A guide to Tales of the Cocktail

15 July, 2014

There’s plenty to look forward to at the annual cocktail-fest – including new elements. Hamish Smith previews the event

If networking is key to the drinks industry, Tales of the Cocktail is key to networking and thus one of the most important events in the calendar. The annual frolic of seminars, competitions, themed dinners and tastings (formal and informal), will be in its 12th edition when the show kicks off in New Orleans on July 16-20.

For brands the big attraction is the droves of bartenders who make the pilgrimage and, under their watchful, perhaps bleary, eyes, brands will offer a glimpse of their latest products (more on this later).

Seminars are also a draw, some highlights of which are listed here. For a new event, Tales is partnering with Bacardi to present the three-part series Raising the Bar – Better Bar Management, on Wednesday, July 16.

According to Tales: “No matter how many years you’ve been in business, attendees will learn new techniques for successfully managing a bar, including recruitment, training, retention, marketing, menu planning, innovation and much more.”

BYOB (Bring Your Own Barrel) is also new this year on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 17.00 at the Hotel Monteleone. Distillers from around the world let attendees inside their barrels, “sharing the intimate details of the spirits”. Through sampling, distillers will address the effect that ageing techniques have on flavour.

Seminars – the highlights

Wednesday 16

10.00-11.00 How to Go Broke: Opening a Distillery, by Aviation gin & New York Distilling Company, at La Nouvelle Ballroom East, Hotel Monteleone.

10.30-17.00 Raising the Bar – Better Bar Management by Bacardi USA at Grand Ballroom South, Royal Sonesta.

15.30-17.00 Women Behind Bars: Barmaid to Bartender by Beefeater gin & Plymouthgin, at Grand Ballroom North, Royal Sonesta.

Thursday 17

10.00-11.30 Class to Glass: Education Beyond the Bar by Barsmarts & Pisco Porton at La Nouvelle Ballroom West, Hotel Monteleone.

15.00-16.30 Flick of the wrist - The art of the throw by Monkey Shoulder and Beefeater gin, at Riverview Room, Hotel Monteleone.

Friday 18

10.30-12.00 The Art of Eau de Vie (fruit brandies) by Schladerer at Acadia-Madewood, Royal Sonesta.

15.00-16.00 Absinthe Cocktail Lab by Golden Moon Distillery, Lucid absinthe, Jade Liqueurs & Redux absinthe at Riverview Room, Hotel Monteleone

Saturday 19

10.00-11.30 Heads & Tales… It’s a Toss Up! by Hennessy, Highland Park 18 & New York Distilling Company at Queen Anne Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone.

13.00-14.30 White Lyan’s Usquebaugh Tales, by Dewars at Grand Ballroom North, Royal Sonesta.

Brand activity highlights

Disaronno and Tia Maria have organised From Italy Through New Orleans Spirited Dinner, on Thursday 17, 18.00-22.00 at Hotel Mazarin La Lousianne Room. The meal will consist of four courses paired with three Disaronno cocktails and one Tia Maria cocktail. 75 tickets are available.

The two brands go it alone for events, too. Tia Maria will run food-pairing event Flavours of Jamaica Snack Stand, on Wednesday 16, 12.00-13.30, at Hotel Monteleone. Disaronno will be present for BYOB, featuring its Disaronno barrel aged, tequila cocktail and orange bitters. The goal is to show the versatility and mixability of Disaronno.

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