A guide to Tales of the Cocktail

15 July, 2014

Cognac Reviseur will be showcasing its range both neat and in cocktails at The Four Seasons of Cognac, BNIC Tasting Room, July 16, 15.00-17.00, in Orleans Room, Hotel Monteleone. Domaines Francis Abécassis wants to showcase to bartenders the suitability of the brand’s VS expression to mixing. Elodie Abécassis, CEO of Cognac Reviseur, ABK6 and Leyrat will be present at Tales of the Cocktails for the first time.

Drambuie is the sponsor of the third annual Tales on Tap competition, the largest draft cocktail contest in America, it is claimed. The event takes place Friday 18, 15.00-17.00 in the Royal Ballrooms C&D at the Hotel Monteleone.

Adam Robinson from Rum Club in Portland, Oregon, Joey Vargas from American Whiskey in Manhattan, and Jake Bliven from Ironside Fish & Oyster and The Davis in Chula Vista, California, will pit their draft cocktails against each other for the chance of being named Tales on Tap champion and win $5,000.

“Draft cocktails is a trend that’s here to stay,” said Ann Tuennerman, co-founder of Tales of the Cocktail. “It just made sense for us to celebrate those who are mastering the draft.”

Judges include Tom Fischer of Bourbon Blog, Jonathan Howard, beverage manager at American Whiskey and 2012 Drambuie Tales on Tap winner, and Drambuie US brand ambassador Anthony Caporale, who said: “Bartenders are really starting to appreciate the benefits of serving draft cocktails, including faster service times, increased consistency, and greater cost control. Our three finalists nailed the spirit of the draft service, creating recipes that showcase the unique properties of this mixing style.”

De Kuyper is making a push at this year’s Tales with its brand Mandarine Napoléon, a blend of 10-year aged cognac and mandarins.

Three events are planned, the first of which is the second edition of Annual Imperial Battle of the Sexes, which takes place Wednesday, 15.00-17.00. According to the liqueur brand the battle’s man vs woman tussle is “in the spirit of Napoleon’s epic battles” and will see eight of the best male and best female bartenders from around the US paired to compete and create their signature Mandarine Napoléon cocktail. Guests will try the cocktails with New Orleans-style cuisine made with Mandarine Napoléon. Onlookers will decide which gender is winner. Each team will battle for a cash prize donated to their charity of choice. The winning team will also vote for the losers’ ‘consequences’, which are “sure to be embarrassing”, the brand warns.

Next up for the Mandarine Napoléon is Dynamic Duos, which will take place at the 200-year-old New Orleans landmark Napoleon House on Saturday 19 from 14.00-23.00.

Bartending will be Marc de Kuyper, the eldest of the 11th generation of De Kuyper Royal Distillers and president of the Miami-based division of the family business. Joining him behind the bar is co-founder of 86 Spirits Co and Employees Only, Dushan Zaric. De Kuyper and Zaric will pour a “happy hour menu featuring unique, signature and classic Mandarine Napoléon cocktails”. Marc de Kuyper told DI: “I have never been behind a bar to make cocktails before so it should be funny.”

Mandarine Napoléon’s third event is the Pig & Punch by hospitality firm the Bon Vivants, on Saturday 19 from 12.00-18.00 in Washington Square Park. According to the team behind the event “calling Pig & Punch a party hardly does it justice”. Now in its fifth year, the festival is filled with “pork, punch, music, games, and friends”. T-Shirts are $30 and come with food and drink. All proceeds go to New Orleans KIPP schools. To date, the event has raised more than $80,000.

William Grant & Sons will host a range of seminars, tastings and cocktail events through its team of US brand ambassadors. Seminars will cover the rise of thrown cocktails and a ‘deconstruction’ of the scotch category as well as trade-focused sessions covering the importance of physical conditioning for endurance and longevity in the liquor business and tips to prevent over-serving, avoid liability issues and diffuse confrontation in the bar.

William Grant & Sons portfolio ambassador Charlotte Voisey will host several seminars, including an exploration of the multifaceted role of vodka in mixology and a look into spirit-focused bars and sommeliers.

The group will celebrate author of The Gentleman’s Companion, Charles H Baker Jr, with a party at the New Orleans Lakefront Airport.

The annual event, spearheaded by creative director St John Frizzell, is expected to attract more than 1,000 spirits industry professionals, mixologists and guests. The party draws inspiration from “the stories Baker shared and the legendary parties he threw”.

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