Tales of the Cocktail Preview

28 June, 2016

Your guide to the must-dos of the new orleans contest. by Hamish Smith

THE WEATHER IS warmer, the bartenders are looking restless and the rest of us are taking a deep breath – it can only be time for Tales.

Now in its 14th year and offering 200 seminars, tastings, competitions and parties, a week at Tales of the Cocktail has never required as much planning. Of course, there are some who don’t make the morning register for the educational programme – the revelling around New Orleans’s French Quarter sometimes coincides – but for the daytime-functioning, and those who can afford the fees, here’s a run down of the best talks and tastings.




9.30-18.00 (every day) – The Bitter Market allows bartenders to bask in a world of bitters that could one day gather dust on the back bar. Joking aside, with 35 sponsor bitters, this is a notable showcase of bitters.

Lobby of the Hotel Monteleone

14.00 – If you’ve ever wondered how Tales works (we have, and we’ve been) turn up for Ask Us Anything. Supremo Ann Tuennerman and friends take questions on everything Tales.

Queen Anne Ballroom at the Hotel Monteleone

15.00 – A Journey Through Sherry Cocktails is a mighty subject, but González Byass will guide bartenders through the gamut of styles and drinks.

Vieux Carre Room at the Hotel Monteleone



10.00 – Go Deep Not Wide has to be the title of a business seminar. Distill Ventures, Diageo’s craft business groomer, is at Tales to take you through how you build a brand with the subconscious motive of being bought out by Diageo. It’s the dream of many craft distiller – actually, it is.

Vieux Carre Room at the Hotel Monteleone

10.00 – Another for the bartender turned brand-tender is How to Start a Brand Without a Distillery. Industry-leading piggybackers explain contract bottling and offer advice to those who can’t afford a still.

La Nouvelle Orleans East at the Hotel Monteleone

15.00 – Why Cocktail Cultures Develop or Don’t is the subject of debate between George Nemec and Audrey Fort, from macroeconomics to food trends.

La Nouvelle Orleans East at the Hotel Monteleone



10.00 – a taboo subject, Pay to Play, is called out by Dushan Zaric, Bobby Heugel and Angus Winchester, who discuss how bars can maintain integrity in the face of sponsorship.

Queen Anne Ballroom at the Hotel Monteleone

10.30 – Better Bar Music is one of the unsung developments of the craft bar. Jacob Briars et al take us through creating an instant atmosphere.

Fleur de Lis Suite at the Royal Sonesta Hotel

15.00 – Visit the cocktail trends of Italy, Japan, Germany and the US on this cocktail safari through the World of Fratelli Branca, as told by Edoardo Branca, Hidetsugu Ueno, Nick Wu and Sebastian Schneider.

Royal Ballrooms C&D at the Hotel Monteleone



10.00 – Talking Rot: Rancio, Scotch and MADness sees Dave Broom, Ryan Chetiyawardana and MAD scientist Arielle Johnson examine the more mysterious flavours.

Queen Anne Ballroom at the Hotel Monteleone

12.30 – Milk Punch Technique & History is a real retro subject. Still, clarification is a growing modern-day trend.

Iberville Room at the Hotel Monteleone

15.00 – Carbon: the Building Block of Spirits & Cocktails – and a lot of other things, but that’s what the likes of Ian McLaren and beverage scientist Ned Popovic will discuss. One for the geeks.

Iberville Room at the Hotel Monteleone



10.30 – when all’s said and done, the industry is about making money. Avoiding Theft in Bars is key. Ivy Mix and friends talk us through the cost of shrinkage.

Acadia Suite at the Royal Sonesta Hotel

15.00 – Having a Theme

Without Being a Theme Bar –sounds interesting because no-one wants to own a theme bar. A guide to avoiding clichés.

La Nouvelle Orleans West at the Hotel Monteleone

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