Calling all cocktail enthusiasts! What do you get when you combine thousands of mixologists, spirit industry professionals, bar enthusiasts, and lots of libations all in one week? Tales of the Cocktail, of course! This week, I’m heading south to New Orleans, the birthplace of the cocktail as we know it today, for a spirited gathering of industry elite from around the world!
TOTC 2018 Cocktail Competition Winner, Spiced Nashi by Willy Estrada
Held annually, the week features seminars, parties, and cocktailing galore in this boozy 24-hour playground. It can be a liver workout – trust me! And every year they hold a cocktail completion around a classic libation – this year it was the best twist on a French 75, one of my all-time favorite cocktails.
But the big event of the week is the Spirited Awards. Since their debut in 2007, the Spirited Awards have recognized the best and brightest in the cocktail and spirits industries, from bartenders and brand ambassadors to bars and writers. It has become one of the most coveted honors an industry professional can receive! Each year, a panel of over 140 industry experts (including yours truly!), take part in a month-long voting process to choose their picks for Awards finalists. Check out the full listing of this years Top 4 Nominees in Each Category Here!
“These finalists are representative of the best and brightest in our industry and it’s incredible to see their accomplishments recognized,” says Neal Bodenheimer, Board Member of Tales of the Cocktail Foundation. “We look forward to welcoming them to New Orleans and celebrating their contributions to the industry.”
Not only is the festival SO much fun, it’s a great place to see and taste the latest and greatest trends and new spirits. And good news- tickets are open to the public. So if you’re looking for a reason to expand your liquor knowledge and visit NOLA- Tales of the Cocktail is the perfect excuse.
Can’t make it this year? No problem! You can still get in the spirit by making a New Orleans Classic Cocktail like the Sazerac! (Recipe below)
So, wherever you might be this week, raise a glass with me to magical New Orleans, and all my friends at Tales of the Cocktail! -Kathy
Photo by Nan Palermo.
The Sazerac Coffeehouse where this cocktail earned its name, made the switch from the original brandy to rye and gained a dash of absinthe. The rest, as they say, is history!
Makes 1 cocktail
1/4 oz Ricard or absinthe
2 oz rye
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Garnish: Wide lemon disk
Rinse a chilled Old Fashioned glass with Ricard or absinthe; set aside. In a mixing glass, measure in the rye, syrup and bitters. Fill mixing glass 3/4 full with ice and stir swiftly for 20 seconds. Strain into liqueur-rinsed glass without ice. Squeeze lemon disk over top of drink then drop in.