Tales of the Cocktail 2017 - Finish Strong
On Friday, Casa Noblé Tequila hosted an “Over Easy” Brunch at Maypop, which served up Southeast-Asian-influenced twists on New Orleans classics like Crab Toast, Chicken & Waffles, and of course Shrimp & Grits. (My personal favorite was the Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Waffles with Noblé Reposado butter nuoc cham and marinated peaches.) Noblé served up iced chicory coffee with joven/añejo and saffron-infused whipped cream and chilled chamomile tea with reposado and lemongrass honey. Perfect way to brunch.
Swung by Backspace Bar where Royal Dutch Distillers was serving up delicious pairings (food by David Rosengarten and drinks by guest bartenders rotating throughout the afternoon). New York and Miami were trading off during my shift visit, and the Rutte Gin was flowing.
Afterwards I wandered over to Jackson Square where Stanley* teamed up with Johnnie Walker Black to open a “Johnnie & Soda Shop.” Johnnie Walker paired their scotch collection with Stanley*s housemade soda collection. A rootbeer float with Johnnie-Walker-Butterscotch Ice Cream and a half pour of Johnnie will change your life. The jukebox was a nice touch too.
Because my Tales can apparently never have too much tequila in it, I followed that up with the Cazadores Bartender Boxing event. Tequila and boxing--What could possibly go wrong? Cazadores took bartenders from Houston and LA and trained them for three months, took them to Mexico for boxing camp, and brought the four finalists to Tales. Incredible event. The energy level was so high. Great drinks, particularly a Passion Fruit Paloma with Cazadores Blanco and a touch of St-Germain. The three men’s bouts were intense, but the true spectacle was the ladies’ round. They came for blood. It was the only split decision, and the win was well-earned.
After that, it was off to Amaro Montenegro’s “After Hours” with House of Yes. Burlesque, contortionists, aerial acrobats. One-Eyed Jack’s was the perfect venue for the event. I mostly stuck to Montenegro Mules and Montenegro & Mezcal all night, but the drinks were all perfectly paired with the event.
Do you miss the ‘90s? I never realized how much I did until Monkey Shoulder’s “Saved by the Monkey,” a party on Bourbon Street’s largest balcony venue. All the drinks were named after ‘90s icons (appropriately honored with magazine-cutout collages on the pillars). The music was ‘90s, and the “Everybody Loves Raymond” with Whisky, coffee liquer, cold brew, and cinnamon was easy to love.
The next morning when I woke up I joined Jim Beam for a “clean yourself up” barbershop event at Aidan Gill For Men. Neat pours with the Beam mixologists. Cocktails made by local ladies with a Beam spin. Aidan Gill cut my hair himself, and I thought I was already spoiled. But when the New Orleans torrential afternoon downpour came, I allowed myself to be convinced to indulge in a baby hot towel shave and a manicure. A local poet even wrote poems about everyone on his typewriter.
Not to be left out of the whiskey game, perpetual favorite Jameson hosted a party called “Irish Goodbye” from 11pm to 3am. Yes, you read that right. The Monastery in the quarter was packed with bartenders talking shop and wishing each other well, before next year. My drink of choice: Daniel Victory’s cocktail made with pho herb syrup. Beam also enlisted Hansen’s Sno-Bliz to make boozy snoballs. The Caskmates Café Sno-lait was the summer treat I never knew I needed in my life.
Finally, the next “morning” (aka noon) I forced myself to the Bon Vivants’ Pig & Punch. A charity event benefitting local schools, Pig & Punch is a giant picnic open to everyone. They trust you to make a donation to enjoy cochon de lait and punches provided generously by local restaurants and countless liquor brands who came for Tales. The pigs are cooked in multiple ways. The punches are strong and balanced. If you go and don’t make a donation or at least buy a t-shirt or tanktop, you really shouldn’t be in attendance. It’s also a perfect chance to say goodbye to anyone you didn’t see off at Irish Goodbye.
All in all, another incredible Tales of the Cocktail year. Fifteen may be a milestone, but my lucky number is sixteen. See y’all next year. Thanks for another great Tales.
Love and liquor,
Andrew Marin writes about cocktails and food for Where Y’at Magazine, and he is covering Tales of the Cocktail this year. Follow him @ndrewmarin on Twitter and Instagram, and add andrewmarin on Snapchat for live updates.