Next week brings the 2010 edition of Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, and I thought I’d run down some of the events I’m planning to attend. My calendar’s booked pretty solid this year, although I have a bit of downtime near the beginning. I booked my sessions back in March, when I was a working bartender, so bear in mind that some of my choice had a lot to do with bringing cocktail ideas back to a restaurant bar. I could be upset about that, but as John Lennon wrote, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
Onward. Some of this is subject to change. Most of the seminars are solid, but I might try to move one or two around if I can.
Two years ago, I arrived on Wednesday and left Sunday morning, thus missing one of the seminars I was most interested in, St. John Frizell‘s look at the life of Charles Baker. (He adapted his talk into an article for the Summer 2008 issue of Oxford-American magazine, fortunately, and the text of the piece is online at St. John’s website.) This year, I’m staying through Sunday and leaving Monday morning, also ass-early. Look for my bleary-eyed mug at MSY.
- Get up ass-early for a 6:30 flight from Providence to O’Hare. After an hour-and-a-half layover, it’s off to Louis Armstrong Airport.
- Cab to the Hotel Monteleone, where I’ll be crashing out for the week.
- Probably grab a po-boy and then hit the Tales Tuesday Tasting at d.b.a. that afternoon, which I’m eager to do. I love the d.b.a. bar in New York’s East Village. I would sometimes take an afternoon off work and repair to d.b.a.’s patio with a beer, a good book, and a cigar. I’ve never been to the NOLA d.b.a., and I’m looking forward to it.
- Then, it’s back to the Quarter for the Tales Blogger reception. Then dinner, somewhere. Not sure yet.
- First up, one of my working-bartender choices: Liquid Disc Jockey – Controlling the Flow of Any Room. I will probably try to switch out of this, maybe attend Camper English’s seminar on presentations which is at the same time.
- Next up, the Beefeater Welcome Reception. The 2008 version was off the charts in terms of the amount of food served, so I plan to stuff the heck out of my face.
- Busy, busy, busy. First up, Botanical Garden, Charlotte Voisey’s look at the use of botanicals in distillation. Another event chosen to enhance my skills behind the bar. This one, though, I’ll keep because it sounds great, even to someone who’s “just” a writer/blogger. Using seasonal herbs and other ingredients in cocktails is my “beat” at Edible Rhody, so I hope to learn a lot that I can bring to the magazine.
- Then, At Full Sail, the look at overproof spirits with Audrey Saunders and Eric Seed. This one will be popular, I know.
- After that, Umami in Cocktails, moderated by my friend Darcy O’Neil. Again, a professional-bartender choice, but again, one I’ll keep because I like the topic and it’ll give me writing ideas.
- Then, another private event, one I hope to be writing about post-Tales.
- Spirited Dinner will probably follow, although I’ve made neither choice nor reservation.
- The Hows and Whys of Cocktails, with Audrey Saunders and food-nerd hero Harold McGee. This is going to kill.
- History, Science, and Creativity Behind Essential Oils and Extracts. Another pro choice, and one I might keep, although I may get into Science of Stirring, if I can.
- Hollywood Cocktails. As a lover of old movies and booze, I’m crazy happy for this one. I chose this one just to have fun.
- Another private thing follows, one that I absolutely can’t talk about. Yet.
- My big moment: Rolling Out the Red Carpet for Rookies. Assuming I don’t stroke out first. I get to share a seminar with the Robert Hess who isn’t my father-in-law? Damn.
- Blair the Bear’s Tiki Now! I think this one’s close to selling out.
- Paul “The Godfather” Clarke’s Art of the Aperitif. Great topic for Tales.
- Then, I’ll probably disco-nap prior to the Bartender’s Breakfast at midnight.
- A light schedule. Dale DeGroff’s Cognac panel to start…
- Followed by the Sprezzatura Bartender panel. I want to get the cut of Vadrna’s jib.
- Then probably just a few last drinks at Carousel with any other stragglers.
- MSY > CLT > PVD > bed for a week.