Drink of the Week spent last week in New Orleans with mixologists, liquor companies, cocktail writers, and drinking enthusiasts for the ultimate annual cocktail event, Tales of the Cocktail. It was an action-packed time with something for everyone. We’ll be sharing product reviews, recipes, and techniques soon! Here is a roundup of some of our favorite moments:
The first evening we were all welcomed to New Orleans with a London doubledecker ride to Beefeater Gin’s welcome party. Very British, the Contemporary Arts Center was festooned with Union Jacks and costumed characters from the UK. After some wonderful punch and gin cocktails we were loaded onto another set of buses and whisked off to the Garden District for a garden party at an 1869 mansion. Held at the historic Elms Mansion, William Grant & Sons, showed off their portfolio in grand fashion. Every room in the house featured a different spirit and the garden held at least 4 separate cocktail bars and a very good jazz band.
Back in the French Quarter, we all gathered at the Old Absinthe House, well actually in the street. This historic Bourbon Street Bar is the unofficial Tales after-party spot.
Another night, part of Royal Street in the French Quarter was converted into a petanque court for Ricard’s Midnight petanque tournament, pitting bartender against bartender in a game we’re not entirely sure how to play.
The Bons Vivants, a cocktail community from San Francisco, hosted Pig & Punch. A whole pig was roasted in Washington Square and served with three punches: Wild Turkey with peaches, Cabo Wabo with Watermelon, and Flor de Caña and citrus. Shirts sold benefited a charter school in New Orleans, which the group helped build the week before Tales of the Cocktail.
The Irvin Mayfield Jazz Club at the Royal Sonesta Hotel hosted a burlesque and jazz show. The ladies and the band put on a good show!
Every year, Tales of the Cocktail holds a New Orleans style funeral for a cocktail that should be laid to rest. This year’s funeral was for Sex on the Beach.
The funeral procession started from the annual Spirit Awards, down canal street and to the Bartender’s Breakfast, Plymouth Gin’s annual bash that goes into the wee hours of Sunday morning. This year we were treated to some amazing tropical cocktails and other amazing gin cocktails, including the White Cargo (Plymouth Gin and Vanilla Ice Cream – Shaken) served as we entered the party by Tony Abu-Gamin. The party had a deco theme and also featured ice boxes filled with pre-mixed and bottled cocktails created by some amazing bartenders.
Oh yeah, we attended some really great seminars and tastings. More to come from our Tales of the Cocktail coverage!