From May 30 to June 3, Portland's cocktail community will once again celebrate "Maine's rich history of alcohol production and consumption" during the second annual Rum Riots, named after a historical uprising in 1855 during the state's era of prohibition. Organizer Briana Volk is co-owner of The Portland Hunt and Alpine Club, nationally recognized as a leader in the city's beverage scene. She told Eater that year two of the event series is bigger and better, with more national attention and support.
"We're flying in bar experts from Philly and Portland, OR to teach seminars," Volk revealed. "I think we have been able to really make a weekend out of the events and classes which are on par with other national cocktail conferences around the country."
Though the name evokes an uncontrolled outburst, this year's schedule skews heavily toward seminars and classes, including the Classic Tiki Seminar with Phoebe Esmon & Christian Gaal (of The Yachtsman in Philadelphia) and The History of the Cocktail (Book) with Don Lindgren (owner of Biddeford bookstore Rabelais) and John Myers (bartender at Hunt and Alpine and a cocktail historian). Volk said education, community building, and engagement are her primary goals.
"Education is always important and I really wanted it to be a focus of the Rum Riots every year. There is so much knowledge out there and we are thrilled to bring more of that to both those in the industry and enthusiasts alike," she said. There's also money being raised for the Good Shepherd Food Bank.
Tickets are available now for the events, which range in price from $90 for a Chartreuse Dinner at Piccolo to $40 for Bar Technique with Portland, Oregon's Jeffrey Morgenthaler, which Volk said she's particularly excited about. "Andrew [Volk, co-owner of Hunt and Alpine] worked with Jeffrey for years at Clyde Common, and he's this incredible wealth of knowledge. His book, The Bar Book, is essential for bartenders and at-home cocktail geeks. He knows his stuff." And with his help on Sunday, May 31, you, too, could soon know your stuff.