The morning kicked off with a New Orleans take on an English Breakfast with Oxley Gin. Fried crumpets, oh my!
A packed day of sessions and tastings covered everything from colonial punches (including drinkmaking with hot iron sticks) to lunch made with angostura bitters to the annual Tales of the Cocktail parade. New Orleans definitely knows how to put on a parade.
In the evening, we hit the Cocktails from Around the World party hosted by Diageo at the New Orleans Heritage Museum, a very cool party where we sampled many drinks poured by some of the best bartenders in the United States. We counted over 50 drinks poured and after three hours, we had hit all the continents but only slightly over half of the cocktails.
Next, we were wined and dined by Russian Standard Vodka Spirited Dinner held at the Eiffel Society (where we ate and drank under a piece of the Eiffel Tour). The dinner featured five courses paired with spirits. The most sublime pairing was the seared Fois Gras with St. Germaine.
Onto the Bombay Sapphire Party at the House of Blues, where Bombay Sapphire was rocking three parties all serving drinks with Bombay Sapphire. My favorite part of the evening was watching the French revolution inspired mimes and the human butterfly and trying all the inventive gin drinks. It’s not just for your grandfather!
Just when we thought the evening was drawing to an end, we had one last party to go to hosted by Zubrowska Bison Grass Vodka. Low and behold, they shut off part of Bourbon street and created a modern bull (bison) riding bar, right in the street! However, unlike the party on Wednesday night, which hosted real livestock, the bison was mechanical. Folks sure had a fun time riding it.
Friday brought more seminars and tastings and the crowds at Tales intensified. It’s amazing how Tales draws people from all over the world.
In the morning we held a second signing for our book, DIY Cocktails. According to the Tales folks, it’s been one of the best-selling books at Tales. Marcia followed up with an impromptu interview with Mr. Cocktail himself about DIY Cocktails.
We followed this with a lunch at the Bombay Club hosted by Purity Vodka where traditional Southern Food was served (who doesn’t love fried chicken & waffles?). We were taught how infuse vodka with a soda siphon, and I made a signature vodka infused with tomatoes, cucumber and celery. Refreshing.
After a few seminars, we now know that Trader Vic did indeed invent the Mai Tai, well maybe. We also learned about how wood influences the taste and complexity of spirits, the rise of home mixology according to Dave Embury and the spirits scene in the Southern Hemisphere. Apparently there is a guy in New Zealand making a 17th century cocktail with pre-Civil War gun powder.
In the evening, Ricard hosted a bartender Pétanque tourney. Pétanque is a game similar to Bocce Ball but with French flair (fancy silver balls and teams dressed in striped shirts). It was certainly entertaining and the teams were troupers as they had to play in mud due to the pouring rain earlier in the day.