For the past few months, Binoy Fernandez, Dan Crowell and other cocktail enthusiasts have gotten together the second Wednesday of the month to talk booze.
The 15 or 20 hardcore craft cocktail fans who regularly meet call themselves “The Libation Association,” though the “meetings” are open to anyone. Their get-together last month was dedicated to vermouth; in March, just before St. Patrick's Day, they discussed Irish whiskey.
The meetings include tastings, idea swapping and a whole lot of “geeking out about cocktails,” Fernandez said. And with the weather warming up, the next meeting of the Libation Association, on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., will be all about gin.
Gin is one of Fernandez's favorites. When Fernandez, a partner at the Indian Oven, began making his own craft cocktails a few years ago, gin was among the first spirits with which he experimented. He appreciated that some gins have a malty flavor, while others are sweeter. It's versatile — he likes gin in martinis, negronis and a classic drink called the Aviation (gin, maraschino, fresh lemon and crčme de violette), among others. When Fernandez began operating a small craft cocktail bar, the I.O. Speak, out of the Indian Oven's basement, gin figured heavily into the menu.
“Gin is just kind of an amazing liquor for mixing drinks,” he said.
The I.O. Speak quickly took off, and so did the craft cocktail movement. Fernandez's basement hideaway quickly outgrew its original home, and Fernandez's drinks are now available upstairs at the Indian Oven, which stays open late to accommodate the craft cocktail crowd.
The Libation Association formed last fall. In part, Fernandez said, it provides a chance for cocktail nerds to indulge their cocktail nerd side. But he hopes it also allows newer fans of craft cocktails to try spirits they've never tried before.
The Libation Club will meet from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the basement of the Indian Oven, 1010 Howard St., though if enough people attend, it could spill over into the upstairs, which will have a live jazz band that evening. Admission is $15 and includes samplings of 15 to 20 varieties of gin, as well as a coupon for a craft cocktail from the I.O. Speak.
* * *
House of Loom, 1012 S. 10th St., is throwing a dance party on Saturday to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, and the dance club/events space/craft cocktail bar is trying to do so in a way that honors Latino history.
South Omaha goes all out for Cinco de Mayo, with parades, art exhibits and other cultural programming, said Brent Crampton, one of the owners of House of Loom. Downtown bars do, too, but generally with things like tequila shots and Corona specials.
For the past few years, Crampton has tried to bridge the two. As a bar owner and events promoter, he's all about throwing a party, but he wanted to honor Latin heritage in the process.
This year's House of Loom Cinco de Mayo celebration will include a live performance by Las Cecilias, a new Omaha band rooted in mariachi music that is made up entirely of women. DJ Animale will play a variety of Latin dance music including salsa, cumbia and Latin house, and Crampton will DJ Latin music, as well.
The event is 21 and over. Cover is $5 after 9 p.m. and free before.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org