Tales of the Cocktail 2011

Jul 20, 2011 by

Everybody should believe in something… I believe I’ll have another drink!
-Anon

It’s Day One of the world’s largest gathering of cocktailians: Tales of the Cocktail! In its ninth year, Tales just keeps getting bigger offering more events, more seminars and more alcohol than you can shake a swizzle at. I shall endeavor to provide you with some of the highlights along the way, as well as a small itinerary of upcoming events in case you’re already attending, or inclined to do so! Specific recipes will follow when I get around to posting the pictures sometime next week. (With 16 hours of drinking and an average of 300 pictures per day, I need some rest!) And as we go, I’ll be counting the cocktails, so be sure to follow along!

Last night, Tales swung into first gear with two preliminary invitation only events. First was a blogger’s reception at Arnaud’s French 75 hosted by Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac. The reception featured two cognac cocktails: The Cognac Summit and the French 75. The Cognac Summit was created last summer by 20 renowned mixologists at the first ever Cognac Summit. (What a coincidence!) Consisting of lime peel and ginger muddled in 1.5 oz of VSOP Cognac, 4-5 ice cubes, 2 oz of traditional lemonade and a long cucumber peel garnish, the Cognac Summit is a light, refreshing drink that provides endless satisfaction for the taste buds. And I don’t even like Cognac!

Alas, the French 75 was not as pleasing. Though some attendees sang its praises, I noticed quite a few left unfinished atop bar and tables. The French 75 boasts 1 oz Cognac, .25 oz lemon juice, .25 oz simple syrup, 3 oz champagne and a lemon twist. While it sounds nice, I and another attendee traded descriptives over it for a few minutes. Bitter. Dry. Stale. Vile. Odious… and it went downhill from there. Still, as I previously stated, I don’t like Cognac, so don’t take my word for it, but the difference between the two offerings was night and day. (The Count: 2)

Next on the agenda was the Grey Goose Inspire event, detailed here previously. Held again at Latrobe’s, GG did away with the huge center bar that filled the main room last year which made an enormous difference in the flow. Kudos! Grey Goose offered four cocktails, one for each of their signature bottles and as usual, there was one standout. First up, however, was the Crescent City Fizz consisting of Grey Goose Le Citron, simple syrup, kiwi fruit, muddled mint and vanilla and a splash of club soda. It was nice and tasty. Next came the Blackberry Smash which looks absolutely beautiful. Made with GG L’Orange, muddled blackberries, simple syrup, coconut milk and lime juice, this drink just kind of sits around on your tongue waiting for something else to happen. Perhaps the ingredients cancel each other out, but all I could really taste was the L’Orange Vodka. And I tried two from different bartenders. Ah well. (The Count: 5)

Next, the Jus de Rouges! Lovely name but not quite accurate for this drink which contains Grey Goose Vodka, simple syrup, lime juice, ginger ale, peeled ginger, basil leaves and a watermelon slice. Jus de Pink would be more apropos, but still this was a nice cocktail, perfect for hot summer evenings by the pool or mosquito breeding hole in your backyard. (Whichever you have!) (Count: 6)

And finally, the queen of the evening: the French Quarter Tea! Once again, the Grey Goose La Poire entry wins over my taste buds! GG La Poire vodka, kombucha tea, (look it up), agave nectar and a quartered Meyer lemon combine to make this drink a light, airy, minty-fresh mistress ready to cool you down on a hot summer night. This was actually the 3rd drink I tried and ended up being the one I came back for. Again. And Again. and a third time. Oh, and one to travel on. Seriously, it was that good! (Count: 10)

For those of you attending today, or mulling it over, some events to watch for:

10:30 – Art in the Age tasting room
12:30 – Intellectual Property seminar
2:00 – Toast to Tales (Held in front of the Hotel Monteleone. Come and sneak in. No one will notice!) The Toast will be followed by the world’s largest Genever Slurp.
2:30 – Absolut tasting room
4:30 – New Amsterdam Gin tasting
7:00 – Beefeater Welcome Masquerade at Gallier Hall
9:00 – Wm Grant & Sons Swingin’ 40’s Shore Leave Reception at the WWII Museum

I’ll be attending, (or trying to,) most of these and whatever else I can find, so stay tuned!

-M Styborski

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