It’s surprising what you’ll find in a cocktail these days. Strawberry pear nectar, turmeric tea syrup, and candied thyme sprigs are just some of the deliciously eclectic ingredients within these modern creations. Those attending the 9th Annual Rivertini, San Antonio’s premier cocktail competition, found something extra though: the sweet taste of philanthropy. On March 23rd, the San Antonio River Foundation (SARF) brought eighteen of San Antonio’s top bartenders, as blind selected by the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild San Antonio Chapter, together to show off their craft. Rivertini guests tasted and sipped the evening away, exploring the explosive culinary celebrity sweeping San Antonio. Each cocktail was thematic, using the San Antonio River as inspiration—the art, people, culture, ecology, history or anything else that makes our waterway so special. The thoughtfulness of the cocktails was a perfect garnish to the nearby San Antonio River, gleaming and sparkling in the evening light.
The heart of Rivertini was not in the tasting, but in the celebration of the river. In harmony with our mission to enhance the San Antonio River Basin as a vibrant cultural, educational, ecological, and recreational experience, proceeds of Rivertini benefit the cultural experiences unique to the river. One example of this is the monumental works of public art along the Museum and Mission Reaches. The Museum Reach is the two mile stretch of river after the headwaters and can be considered one of the greatest free linear art museums in the country. It has received attention from nationally known publications such as the New York Times, but has a special place in the lives of San Antonians because it is free, open to the public, filled with installations from local artists, and accessible in the heart of the city. Strolling or biking along the Museum Reach, you can be a part of a fairytale-like grotto which speaks to the karst landscape which keeps our Edwards aquifer alive. Or, you can experience an orchestra of sounds coming from animals, bikes, people, barges and more that were recorded up and down the River. Around each river bend is a marvel.
The Mission Reach is the southern section of the Riverwalk which allows access to four of the historic Spanish missions. Access is not always easy though because the missions are no longer visible from the river. The Foundation’s solution to reconnecting river goers to the historic landmarks is the creation of “Portals”. These are monumental public art installations which draw people up from the river and show them the path to the nearest mission. In this way, SARF works to create cultural experiences which could have otherwise been lost.
On the Museum and Mission Reaches, culture can mean many things: modernity, nightlife, history, and storytelling among many more. The proceeds of Rivertini go towards enhancing the San Antonio River Basin so that each person may experience the full spectrum of whatever culture means to them when they are along our heirloom river.