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Tales of the Cocktail is Coming!

Tales of the Cocktail is Coming!

(Photo from Talesofthecocktail.com)

Rebecca Chapa | Chef's Blade

Tales of the Cocktail is coming! I may be a bit premature in getting excited about Tales of the Cocktail, but realistically it is time to start spring training to prepare! The 7th anniversary Tales of the Cocktail will be held July 8-12, 2009 in New Orleans so save the date! You can get tickets at www.talesofthecocktail.com in early spring. This is truly one of the most fun events of the year, attended by mixologists, bartenders, writers, spirits professionals and more, the event celebrates spirits of all types with seminars, tastings, parties and more.

I attended in 2008 and the best news is that, well, I survived!

I am more a recent addition to the spirits game as my background has been primarily in wine. I embarked into the spirits industry, due to a love of tequila. I even survived multiple trips to Jalisco, Mexico with Julio Bermejo’s of Tommy’s Mexican restaurant. So, I thought, cool, no problem, I can totally handle this, but I was in for a bit of a surprise…

I set out way early on Wednesday for a 5:45 am flight. I mean, seriously, this was just cruel torture. But I had to head through Denver and onto NOLA. I had barely enough time to grab a pretzel and crawl on board my second flight when I ran into my friend Greg Lindgren of Rosewood and Rye bar in San Francisco, so the flight went really quickly as we discussed my tips for the best food and beverage in the city. Upon arriving in New Orleans I checked into the Monteleone Hotel, one of the greatest places to stay in the French Quarter. This historic hotel was purchased by Antonio Monteleone in 1886 and over the years has become larger as other properties were added on. Located in the Quarter it is close enough to walk over to the casino and close to where you can pick up a streetcar. It is also the home of the amazing Carousel Bar, a bar where the center revolves – talk about getting a buzz! Despite the seemingly “kitschy” atmosphere they make an amazing Pimm’s Cup, a must on your cocktail tour of the quarter. This trip I had no chance getting a seat at the 25 seat rotating bar as each and every moment it was packed. The hotel is also said to be haunted, but other than the weird twists and turns and subfloors and weird staircases, I didn’t notice any spirits other than the ones I was imbibing.

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Bloody Mary Competition: Greg Lindgren and David Nepove, The SF Contingent

At any rate, soon I was ensconced in a beautiful corner room with a sitting room, two baths and a bedroom complete with fruit plate and bottled water. I was in heaven, but who spends time in the room. I set off almost immediately to hit the Andy Warhol party at the W Hotel hosted by Martini and Rossi. Martini and Rossi vermouth may at first strike you as something your grandma may drink, but they have really delicious products that make a big impact in cocktails. I recently met up with pro-football star Jimmy Cefalo and tried his favorite simple drink, a splash of Martini & Rossi red vermouth on ice with some orange juice, actually a really refreshing aperitif. At the Warhol event they served variations on classics like the Warhol Manhattan (2 parts Martini & Rossi Rosso vermouth, 2 parts Dewar’s White Label, and three cherrries on the rocks.) For a less potent beverage I preferred the Celebrity Crush (1 & 1/2 parts Martini & Rossi Rosso, 2 parts cranberry juice, 3/4 part simple syrup, 6 fresh raspberries and 12 fresh rosemary needles muddled.)