Saturday, July 3, 2010

People Are Jazzed About Tales of the Cocktail

Tales of the Cocktail, New Orleans’s annual five-day summer celebration of all things spirituous, is gearing up for its July 21–25 celebration. We asked you what you are looking forward to most from Tales of the Cocktail 2010, and here’s what you told us. (We will continue to update this post as you send in the things you’re most excited about Tales of the Cocktail this year [].)

Stephan Berg, one of the masterminds behind The Bitter Truth bitters and spirits, waxed enthusiastic about Tales this year. “Oh we are excited, because we just got nominated as best new product with our Celery Bitters.” We love his celery bitters and have been tinkering with it recently in a cocktail riff on the Vesper we call Clear.

(created by Cocktail Buzz)

1 1/2 ounces gin
1 ounce vodka or a light ginger-infused vodka
1/4 ounce elderflower liqueur (such as St-Germain)
dash or two of Bitter Truth Celery Bitters
splash of soda
grapefruit peel

To build in a highball glass, add the spirits. Then add ice. Top with soda. Stir until chilled. Express grapefruit peel over the drink and rim the glass with the outside part of the peel. Discard or add to drink.

Tiare Olsen, who muses about spirits, and especially tiki drinks, on her blog A Mountain of Crushed Ice, gave us her list of things she’s most looking forward to:
Its first and foremost about three things for me:
  1. The people — meeting my friends and making new friends;
  2. New Orleans — love that city!;
  3. Party and having a good time (that includes great cocktails and the best food in the world).
As a codicil, she added, “Then of course, interesting sessions.”

Sarah LeRoy of Piedmont Distillers, the makers of Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon, Catdaddy, and Lightning Lemonade, was excited about the visibility of Piedmont’s products at this year’s Tales:
Of course, I think the Piedmont Distillers Tasting Room is a must attend event. After months of Catdaddy recipe creations by mixologists from across the country, we’ll have King Cocktail himself Dale DeGroff, editors from Mutineer Magazine, Paul Tuennerman (aka Mr. Cocktail), and Joe Michalek (Piedmont Distillers Founder) judging the top 3 recipes from the Catdaddy Bar Chef Challenge. They’ll pick the winner of the Golden Mason Jar trophy. But it’s not just the “experts” who will have their voices heard – everyone who comes to the Tasting Room will get to vote on their favorite cocktail too.
The Tasting Room is on Thursday, July 22, from 4:30–6:00pm, so it’s a great way to kick off your evening before you head out to the Spirited Dinners. Sarah and the gang will be in the Royal Room on the bottom floor of the Monteleone (near the parking deck entrance). Be sure to tell them Steve and Paul sent you their way!

Danny Ronen, spirits writer, rep, barman, and all around great guy, responded by saying:
Strangely, the things I’m actually most excited about are all not part of Tales itself:
  • Volunteering with some friends before Tales begins;
  • Exploring NOLA: the Garden District, Uptown, 9th Ward;
  • BBQ in a local park; and
  • Seeing friends and colleagues from around the world — that means YOU kids!
That’s so sweet of Danny to refer to us as kids. He’s either delusional or knows that flattery will get him everywhere.

Libation Girl Carmen Operetta, who’s always on the lookout for the latest trends in cocktailing on her Libation Diaries blog, gushed about how much she loves Tales:
I’m so excited to return this year! Last year was my first and words can’t describe how fantastic it turned out! This year I’m interested in attending the Dita Von Teese+Cointreau burlesque show!!

Also, I will actually have the time to visit the Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC) and eat more of the native cuisine (maybe not the seafood) and do a little shopping.

There will be so many interesting events, seminars, and dinners to attend this year; therefore I’m getting prepared now to get hopefully the full experience of TOTC!
Kara Newman, food/wine/spirits writer, is excited about the following seminars she will be attending:

  • Art of the Aperitif (after reading Paul Clarke’s SF Chronicle article on this topic, I’m curious about quinquinas!);
  • From Convicts to Cocktailians: The Release of Australian Flavour (because I love armchair travel, and I’ve never been to Australia);
  • The Smooth & Creamy History of the Fern Bar (Martin Cate is always entertaining . . . and this topic sounds delightfully recherche!)
But Kara is especially jazzed about signing copies of her first book, Spice & Ice.
I presented a panel on spicy cocktails with the same title at Tales two years ago, so this feels like coming full circle! Some of the same bartenders who were on that panel (Adam Seger and Danny Valdez), and the drinks they presented at Tales, are in the book too. It might sound sentimental, but it just feels right to be bringing the book here.
Kathy Casey, the talent behind Kathy Casey Food Studios and The Liquid Kitchen, and many other food and cocktail adventures, is very excited about her seminar Creative Cocktails and the Power of Brainstorming. And of course, she and her crew can’t wait to see old friends again, and make some new ones.

Francine Cohen, editor of Inside F&B, has the following to say:
I can hardly wait to return to New Orleans for Tales! Picking my favorite things would be like picking my favorite spirit – impossible since there’s so much that is good.
We may no longer have the constant buzzing of the vuvuzelas in our ears now that the World Cup has ended but it will be replaced by an even livelier buzz – the happy sounds of new and old friends greeting one another and the constant spirited chatter that fills the halls of the Monteleone, envelops the Carousel Bar, permeates Old Absinthe house, and wafts across the pool.
This year’s Pro Series seminar lineup is even more exciting to me than it has ever been as there’s a lot of attention focused on the business of the bar business with presentations on consulting, intellectual property, wisely crafting deals, effective operations, and more. As the industry talent grows from bartenders to bartender/businessmen this kind of information is invaluable.
I’m also looking forward to supporting the Cointreau Apprentice Program and poking my nose around behind the scenes and reporting on the goings-on in so everyone knows (even if they’re in a bit of an alcohol induced haze) just what it takes to put together such a great time.
And lastly, I’m jazzed about all the fun evening events from the Beefeater Welcome Reception to the Diageo Happy Hour to the Bombay Spirited Dinner to the Cowboy Mouth and Rebirth Brass Band concert DonQ organized to benefit the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s efforts to clean up and restore the Gulf Coast area impacted by the oil spill, to the Spirited Awards and the Bartender’s Breakfast.
I’m exhilarated and exhausted already just thinking about it!
Thuhuong Tran, a New Orleans native who we met at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, and who watched us pour some Catdaddy cocktails at last year’s Tales tweeted, “I am most excited about trying all the different spirits and liqueurs and seeing all the peeps I’ve met in the past!”

And someone from responded that he or she was “excited about Tales of the Cocktail in general! The Spirited Dinners series sounds like an amazing way to experience NOLA.”

We also received a nice note from Dinah Sanders and Joe Gratz. They write on their blog, and apologize that they will not be able to attend Tales this year. They included in their note:
Alas — a bit sorry not to be infusing our cash into the wounded New Orleans economy as well as missing the cocktail nerdy fun.
Tickets to the events mentioned can be purchased here.

[Buzz note: Words cannot describe how horrible the Gulf oil disaster is; our hearts go out to all who are dealing with this fiasco on a daily basis.]

1 comment:

  1. thuhuong(laura)tranJuly 8, 2010 at 5:30 AM

    oh wow thank you for including me in your lil writeup. after reading all the quotes i now am looking forward to the catdaddy bar chef challenge taking place during the Piedmont tasting room.


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