I have been highly remiss in my duties. I’ve been working so hard at helping with various aspects of the upcoming "Tales of the Cocktail" (July 18 to 22nd at the Hotel Monteleone), that I haven’t taken the time to tell any of you anything about it.
To begin with, Tales of the Cocktail is a wonderful event that takes place each year down in New Orleans. It is essentially a conference all about spirits, mixology, and cocktails, with a little bit of New Orleans flavor tossed in for good measure. The audience is a broad mix of people including restaurant owners, bartenders, and ordinary people who just have an interest in learning more about quality cocktails.
The event is described as:
Tales of the Cocktail: a culinary and cocktail festival for the connisseur or amature, to fully experience (taste, see and learn about) cocktail culture in New Orleans and around the world. The event’s annual components are Spirited Dinners, seminars, Cocktail Hour, Cocktail Lunceons, walking tours of the French Quarter, and classic and contemporary cocktail parties — all presented by the country’s hottest chefs, authors, bartenders, an cocktail experts.
The speakers at this event are essentially a "who’s who" in the culinary and mixology world. With such notables as Tony AbouGanim, Ted Allen, Kevin Brauch, Dale DeGroff, Ted "Dr. Cocktail" Haigh, Gary Regan, Julie Reiner, Audrey Saunders… and that’s just the tip of the iceburg.
There are a wide array of different types of events that will be going on. Some events are free, but many cost around $35 to attend (many sessions include cocktails being served). You can purchase a "Founders Day Pass" for $485, which essentially is an "all you can eat" ticket. You’ll pre-register for 8 seminars, and then be able to get into any other seminar (that isn’t already sold out) once you get there.
Some of the major events are:
Cocktail Hour – Where attendees get a chance to meet many of the authors of famous cocktail books, purchase copies, get them autographed, as well as sample each author’s and mixologists signature cocktail and collect their recipes.
Spirited Dinners – Many of New Orleans most famous restaurants hold a special dinner on Thursday night, with a fixed menu that has been carefully paired with individual cocktails by the attending authors and mixologists. The dinners range in price from $65 to $85 per person. (FYI: If you want to come to the dinner that I will be doing the cocktails for, sign up for NOLA!). The restaurants participating this year are:
- 7 on Fulton
- Bombay Club
- Bourbon House
- Café Adelaide
- Café Giovanni
- GW Fins
- House of Blues
- Rib Room
- La Cote
- Louis XVI
- Mr. B’s
- NOLA ( <– That’s mine!)
- Palace Café
- Pelican Club
Raising the Bar – A special series of seminars specifically targeted at the professional mixologist to help them advance their overall knowledge and understanding of cocktails and cocktail service.
Ask The Experts – A casual lunchtime gathering of many of the guest authors and mixologists to allow attendees to ask any questions they might have on a variety of related topics.
The Bar Chef Challenge - In the vein of "Iron Chef", this event will test the abilites of several mixologists as they work against the clock to come up with a cocktail which best utilizes the "secret ingredient".
Tales of the Cocktail Spirit Awards Ceremony – The "Oscars" of the cocktail world, this event will present a wide range of awards for notable accomplishments and abilities related to food and drink.
Movie Night – A chance to get a brief seminar about the important role that cocktails often play in movies, before the showing of the classic "Thin Man"… cocktails will of course be served.
Tasting Room – With the various products on the market it can often be difficult to have a good understanding of what each one is, and what it should be used for. The Tasting Room will be a regularly scheduled series where the producers of various products will have the opportunity to describe their product to attendees and in many cases allow them to sample as well.
The Seminars – At the heart of Tales of the Cocktail, are the large number of seminars and panel discussions which will be presented. Here is hopefully a full listing of the seminars being presented, I’ve marked in bold the ones that I will be hosting so you can be sure not to miss them!
- Revolution to Evolution: The story of the American Cocktail
- Drink in History: THe Napoleon House – New Orleans Greatest Saloon
- Lost Ingredients: Obtaining (or making) rare ingredients for even rarer cocktails
- On the Rocks: The importance of Ice
- Spirited Women Past and Present
- The Cocktail’s Family Tree
- The Martini
- Rum’s Punch – A spirited view of rum’s rise, fall, and return
- Drinks and Dishes Born in New Orleans
- Rum Balls and Other Spiked Food Items
- Sake To Me!
- Enter the Distologist
- Johnny Appleseed, Hard Cider, and Applejack – The Spirit of Americana
- The History, Oddities, and Eccentricities of Galatoire’s
- From Glen to Glen, exploring the making, the magic and the myths of Scotch whisky
- South American Spirits
- How to Conduct a Home Tasting
- From Farm to Glass
- Prohibition’s Shadow
- Aromatics and their uses in Cocktails
- American Rye Whiskey
- Cocktail Culture Around the World
- Cocktails and the Blogosphere
- History of the Cocktail
- South of the Border… Down Mexico Way
- Wine Based Cocktails
- Tiki Drinks – From A to Zombie
- Cocktail and Film
- Party like a Pro
- Spirits Glass Tasting with Georg Riedel
- The Mint Julep: Its History and Celebration
Oh, and I’ll also be doing some filming for future episodes of "The Cocktail Spirit" for Small Screen Network down there as well.
I always have a great time down there, and I’m sure you will to!