London Dry.

General admission tickets are $60 to $70, but the event is currently running a special til Friday where not only do you get your ticket for half off, but if you buy one, you get another ticket for free. Score!