So, how was Tales of the Cocktail, the annual cocktail convention in New Orleans, you ask? Here are some observations from this year.
- Compared with previous years, Tales was a much bigger pain in the butt in advance with the ticketing system, but smoother at the door of the sessions if you had tickets. I had tickets so it was a smooth ride.
- On the plus side, there were so many more people there this year that the ticketing system was necessary.
- If most of the sessions are so full that people can't go to them who want to, maybe they need bigger rooms.
- They solved the elevator problem by having the press lounge upstairs. It was great up there.
- This year it seemed as if people were on one of three different tracks- they were either just at the sessions, just in the tasting rooms, or just partying. There were a lot of people at Tales I never saw.
- Many, many people complained about the amount of selling/branding in the sessions this year. I did go to two or three sessions where one speaker gave a brand presentation instead of an overview (infuriating), but most of mine weren't like that.
- My favorite sessions were:
- The Molecular DNA of Classic Cocktails
- Also good: Innovation (A molecular techniques session), Low Country Libations (spirits of the Netherlands region)
- I finally saw some of it this year! I highly recommend having a civilian friend come to New Orleans with you because eventually you will be dragged out of the Monteleone to do something that's not drinking. I did a three-hour van tour that was pretty cool.
- Apparently bartenders love the Old Absinthe House. And Barely Legal. And The Alibi.
- Cure is awesome. I feel very comfortable in a fancy cocktail environment. Bars like Cure make me feel like home. My favorite drink there was the Before and After Start and Finish. It contained Averna and tastes almost like Absinthe and Coke.
- I tied last year's record of four trips to eat at Subway: The vegetarian's best friend in New Orleans.
More pics on my flickr page here.