The Manhattan Cocktail Classic kicks off with Gala

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Lesley Townsend found out in a New York minute just how popular her first Manhattan Cocktail Classic was when 2,000 tickets for the second one went on sale on April 1 at midnight.

They were all gone before 12:01 a.m.

Townsend added tickets for Friday’s gala, the main event of a cocktail festival that runs through May 17. It includes more than 75 events and has become a hot ticket worldwide. Last year it lured hundreds of bartenders, leading spirit makers and thirsty types from Europe and Asia. The additional tickets are also sold out.

“Anyone I had ever met socially was calling in for favors, which got a little difficult,” said Townsend, 32, talking in a phone interview about last year’s event. “I don’t like saying no to people.”

The gala, at the New York Public Library’s main branch, featured about 110 vendors pouring drinks ranging from classic cocktails to the more exotic, such as Just Got Paid, Byzantine Julep, Bison Republic and Milagro Agua Horchata.

“We’re trying to bring awareness to the art and craft of the cocktail to people who might not otherwise allocate…click to continue reading

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