Like many of my cocktail-minded friends, I am in New Orleans for the seventh annual Tales of the Cocktail. The official kick-off toast is but a few hours away, and this year's agenda is packed full of great seminars and events.
I came down a couple of days early to attend most of the Drink.Write 2009 event. The folks at the Cocktail & Spirit Online Writers Group did an amazing job of pulling together seminars and events for the group, and I got a lot out of it. Yesterday, we spent a couple of hours discussing garnishes, and a couple of hours on cocktail photography. I hope to improve in both those areas going forward, although you'll be the judge on that.
Here are a few pictures (and descriptions) from some of my adventures so far. Next year, you really should try to come if you're not already on the way - it's a lot of fun, the people are fantastic, the drinks are great, and the opportunities for learning and making new friends are plentiful.
These first two are from some of the CSOWG events. We had a wonderful dinner at Rambla on Monday night, sponsored by Leblon. The food and drinks were fantastic, and the company was great too. On Tuesday, we had a nice lunch at On Tuesday, we had lunch at Wolfe's restaurant, hosted by Zwack, and along the way we all had a shot of Zwack.
Zwack has an interesting history, it's the official spirit of Hungary, and they sell 6 million bottles in Hungary to the 10 million residents each year. Wow.
I was really impressed (and dismayed, since we can't really compete with all of this) at the level of sponsorship and donations the group received from the big liquor companies. It's great because it enables them to have these kinds of events, but it makes it really hard for us little guys to compete.
The Mixo House
The CSOWG have a great house with a communal bar for the group, and a kitchen. They have a variety of spirits, fruits and mixers available for their members and guests - it's really an incredible setup.
Here's Matt Robold the RumDood with his before & after pictures tasting Jeppson's Malort, which I've written about a few times. I think I might have to submit this to Malort Face on Flickr.
On Monday night, we went to the newly reopened Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel, and had the namesake drink. A Sazerac. Here's the legendary Chuck Taggart and his partner Wes, as well as a picture of my Sazerac. I've been following Chuck's recommendations for eating and drinking in New Orleans religiously, and it was a delight to spend a little time with him in person.
Along with the Fairmont Hotel folks, the folks at Sazerac made a big investment here too - glassware, exclusively made with Sazerac Rye, etc. It was a nice cocktail - it was about #10 that day, so can't really judge it too harshly.
Secrets of Benedictine
Last night, I went to an event hosted by the folks at Benedictine, called "Secrets of Benedictine." I was hoping to learn a bit more about it, but that wasn't the focus of the event - it was a big cocktail party with Benedictine-based cocktails. There were moving "statues," lots of guys in robes, and some cocktails and snacks to try. They also had stations where you could have your fortune told and be awarded a glass reflecting your social status (I was a "knight" and got a silver goblet), which you then had filed in the alchemy room.