Monday, August 3, 2015

:: final reflections on tales of the cocktail ::

Final reflections on Tales of the Cocktail, or what I scribbled into my notebook while nursing a final beer at the Avenue Pub after checking out from my hotel but before my airport shuttle arrived as, "The difference returning to Tales as a bartender rather than just a blogger (or enthusiast)." Some of these were things I noticed in myself and some were things that I observed in others.

First, as a bartender, you represent your establishment everywhere you go, so act with dignity. That does not mean do not go on a mechanical bull or other silly things at the appropriate times, but try not to do or say anything negative or hurtful. Treat others at the event including the establishments you visit with kindness, for how you behave shows a window not only into your soul, but it projects the sense of hospitality one can expect in your establishment. If my first bar manager Sam Gabrielli were to write a "Letter to a Young Bartender," hopefully it would include the advice he gave to me at our first meeting a month or two in, namely "Don't be an asshole." With that, he meant not just the obvious with the guests but to treat the servers, hosts, and everyone else well. A similar sentiment was shared in the Three Phases of Hospitality talk at Boston Thirst 2014 that was repeated this year at Tales. Moreover, I believe this was the gist of this year's Tales of the Cocktail with hospitalitarian Danny Meyer being the keynote speaker and talks like "Building & Apprenticing Your Team."

Second, I definitely felt that I was swimming in a different current. While I still could get introduced as a blogger, I could also be introduced as a bartender or author. Being a bartender garnered me more of an industry nod, and it made bartenders more willing to just hangout and talk about life. Even asking for recipes felt more like bonding and cross-education than just about having them feed the media engine.
Third, I traveled lighter. It felt less awkward and inhibiting when I shed my backpack and just carried my camera and a small moleskin in a pocket. Sure, I did carry my backpack around during the day to carry essentials like a backup cell phone battery charger, water, meal replacer bag of almonds, and a large moleskin, but at night, I went minimal and it allowed me a lot more freedom to have fun while still having the ability to document the world as needed.

Finally, I would like to thank Tales for granting me a media pass for the first time in years. Access to the talks and their wisdom was invaluable, and I hope that I repaid you with my coverage.

Said final beer, Abita + Del Ducato
collaboration Two Boots saison.

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