Tales of the Cocktail, July 16 - 20, is the industry's original non-profit cocktail festival, bringing together the international spirits community for five days of what's now, what's new and what's next in bartending. Held annually in New Orleans, Tales of the Cocktail offers bartenders and spirits professionals opportunities to mix and mingle with the brightest minds in mixology during an always-spirited schedule of seminars, dinners, competitions, tasting rooms and new product launches. Tickets may be purchased at TalesOfTheCocktail.com or in the registration room at the event; advance planning is suggested as many sell out.
Well then, let's dive into the lesser known and must do's of the week!
Toast to Tales
Wednesday 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Front Steps of the Hotel Monteleone
Join Ann and Paul Tuennerman, co-founders of Tales, for the "Toast to Tales" as they unveil the winner of the 2014 official cocktail competition - a reinterpreted Hurricane - announce the latest establishments to be honored with the Seal of the Sazerac and reveal their next International Tales-On-Tour destination.
Keeping It Real: Mind, Body & Spirits Thursday - Saturday 8:30 a.m. - 10 a.m.
A multifaceted class with purpose that every service industry professional should take advantage of - this complementary class gets you moving with yoga, Tai Chi and a Yoga Tai Chi Fusion class practice taught by Kirsten Amann and Rev. Fa Jun, Medical Qigong Master, a daily meditation guided by Dushan Zaric, presentations and discussions on the various hazards of working in a service environment by an amazing panel of doctors and bar professionals.
Bitters, Books and Barware, Oh My!
Markets at the Monteleone Daily 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Ever wonder what's inside all those little bottles on the bar? Who has the most definitive cocktail book to date? Which tools do you still require to complete your collection? Chances are the answers are all under one roof.
Certifications & Trainings
Master Accreditation Spirits Professional Exam — Tuesday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. by appointment
That's right, get your MA in booze here. Think you know it all about the world of liquid culture? Want to earn the title of Master Mixologist? Prove it. The USBG is offering live Master Accreditation testing for the Spirits Professional written, Advanced Bartender written and Advanced Bartender practical exams.
Raising the Bar - Better Bar Management — Wednesday 10:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
No matter how many years you've been in business, attendees will learn new techniques for successful managing a bar including recruit, training, retention, marketing, menu planning, innovation and much more.
Bring Your Own Barrel — Wednesday 5:30 p.m. - 12 a.m.
Distillers from around the world will let you inside their barrels, sharing the intimate details of the spirits they make. At this unique event, distillers will have their barrel knowledge on display as you sample and discuss the unique flavors that come from different aging techniques. Be a part of the one-of-a-kind event and drink in the stories a barrel can tell.
Meet the Craft and Independent Distillers - Thursday & Friday 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.
While they may produce their spirits in small batches, craft distillers are having a big impact on the cocktail industry. You'll have the opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with these spirits producers from across the United States and around the world. Here they'll share secrets and insights on how to craft the perfect spirits.
Eat & Drink
High Tea, Prohibition Style — Saturday 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
During prohibition, party goers often drank liquor from tea cups to fool law enforcement authorities. Throughout this special tea service, guests will sip craft cocktails in speakeasy fashion expertly paired and served with each culinary course.
Tales Restaurant Week — Daily
"Tales of the Cocktail is an education-first festival but we love for people to spend some time enjoying New Orleans while they're in town. These new programs allow them to do just that," said Ann Tuennerman, Founder of Tales of the Cocktail. The new Restaurant Week will give attendees a guide on where to eat with special prix-fixe lunches and dinners with a cocktail pairing at some of the city's most legendary and talked about restaurants like Café Adelaide, Cane & Table, Green Goddess and many more.
Dynamic Duos — Nightly
Also new this year is the Dynamic Duo bartending series. This special series will pair renowned local and international bartenders to create some of the most formidable bartending teams as they work their craft at the city's best drinking establishments. It's an opportunity to see Dale DeGroff and Chris McMillan at Kingfish or David Wondrich and Paul Gustings at Broussard's tend bar together as they create custom cocktails for Tales attendees to enjoy. These special nightly events will be held throughout the week at bars in the French Quarter and beyond.
Spirited Dinners — Thursday 7 - 11 p.m.
Prix Fixe Cocktail and Cuisine pairings at 18 of New Orleans finest restaurants featuring premier Mixologists from near and far. Participating restaurants can be found on the Tales of the Cocktail website and sell out.
Bars Around Town — Nightly
New Orleans is host to a plethora of fantastic bars and restaurants with bar programs to get a drink at any time of year, and they are especially shiny and bright when the spotlight is focused on them. Get out of the Quarter and support the local Mixologists that keep this city on the map of Cocktail Culture!
Spirited Awards Ceremony — Saturday 7 - 11:30 p.m.
Truman Capote's Black & White Ball in 1966 was a party so grand that it's still talked about today. For the 8th Annual Spirited Awards, Tales is channeling Capote's star-studded affair as they recognize the world's best bartenders, bars, cocktail experts, writers and more. Get your finest black and white attire ready and reserve your place for what's sure to be the biggest cocktail party of the year.
Pig & Punch — Sunday 12 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Now in its 5th year, the festival within a festival that began at Tales of the Cocktail is filled with pork, punch, music, games, and friends - all under the New Orleans sunshine in Washington Square Park. In the spirit of Tales of the Cocktail's commitment to giving back, The Bon Vivants have once again partnered with the New Orleans KIPP Charter Schools to donate both a day of volunteer work with over 100 bartenders from around the country, as well as all the proceeds from the sale of T-Shirts at the event itself. To date, the event series has raised over $80,000 and has coordinated approximately 3500 volunteer hours in charter schools. Bravo.
For more on Tales, including Star's guide on how to plan and pace your week, visit WhereYat.com.