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Unmissable events at Tales of the Cocktail 2018

Tales of the Cocktail will be staged for the 16th time this month. With scores of seminars and other events it can be a confusing task to decide which to attend. Never fear, The Spirits Business has scoped out the cream of the crop.

We detail some of Tales of the Cocktail’s most unmissable events
We detail some of Tales of the Cocktail’s most unmissable events

The ultimate cocktail festival is back for its 16th year with more than 200 seminars, tastings and competitions to explore. With hours of insightful talks to choose from, planning is essential to make the most of the 2018 Tales of the Cocktail (TOTC) event.

Taking over bars, restaurants and hotels throughout New Orleans from 16­-22 July, the annual festival offers bartenders and hospitality professionals the chance to hear from some of the brightest minds in the industry from all around the globe.

And it’s not only trade members who benefit from the annual show – according to a report from the University of New Orleans Research Department, the 2017 TOTC programme generated a total economic impact of US$18.9 million for the city.

Among the many speakers enlisted to present at this year’s event are industry veterans such as PDT founder Jim Meehan, drinks writer Simon Difford and Trash Tiki co­founder Kelsey Ramage, who will be covering everything from multi­-sensory cocktails to the history of drinks in the military and anything in between. Tales will also provide the chance to sample a wide array of spirits and meet the creators behind both well­-established and up­-and­-coming brands.

Over the following pages we’ve compiled our top picks of the talks at this year’s TOTC.

For the full schedule visit talesofthecocktail.org.

Tuesday 17 July

How to Buy & Sell Vintage Spirits Legally

3:00pm­-4:30pm

Queen Anne A, Hotel Monteleone

Edgar Harden, of London-­based Old Spirits Company, and US principal attorney Ryan Malkin guide would-­be buyers through the challenges of purchasing vintage spirits.

While the rules and regulations surrounding vintage spirits can be seen as tricky to navigate, this seminar offers advice on valuing different products and evaluating the condition of bottles. If you have a cabinet full of old liquor you won’t want to miss this talk.

 

A Seat at the Bar: Social Justice Through Cocktails

3:00pm­-4:30pm

Iberville A, Hotel Monteleone

In the first free­-to­-attend seminar of this year’s event, a panel including Speed Rack co­founder Lynnette Marrero and Al Thompson, head bartender at Barmini by José Andrés, will discuss representation in the drinks industry.

This talk will investigate whether the cocktail could be an agent for social change and if mixed drinks could be used as a way to reach “hearts and minds through the stomach”.

 

Building a Healthier, Happier Bar Industry

3:00pm-4:30pm

Vieux Carre, Hotel Monteleone

Healthy Hospo founder Tim Etherington-Judge will moderate this seminar, which aims to combat the bar world’s reputation as the industry with highest rates of drug abuse.

A panel, including St­-Germain brand ambassador Camille Ralph Vidal, will look at the health of the industry and how people working in hospitality can improve their sleep and nutrition.

Wednesday 18 July

The Jamaican Difference: Bring in the Rum, Bring in the Funk

10:00am-­11:30am

Queen Anne Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone

Famed New York bartender Don Lee will moderate this seminar, which asks: what makes Jamaican rum different? Featuring a scientific “search for funk” carried out by Arielle Johnson of MIT Media Lab, the seminar will discuss flavour, aroma and the geographical identification status of Jamaican rums.

 

Cork to Kirkwall: The Whisky Way

10:00am-­11:30am

Vieux Carre, Hotel Monteleone

The brains behind this talk have endeavoured to visit every whisky distillery in search of the perfect dram. Hosted by whisky writer Charles Maclean, Irish whiskey expert Oisin Davis, Cocktail Lovers co­founder Sandrae Lawrence and ‘whisky journeyman’ Vaughan Yates, this seminar will include the opportunity to sample a number of distillery­-exclusive bottlings.

