Bar Eras in San Francisco and Beyond
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The Fourth Annual Tales of the Cocktail Swag Awards

Another year, another Tales of the Cocktail convention in New Orleans, another chance to rank the swag! I started giving the swag awards in 2007. 

Once again this year they had a gifting suite rather than a swag bag, wherein you were able to fill up a sack with anything from the room. This is what made it home with me. 

Swag piles

I have a lot of swag around the house (and nearly all my jackets and t-shirts have a booze logo on them somewhere), so I try not to take stuff just to take it. I grabbed a bunch of Firefly Sweet Tea Bourbon from the suite, as I knew you can drink that stuff without any mixers back in the hotel room. I saw writer Jason Wilson with a flask of a Dubonnet Cocktail (Dubonnet, gin, bitters) created from all swag items- nicely done. I recreated that in the room as well.

I typically don't have time to make (or the inclination to fight the crowds for) the swag-rific tasting rooms at Tales, but I did receive a few items outside the gifting suite like the full bottles of Angostura rum and Geranium Gin. 

Absinthe spoons 

I was also handed this year's second place swag winner, an absinthe spoon from Tempus Fugit Spirits. They had the spoons custom made with the skull design, and as a joke kept the real spoon at the end. I will probably use this spoon for every meal and not just for absinthe. Alas, though, the spoon was not heavily-enough branded with the Tempus Fugit name, so it cannot win the award for Best Swag at Tales this year. 

That honor goes to Aperol, for their orange sunglasses. 

Aperol sunglassess
Hip enough to be popular, using the color of the product and subtle branding of the name on the side of the sunglasses, inexpensive enough to give out tons of them, extending the brand beyond the bar, and keeping in line with the brand's image (a sunny summer spirit), Aperol knocked it out of the park for Best Item of Swag this year. 

That said, there were tons of items of swag I'm sure I didn't see. For those who attended, what was your favorite item of swag? 


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My favorite had to be the teeny tiny Angostura bottles. I want to keep them in my purse for bitters emergencies.

Camper English

Totally- As you can see I took a handful of those as well. I looked for them online before but was unable to find them available for purchase. Hey Angostura! We want the minis for sale!

Nick Nemeth

Camper, I don't think you were in the Absolut Sensory Analysis seminar, but the toolkits they gave out were my fave, with G'Vine's ice ball moulds coming in a close second.

I just posted over here:

Nick Nemeth

And I'm definitely going to have to hunt down John or Peter from Tempus Fugit for one of those spoons..


Those Aperol Aviators are hard to beat. They would have been my favorite swag item had I not already been exposed to them at an Aperol event here in Austin last month. One of my colleagues put them on and said, "I look like a gay cop," to which I replied, "Maybe it's the handlebar mustache..."

My top favorite swag items were:
1) the V Rod bottle opener from Bar Products because a) who hasn't struggled with a stuck pour spout? and b) there's something kind of sexy/phallic about the name V Rod, like a name one of those Jersey Shore guys might give to his member

2) the Plymouth Tiki Mug from the Bartender's Breakfast. Does that count as swag? I wasn't sure if we were supposed to take them with us or not (so I took like five)

3) the Hendrick's playing cards. Or just about anything from Hendrick's.

jeanine p

Hey Camper ! I met you on the airport ride home from NOLA. I'm thinking you could wear those orange glasses to get a FREE whataburger next Tuesday that I blogged about that I have scheduled to post on Thursday night... so bookmark me or subscribe so you make sure you don't miss it ! nice meeting you -- Jeanine (bloggers on bourbon)


Im wearing those glasses right now!


: Um, you must have missed the third-annual Swag Off. Held in Seattleites Jim Romdall and Rocky Yea's suite, piles of swag were left on a table and for the throng of watchers and well-wishers, three lucky contestants were chosen. For the results, check Facebook, the winner and associated pictures are up there somewhere.


that spoon looks pretty sweet! yeah ive also seen those Aperol shades before wish they had the lipgloss at tales too. my fav was the Veev Acai water canteens

Matt R.

My fave was the Absolut toolkit as well, followed by the Banks rum minis because damn is that some good rum.

I probably would have been more excited by the Campari or Torani Amer bottles if I didn't already have so many at home - but they were definitely good swag. Mine were donated to the Blogger Haus bar so that I wouldn't have to transport them home.

Tony Harion

Absolut Kit is really awesome, it´s my favorite!

I can barely believe none mentioned the Cigar case/Flask given away by Evan Williams. You don’t really have to enjoy cigars to want one.

I also got and Uber bartools kit at one seminar, very appreciated, but wasnt really a swag.

Tony Harion

Btw, the angostura minis are really awesome (read airplane friendly).

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