Tales of the Cocktail will once again be gracing New Orleans with its promise of a delicious, educational and boozy week of fun. The 14th annual cocktail convention is slated to offer over 200 events including tastings, seminars, and networking opportunities for everyone interested in cocktails or working in the industry. Join in on the fun and experience expertly-crafted drinks along with events hosted by some of the brightest in the world of cocktails.
Hotels, restaurants and bars across the Crescent City are opening their doors to visitors and locals alike interested in participating in all aspects of cocktail culture. The sheer volume of events happening in the city all at once may get your head spinning faster than your first Jaeger Bomb. But it’s really pretty manageable if you pick just a few events you know you want to attend and plan your days around them. Tickets can be purchased on the event website (talesofthecocktail.com) and are sold for individual events, meaning you can pick and choose what you’d like to attend and skip the rest.
The official competition of this year’s Tales of the Cocktail is based around the Moscow Mule, a classic since the 1940’s that consists of vodka, ginger beer and lime juice. Bartenders are encouraged to show up with their own twist on the drink to compete for a cash prize and the honor of their cocktail being named the Official Cocktail of Tales of the Cocktail 2016. The throw-down will be on the steps of the Hotel Monteleone on Wednesday afternoon.
As always, this year’s Tales of the Cocktail will be featuring some of the biggest names in the cocktail and dining scene. Some notable folks coming down for the event include Jeff Bell of New York’s renowned speakeasy, Please Don’t Tell (PDT), Greg Boehm of Cocktail Kingdom, one of the internet’s biggest hubs for barware, and Paul Clark, the executive editor of Imbibe Magazine. You can find out exactly what events to find them at by checking out the “Speakers” page on the Tales website.
You can also expect some great eats during Tales of the Cocktail, so be sure to check out some of the dining events such as The Spirited Dinner Series, a Thursday night tradition where restaurants throughout the city offer guests a full meal with cocktail pairings. Be sure to book your tickets in advance through the restaurant, as they are generally in pretty high demand.
Though most events require tickets, some will be open to the public throughout the entire week. One that I’m particularly excited about is the “Bitter Market”, where you’ll be able to peruse one of the widest selections of bitters all in one place at the home base for Tales of the Cocktail, the Hotel Monteleone. It’s sure to be a fantastic spot to start or grow your very own collection of cocktail bitters.
Though the focus of the week is primarily on cocktails, beer lovers won’t feel left out with events such as a tour of the barrel aging process by Nola Brewing and events titled “Integrating Craft Beer into your Cocktail Program”, “Cold Beer and Hot Sausage”, and “Pouring the Perfect Beer Cocktail”.
Fortified wines seem to be the “It” alcohol of the moment, and you can learn all about using sherry in cocktails at Tuesday’s event, “A Journey Through Sherry Cocktails”. Or, take a peek into the future of sherry cocktails with Wednesday’s event, “The Global Future of Sherry in Mixed Drinks”.
Also on Wednesday, delve into cocktail anthropology at 3:00 p.m. with “Why Do Cocktail Cultures Develop or Don’t”, an exploration into why some cultures or countries dive into cocktail imbibery, while others abstain. Just a bit later in the afternoon, learn all about the history of rum and partake in a tasting with the event titled “The New American Rum Revolution”.
Thursday brings a demonstration on summer whiskey cocktails, while Friday offers an exploration and comparison of two of our favorites: cocktails and coffee. Round out the week with Saturday’s talk on the seven pillars of classic cocktails and Sunday’s live music and drinking event on Freret Street.
If it seems like a lot, it is. But with the right amount of preparation and alcohol tolerance, you’ve got this. Pick a few of your favorites and buy your tickets today. You can find more information on the exact locations and times of the above events and nearly 200 others on the website.
Tales of the Cocktail is July 19 thru 24, www.talesofthecocktail.com