This year's Tales of the Cocktail conference (my second) in New Orleans was a glorious success. Hung out at familiar places (such as the Carousel Bar, Hermes Bar, Killer Po' Boys), became acquainted with new places (such as the Sazerac Bar, 3 Muses, and Latitude 29), saw old friends (where y'at Top 5 Spirits?)heard some great music (wonderful to see you again Linnzi Zaorski), and met all sorts of great and fascinating people (too many to name .... you know who you are).
Now that I'm a Tales Veteran instead of a Tales Virgin, here are some observations:
1. Tales really is a marathon, not a sprint. Pacing during the day is critical. If you drink everything that's available you either won't make it to noon, or you need a massive intervention. Just so we're clear, I was fine during the day.
2. Nights are a whole different ball game if you want them to be. My only lapse started with a great party at One Eyed Jacks (High West whiskey, barbecue, and burlesque), moved to drinking High West from the bottle with Texans, then crashed the U.S. Bartenders Guild toast outside of the Old Absinthe House, and ended with my wife convincing me that one last drink at the Carousel Bar was a colossally bad idea. And I still made it to my seminar the next morning.
3. People attending Tales are friendly and welcoming. I cannot thank certain people enough for speaking with me even though I made it clear that I am not in the cocktail industry.
4. The pure dollar value of Tales is amazing. If you buy $100 worth of seminar tickets, you can get access to tasting rooms for four days and learn all sorts of things from industry professionals. Compare that to your usual bar bill, and keep in mind you're getting booze that is new to the market and/or cocktails being mixed by some of the finest bartenders in the world.
So will I see you at Tales next year?