Tuesday, July 27, 2010

:: best of tales of the cocktail 2010 pt 2 of 2 ::

Continuing on with some of the superlative moments from my experiences at Tales of the Cocktail this year:

Best Antiques: Vintage hand blown absinthe glasses from the 19th century at Lucullus Antiques. Amazing specimens especially since some were in matched sets of 8 to 10.
Toughest Part of Tales: Workwise, it was barbacking for Blair for a Trader Tiki night and having to keep up with his crushed ice needs besides the rest of the barback duties like cleaning glassware and the like. Most of his drinks were served in 10 oz highballs that burned through a lot of ice, especially since I was breaking it up with a Lewis bag and the bottom of a Midnight Moon liquor bottle (an amazingly sturdy bottle!).
Best Transportation Experience: The St. Charles Streetcar we took out to the Garden District to go to Cure along with Devin, the Periodista Historian. We still walked home again this year (but not through the Magnolia Projects) all the way to the Marigny. The runner-up was the British-style double decker bus that brought us from the Monteleone Hotel to the Beefeater event.
Best Swag: Bottles of Torani Amer, the West Coast version of the French Amer Picon. Hard to find out this way since it is boozy and most distributors of Torani products only handle the alcohol-free ones.
Best Prize: Yarai Mixing Glass from the New Amsterdam mix-off contest. The judges seemed to like my drink, but the fact that I called my drink the Bowery Sour after the New York/New Amsterdam connection instead of after New Orleans probably hurt. Recipe and pics forthcoming.
Hottest New Trend: Ambush Marketing!
Cutest Rep: Lisa Hare, the Sailor Jerry's brand ambassador. She made me a Stormin' Norman at the Hendricks event inside the Elms Mansion.
Best Parlour Trick: During the "At Full Sail: The History and Application of Spirits at Proof, Navy Strength and Overproof" session, Wayne Curtis demonstrated the old naval tradition of proofing liquor using gun powder. Under 100 proof, the water in the spirit will prevent the gun powder from going off. Over 100 proof, it was pretty spectacular akin to a mini fireworks fountain.
Best Local Color Cocktail: While I have so far missed the delicacies of the Hand Grenade, Hurricane, and frozen "Daiquiri" for the second year running, the winner would have to be Gator Cum. As we were packing up bottles from the blogger house's bar, we decided to donate a small collection to the bar next door. When we checked in, the bed and breakfast owner described it solely as a "neighborhood bar." The owner of the John Paul's was so thankful for the gifts that he got Darrin the bartender to make a round of shooters for the bar. Well, this concoction of Passion Fruit Skye Vodka, Midori, a splash of pineapple juice, and a few drops of milk floated on top was actually rather tasty. And the bevy of drag queens who filled the establishment seemed to like it too, especially Zaza d'la Whore!
Best Example of Quackery: The crazy Australian and New Zealand presenters at the Amaro session who fooled the audience with their medicinal Koala Bitters; their mix was a combination of mouthwash, Nyquil, and other ingredients you can find at Walgreens.
Best Explanation of a Continuous Still Distillation: This never made much sense as the "plate" part always was confusing. The roving distiller from the Gascony region of France during the Armagnac talk did a great job even though he needed the help of a translator. Part of his one of his 3 stills made the trip over to New Orleans to solidify his explanation.
Best Blend of Philosophical vs. Technical: The Eggpire Strikes Back! From the significance of eggs through history, religion, and society to the biochemical reasons why the parts of eggs do what they do in food and drink. Plus, there were ways of introducing customers to egg drinks when they otherwise might show a little resistance.
Best Trend I Would Like to See Take Hold: Aperitif wines and aperitif cocktails. Often, this goes hand in hand when I am cooking, and Paul Clarke and Neyah White did an amazing job during their seminar with the historical aspects and the practical applications, respectively.
Best Taste to Come from a Hipflask: Rum from Eric Seed. It was from the last batch of British Navy Rum released in 1970 after a 18-23 year stay in a solera system. The rum was transferred from the large flagon into bottles which are valued at $800 each.
Most Winning Moment: Thinking that my suitcase was too heavy with swag and purchases, but weighing in at 48 pounds -- 2 pounds under the limit. I felt like a fighter must after a tough but successful weight cut...
Best Annotation in a Notebook: Andrea during Brian Rea's "Bartending in the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's (the dark ages)". Brian spoke about how women were not welcome as bartenders as the labor part was too great; aspects like removing unwanted guests and breaking up block ice were deemed too physical. Andrea's last point in her notes was that "[Brian] never met Josey [Packard of Drink]".

Tomorrow, I will start on the drinks and seminars.


Devin said...

Best People to Share Your First Tales With: Fred and Andrea

Unknown said...

You forgot to post a photo of the cutest rep.

Barbara West said...

Gator Cum -- wow.

Andrea -- best annotation ever.

frederic said...

Adam, I did not take a photo of the cutest rep, but here is one that shows her as more elegant than cute:


If something pops up on the web of her at Tales, I'll amend this comment. But she was not the standard looking brand ambassador so it was quite refreshing.

Tony Harion said...

I think posting a pic of Gator Cum (TM) and not the rep is a big big mistake, but I’m not going to comment too much about pictures here. As you know, a picture of Gator Cum (TM) is much better than other pictures taken that particular night.
Btw, i think Zaza d'la Whore is behind all #ambushmarketing