Tales of the Cocktail is a festival to bring those passionate about cocktails together for seminars, tastings, networking and celebration. Distillers, bartenders, brand ambassadors and cocktails geeks come from all over the world for this industry event. .
Yours truly will be live-blogging the convention this year. Here we go.
What an incredible and eventful past couple of hours.
I hit the Bellocq Dynamic Duo with Monkey 47. Excellent drinks. Sat and chatted with my friend Carrie Allan, a cocktail writer for the Washington Post, and her husband Tim Carman.
After that, it was straight into the Balise Dynamic Duo with Veev Spirits. My date and I were lucky that when we walked in the door, Chef Justin Devillier spotted us and hand-delivered two cocktails to us.
Then it was off to Tivoli & Lee for an intimate dinner with Hangar One Vodka, with cocktails curated by T&L's own Cassandra Fay.
The Diageo House Party was backyard-themed this year, so every brand had their own tent/picnic tables/barn-with-mechanical-bull/beach-shack. Like Ikea, but with drinks. Get the idea? A frozen coffee from the Bailey's nook helped me into the night, as did a few bottles of Guiness collected from a wheelbarrow of ice.
Not to be outdone, the Bacardi Street Party was a short walk away. These two major liquor companies are like A Tale of Two Cities. Bacardi had an alcoholic lemonade stand in their courtyard, as well as food trucks from Drago's with charbroiled oysters and Taceaux Loceaux serving up their usual late-night fare. Inside the warehouse, they built a set designed after the French quarter, but with small "stores" for each of their brands: An apothecary for Bombay Sapphire, a boulangerie for Grey Goose, etc.
Now on to today itself: Monkey 47 hosted a luncheon at Brennan's, with a paired cocktail for each course. The clear standout to me was from Dead Rabbit's Greg Buda. Monkey 47's founder and owner Alexander Stein was there and said a few words. I was able to talk to him a bit and asked his favorite way to drink his gin. The answer: Often. After some laughter, he said he believes in simple classics that showcase the gin rather than hide it: Tonic, Martinis, Gimlets, etc. The meal was long, leisurely, and boozy... as any true New Orleans lunch should be.
I spent the afternoon with Hangar One at Fulton Alley snacking and drinking and not-bowling. (They bowled, and I declined.) They're a great crew, and I look forward to seeing what they bring to Tales in future years. As for Fulton itself, the staff was chipper and recovered from their Spirited Dinner with Tito's on Thursday.
The last official Tales event: Bartender's Breakfast (from 11pm-2am). And the aftermath: Pig & Punch and the Freret Street Block Party.