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Whiskey tasting & developer networking at Collision Conference 2019

by AppLovin on May 24, 2019

This week, our team headed to Toronto, Canada for the 2019 Collision conference. This conference focuses on bringing together tech professionals from all around the world and was a great opportunity for us to connect with developers, share some knowledge around the mobile gaming industry, and learn about recent developments in the tech industry. Once our CMO, Katie Jansen, finished her panel on surviving and thriving in the app economy, the team jumped into full party planning mode to prepare for the Collision Night Summit, where we hosted the Developer Drinks at CC Lounge and Whiskey Bar to give developers the opportunity to network over small bites and some very tasty whiskey.

Photo by Sam Barnes/Collision via Sportsfile

As bartenders mixed cocktails, a DJ spun tunes, and developers from around the world mingled in the main space, a tucked away tunnel at the back of the bar transported guests back to 1981, where they learned the correct way to taste whiskey from a selection of 450+ varieties, picked up some history from the prohibition era, and heard amusing stories from CC’s sometimes-resident whiskey connoisseur, Len. In his words, we were there to “nerd out about whiskey”.

Here are some gems from the experience.

What is the correct way to taste a whiskey? Well, first you want to take a small sip, swirl it around to coat the inside of your mouth, and swallow. Len doesn’t want to hear what you think about the whiskey at this point, though. This step is meant to cleanse your palette and acclimate your mouth to the “bite” of the alcohol so that you can get over it and move on to your first true sip. After that, the next step is to give the spirit a swirl around the glass and use your nose. Take note of what you smell, and even what the scent reminds you of (this is an experience after all). Afterwards, you’ll take your first tasting sip, drawing in a bit of air as you go. As Len relayed “What’s happening right now is that instead of your brain expecting that shock, you actually taste it.” Notice the flavors you detect, for this sip, and the next, and the…you get the point.

As everyone huddled in the tiny tunnel and whiskey continued to flow, the room filled with fun stories of drinking from around the world. We heard about the time a German attendee imbibed a bit too much on high alcohol beer at Oktoberfest and somehow made it to his presentation the next day, and how Irishmen can often struggle to understand each other, particularly when drinking, due to the range of accents across the island.

“This is a great event for developers. Give them a little bit of alcohol and let them mingle. Don’t force the networking.” – Olivia Essen, Devhub

Len told us about the time he had a client request an Old Fashioned made with Johnny Walker Blue. For the uninitiated, this spirit will run you over $50 an ounce with bar markup, so it generally isn’t something that gets mixed with other ingredients. After a moment of apprehension with a colleague, Len mixed up the cocktail and performed the bartender taste test. You’ve definitely seen this one before—when a bartender dips one end of a straw into a drink, plugs the other end with their finger, and tastes the bit of cocktail that gets held in the straw. The verdict? If you’ve got the wallet for it, the result is quite amazing. The lesson? Never apologize for what you like. In Len’s words “If you like Johnny Walker Red more than Johnny Walker Blue, and you can get 10 bottles of red for a blue, who wins in the end?”

Planning to attend tech or gaming conferences in the near future? Keep an eye out for parties from AppLovin, we have a bunch more fun experiences up our sleeves.