Tales of an Outsider
So Tales of the Cocktail 2009 has come and gone. I guess I should spend a little time blogging on though it’s hardly news at this point.
Tales. Hmm… New Orleans was hot and humid and I got out of the Vieux Carre far less than I should have (read: never got out). I also never really got in to Tales either. Most of the time it felt like it was happening all around me (esp. when sitting in the lobby of The Monteleone) but I was not invited in to play. Among other contributing factors was finding most all of the seminars were sold out before I could buy tickets and the lack of name tags. There were literally dozens of people to whom I would have introduced myself: LCL bartenders from Portland and LA whom I hadn’t yet met and writers who’s blogs and columns I had been reading avidly over the past year. Not knowing what they looked like and without name tags, it was a lost cause. If I could pass one note onto the organizers it would be this: have general registration (even if it’s free or close to it) and get people to wear name tags.
Meantime, I did manage to have something like a good time in New Orleans anyway. Here are the highlights:
- Getting to taste all of the Del Maguey mezcals including the Pechuga.
- Meeting Tom Bulleit and toasting him with a glass of his fine bourbon.
- Trying the Bols Genever (mmm, malt) and learning more about how its made.
- Sampling all the tantalizing goodies from Haus Alpenz and meeting Eric Seed.
- Meeting Peter Schaf, one of the masterminds behind Tempus Fugit.
- Trying any number of amazing absinthes on Sunday.
- Chatting with Scott Beattie (“Artisanal Cocktails”) amongst a throng of drunken bartenders milling about on Boubon Street outside The Old Absinthe House.
- Meeting the infamous Ted Breaux of Jade Absinthe.
- Meeting Matt Rowley and yacking with him about creme de noyau.
- Cocktails at Arnaud’s French 75 by Chris Hannah followed by a round of Cafe Brulot (and accompanying light show) courtesy of “The Fat Man” in honor of Martin Miller.
- Having Chris McMillian of The Museum of the American Cocktail recite Josha Soule Smith’s Mint Julep ode after dinner at Antoine’s (though no Mint Juleps were prepared or served at this event).
- Hosting a highly successful LCL cocktail party; cleaning up after the same.
- Trying Mozart Dry chocolate spirit, a bottle of which just appeared (and then disappeared) at the LCL cocktail party.
- The unofficial underground swag-off (one of several I assume).
- Meeting Paul Clarke of The Cocktail Chronicles fame.
- Scoring copies of Charles Baker’s “A Gentleman’s Companion” from 1934 (both volumes) and “Burke’s Complete Cocktail and Tastybite Recipes” from 1936, thanks to Greg Bohem of Mud Puddle Books.
- Oh, and having Jackie Patterson make me her award winning “Star-crossed Lovers” cocktail.