Having spent a necessary few days detoxifying from Tales of the Cocktail, I once again raise the rhetorical question of why we so rarely see spit buckets at spirits events, when they’re de rigueur at wine tastings?
I attended this year’s event in the company of Stephanie Jerzy who manages social media marketing for spirits at BAT, along with my daughter Lindsay Raye who is a brand ambassador in the New York market. We were also joined by several clients including Johnny Schuler from Pisco Portón and Marc de Kuyper, Albert DeHeer and Arno van Eijmeren from Mandarine Napoleón. It was interesting to see the event through the eyes of these folks, several of whom were Tales virgins.
My observations, in no particular order:
-New Orleans was cooler than CT…figuratively and literally that week.
-You can’t walk five feet in the Monteleone hotel (or on Royal or Bourbon St. for that matter) without seeing someone you know and REALLY want to talk to.
-It’s great to meet people in person whom you’ve only met via blogs or online
-The camaraderie and sense of community was outstanding…and it’s pretty cool when regular consumers are so interested in our business that they pay to come to what’s really a trade event.
-I’ve GOT to get my partner Jeff Grindrod to attend next year.
-the Faulkner bookstore was a pretty groovy place (and I saw a real pirate in Pirate’s Alley)
-Paul Pacult is a great presenter and guide to tasting spirits in a manner that makes the subjective, objective.
-Paul Clarke really knows his stuff or did his homework…or both.
-Darcy O’Neil always brings something new and interesting to Tales (but he does have some pronunciation issues, and I’m not talking “aboot” the Canadian accent.)
-I missed Camper English’s social media session and really wished I’d made it.
-Spirits blogging is evolving…rapidly. It’s no longer just a singular channel; Facebook, Twitter and the plethora of new media coming down the pike are magnifying our reach.
-Johnny Schuler has really nice manners (he stands when a woman arrives or leaves the table), and his passion for Pisco is palpable.
-Marc de Kuyper is the 11th generation of his family in the business, how cool is that!
-Francesco Lafranconi and Diego Loret de Mola are the Blues Brothers of booze, only wearing guayabera shirts and Panama hats instead of sunglasses and skinny ties.
-Sandro Bottega of Alexander Grappa is one crazy dude, and he makes some fabulous grappa.
-The Mixoloseum house was great fun, and having the shuttle van was a super idea.
-Tales is growing every year and more of the bigger brands and companies are exploiting it. It will be important for the organizers to maintain the sense of fraternity and shared passion that has characterized the event in the past.
-Call me a Philistine and a Luddite, but I don’t think cocktails go with dinner.
-The Carousel bar at the Monteleone is a royal pain…it’s impossible to keep a conversation going when one person is moving and the other isn’t. (And the quality of drinks and bartenders there should really be top drawer at Tales showcasing what cocktails really can be and how they should be prepared and served. I had too many mediocre drinks, but the Bloody Mary was killer.)
-I’d like to know who stole my bottle of Mandarine Napoleón XO from the Summer in Paris lunch at Antoine’s.