 

Sensory Lab, presented by Bacardi USA

10:30am­-12:30pm

Royal A&B, Hotel Monteleone

This tasting room experience will give visitors the chance to experience the multi-sensory nature of cocktails. Working with a team of beverage scientists, three multi-sensory experiments will challenge your taste buds and unlock new techniques for creating immersive cocktails. Visitors will discover how sight, smell and sound can enhance flavour.

 

Future Forward Drinking

12:30pm­-2:00pm

Queen Anne Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone

This session, hosted by Bombay Sapphire brand ambassador Raj Nagra, will explore the future of bars, drinking and cocktail culture. With innovation now shaping much of our world, the event aims to highlight how tech can increase creativity in the hospitality sector and enhance customer engagement.

 

A Few Good Drinks: A Look at Cocktails in the Military

12:30pm-­2:00pm

Vieux Carre, Hotel Monteleone

Cocktail historian Philip Greene leads this talk into the long history of cocktails in the military. The session will look at everything from a soldier’s favourite tipple to cocktails named in honour of different weapons. Greene will discuss everything from Navy Grog to the French 75, named in honour of a 19th­-century field gun.

 

Green Dot: Bystander Training for Bartenders

1:00pm-­4:30pm

Iberville B, Hotel Monteleone

This complimentary workshop explains the Green Dot Strategy – a comprehensive approach to violence prevention. The model targets all members of the community as potential allies and seeks to engage them in prevention. Through awareness and education, participants will be able to learn proactive behaviours that help to establish intolerance towards violence. A ‘green dot’ is any action, word or attitude that offsets a ‘red dot’ of violence, and in doing so reduces the likelihood that someone will be hurt.

 

Free Your Mind, and the Bar Will Follow

3:00pm-­4:30pm

Queen Anne Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone

Bacardi brand ambassador Jaymee Mandeville will lead this afternoon session that hopes to uncover every bartender’s inner artist. With the aim of highlighting the skills found in every sector of the hospitality industry, the talk invites bar owners, bartenders and bar backs to come together and challenge their perceptions and imaginations in search of building a better bar experience.

Thursday 19 July

101 – Whisk(e)y with Georgie Bell

10:00am­-11:00am

Queen Anne A, Hotel Monteleone

Tales’ 101 sessions offer a chance to gain a more in­-depth understanding of a category – this session will focus on whiskies from around the world. Join global malts ambassador for Bacardi Georgie Bell as she breaks down the whisky category, explaining production processes, dispelling myths and exploring the flavours of whisky.

 

Non Alcoholic: Drinks of the Future or the Emperor’s New Clothes

10:00am­-11:30am

Vieux Carre, Hotel Monteleone

No-­ and low­-alcoholic drinks are the talk of the town, and this seminar opens up the conversation about what makes a great booze­-free alternative. With new brands and entrepreneurs entering the market, the seminar hopes to decide if teetotal tipples are part of a passing trend or here to stay.

 

Harassment and Hospitality Don’t Mix

12:30pm­-2:00pm

Queen Anne Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone

Another complimentary event at this year’s Tales. In the wake of #MeToo, this seminar aims to highlight the steps employers and owners can take to ensure their venue is a safe place for staff and customers. Facilitated by Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response, this talk aims to develop participants’ understanding of sexual trauma in the hospitality industry.

 

Drip Drop Dram – Water Makes Spirits Go Round

12:30pm-­2:00pm

Vieux Carre, Hotel Monteleone

If you’ve ever wondered how water affects the flavour of your whisky, or how it can impact your cocktails, this is the seminar for you. While uncovering the truth behind the effect that mineral content and pH have on the finished product, this talk will discuss the benefits of using everything from tap water to nano-­filtered water in spirit and cocktail making.

 

Modern Luxury: The View from the Bar

3:00pm-­4:30pm

Queen Anne Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone

While cocktails may have been seen as a luxurious item throughout their history, this talk will see Philip Duff aim to find a definition of luxury in the 21st century. This seminar will bring together Tom Lasher­-Walker, formerly of The American Bar at The Savoy, Manny Quinones of Manhattan Motor Cars and an unnamed high­-net­-worth individual to find out what makes something a luxury product in 2018.

