Just Imagine SWLA: Strong DowntownsSeptember 2023
Spooktacular Treats for a Ghoulishly Good TimeSeptember 2023
Since the fall of 2018, the cherished Smoke & Barrel event has filled historic downtown Lake Charles with a celebration of the senses! On December 2, 2023, bourbon lovers and barbecue enthusiasts will eagerly wait to receive their VIP wristbands and engage in the fun. These tickets grant attendees exclusive access to nearly 100 different bourbons, whiskeys, and scotches and expertly prepared barbecue from leading pit masters traveling from all over Texas and Louisiana. Add in the unique harmony of festival goers stomping to the rhythmic sounds of top regional bands, Smoke & Barrel is sure to entice the taste buds and set the tone for a good time.
Although Smoke & Barrel isn’t until December 2nd, the festivities begin weeks before the event with Cocktail Royale – a six week long cocktail contest giving local bars and restaurants the chance to compete for People’s Choice. Each location will create a specialty cocktail to enter the contest. Starting on October 7th and going through November 18th, guests can cast votes via donation. The restaurant with the most donations will be crowned People’s Choice. Cocktail enthusiasts can check out the Crown Royale Cocktail Map to see what restaurants are competing and what cocktail they’re competing for. The participants will also be able to compete for Critic’s Choice chosen by a panel of three judges on the day of Smoke & Barrel. The Critic’s Choice focuses on talent of the mixologist and their cocktail. This is the perfect opportunity to get out and try some drinks for a great cause!
The cocktail contest isn’t the only fun leading up to Smoke & Barrel. There are two cocktail pairing dinners falling on the Thursday and Friday before the event. These exclusive dinners consist of several expertly prepared courses paired exquisitely with cocktails. Each menu features a specific bourbon and is created by the restaurant location’s culinary and mixologist team. Starting early in the morning on the Saturday of Smoke & Barrel, you’ll also find an Amateur BBQ Cook-Off happening. This competition gives those grilling dads, uncles, brothers, and friends a chance to join in on the fun and compete for a chance to win Best Ribs & Best Freestyle – anything you can cook on a BBQ pit! Whether you’re already planning your Cocktail Royale Cocktail Crawl with your crew or experimenting your freestyle dish for the cook-off, you can be sure this year’s event will be one for the books.
Half of the Smoke & Barrel Inc Mission is “…to raise funding for worthy charities” and they have been partners with United Way of Southwest Louisiana since inception in 2018. Founders, Adam and Nathaniel, always had a focus on childhood development and education, because they really do feel the basis and foundation of a healthy and happy community starts with the youth. More recently, they have relaunched an initiative with United Way of Southwest Louisiana called Success by 6. This program provides full scholarships for children between 0-5 years to attend day school. This better prepares children for elementary school leading to overall better performance throughout youth and life. This also allows parents to return to the workforce sooner without being financially burdened by childcare. Adam and Nathaniel are happy to announce this initiative has already fully funded three children to attend day school and look forward to seeing Success by 6 excel!