Parts of Chartres will go glacial next week, when an ice pool rises from the street to meet Tales-goers, who will dive in by the dozens to benefit the Museum of the American Cocktail.
Whisky-maker Macallan is building the chilled tank to suggest their signature Macallan Ice Ball, a rock that fits snugly in a lowball glass and melts slowly and evenly, so it won't distort your spirit.
After splashing in the frigid waters, the divers will storm the Hotel Monteleone to warm up with a pour of Macallan. The Carousel Bar stocks the single malt scotch in a 12-year bottling, but it's worth an extra $5 to indulge in the 18-year Macallan: raised in a sherry-soaked barrel, velvet-textured and rich, with a smooth procession of tastes from toasted citrus to cinnamon, and leathery vanilla.
I don't usually drink scotch neat - too medicinal - but damned if I didn't finish this one. It takes more eggs, really, to jump into the pool of ice.
(Flip the afternoon on its head by dropping ice into your glass of scotch, to luxuriously stretch its vanilla notes.)
If you'd rather dunk yourself into the drink, the Macallan Ice Ball Plunge goes down on Thursday, July 26 from 4 - 6 p.m. at 528 Chartres. Join a team or donate (someone pledged money "in memory of my brain cells") here.
All proceeds benefit MOTAC, which must find (and fund) a new home come December. Besides holding a treasure of vintage spirits, bar tools, books and menus tracing cocktail history, MOTAC has added ongoing seminars to support our local bartenders (and educate the rest of us).
"We're becoming a resource," says MOTAC's managing director, Laura McMillian. "We're growing bartenders."
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Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal Street, 523.3341. To celebrate Tales of the Cocktail, the Carousel Bar will craft two special cocktails: a 1930s-era chocolate gin martini, and a Sazerac featuring Pierre Ferrand cognac.