 

Happy Hour Meet the Distillers

4:30pm­-6:30pm

House of Blues, New Orleans

Tales of the Cocktail’s annual homage to the people behind the spirits will see more than 40 distillers from around the world descend on New Orleans to serve up their creations, alongside light bites and live music. A highlight of the show, Happy Hour offers the chance to hear some of the secrets behind the world’s most well-­loved spirits.

Friday 20 July

Straight Up with a Twist on Mental Health

10:00am-­11:30am

Queen Anne Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone

This talk aims to answer the question, how can you make people happy if you’re not happy yourself? It will highlight the steps bartenders and those working in hospitality can take to maintain their mental health, covering topics such as nutrition and sleep in the quest to become happier and more productive people.

 

Inclusion in Hospitality: Why and How to Build a Longer Table

10:00am-­11:30am

Iberville B, Hotel Monteleone

Racial insensitivity and sexual harassment are just the tip of the oppression iceberg. This seminar aims to determine what individuals and organisations can do to make inclusiveness the norm. The panel will explore practical steps hospitality professionals can take towards diversity and true equality, and how to implement them.

 

Guest Who?

12:30pm-­2:00pm

Queen Anne Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone

As collaboration in the bar world increases, more leading names are travelling to other cities and countries to take part in bartender residencies. The panel, including The Dead Rabbit’s beverage director Jillian Vose, hopes to offer a unique perspective on the differences between guest bartending and pop­ups, and look at how brand messages can be effective for both.

 

Cocktails and Chill – Better Home Bartending

3:00pm-­4:30pm

Queen Anne Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone

In this seminar, PDT bartender Jim Meehan, Cocktail Lovers co­founder Sandrae Lawrence and bartender Jacob Briars will explain how to create a home bar on any budget, from ‘struggling student’ to ‘swinging sultan’. From must-­have spirits to the ultimate equipment, this talk will include a showcase of the best home bars around the world. The presenters will explain how to build a spirits collection drink by drink, rather than bottle by bottle.

 

Small Is Beautiful: The Power Of Nano-Brands in 2018

3:00pm-­4:30pm

Iberville A, Hotel Monteleone

In a world that celebrates the small batch and craft producers, this seminar unites three nano-­brand owners to discuss the benefits of remaining small. Philip Duff of Old Duff Genever, Allison Parc of Brenne Whisky and Gable Erenzo of Gardiner Liquid Mercantile answer why nano­-brands could be the future of the spirits world.

Saturday 21 July

Bar Indepth – Dante, New York City

10:00am-­11:30am

Iberville A, Hotel Monteleone

Caffe Dante opened its doors in 1915. The new owners, three old friends from Australia, took over the space in 2015 with the aim of turning it into one of the world’s best aperitivo bars. During this seminar, Linden Pride and Naren Young, two of the bar’s owners, will discuss all aspects of their operation and why they feel they’ve had such great success.

 

Singles Bars

10:00am-­11:30am

Iberville B, Hotel Monteleone

A panel including Sother Teague, from bitters bar Amor y Amargo, and William Isler, of Capital Spirits Baijiu Bar, will discuss the challenges of building a bar programme around a single spirit. The seminar will focus on the role these venues can play in expanding industry knowledge and promoting under­-the­-radar brands.

 

Treasures from Heaven – The Religious Roots of Your Favourite Drinks

10:00am-­11:30am

Vieux Carre, Hotel Monteleone

From Belgian ales to Chartreuse, many of our favourite drinks can trace their roots back to religious orders. During this talk, find out how monks and shaman spread their knowledge of alcohol, how priests helped make vodka popular and the secret religious roots behind even more of the world’s most popular drinks.

 

The Art of the Tasting Menu

3:00pm-­4:30pm

Queen Anne Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone

Cocktail tasting menus may be the next big thing in the world’s best bars, and this seminar will highlight how your guests can make the most of these experiences. Join UK­-based bar owner Robert Wood for an exploration into the venues that serve the best multi­-course menus.

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