Bottoms up – Tales of the Cocktail® coming to New Orleans

Cocktail party ... New Orleans welcomes Tales of the Cocktail®

Cocktail party ... New Orleans welcomes Tales of the Cocktail®

Fancy yourself the classic sort, the kind of person who prefers a Rangoon Gin Fizz to a bottle of Bud? You’ll like what’s happening in New Orleans July 20 through 24.

Tales of the Cocktail® brings the best and brightest of mixologists, bartenders, chefs, and such to the Big Easy to celebrate the art and ecstasy of the mixed drink.  It also attracts its share of aficionados, and that’s where you come in.

Tales of the Cocktail® is the perfect indoor pursuit during a steamy New Orleans summer day. There’s a reason high season down by the bayou comes in the winter. Mid-summer, the locals cleave to their air conditioners.

If you venture outside in the early morning and evening, the Crescent City is just fine in July.

Tales of the Cocktail® serves up some 150 events for amateurs and experts alike. Ann Tuennerman, the conclave’s founder, says no two gatherings are ever the same. “We have been able to put together [a] diverse schedule of events that are a healthy mix of education and celebration.”

To give you an idea of how serious these folks are about their drinks, take a look at what goes into the celebration’s “official cocktail,” that Rangoon Gin Fizz we alluded to. Atlanta bartender Eric Simpkins concocted it from Old Raj gin, lime juice, simple syrup, heavy cream, absinthe, cardamom tincture, Free Brothers Jasmine water and Fever Tree Tonic. See what we mean?

Simpkins’ cocktail will be served up throughout the get-together.

Also proffered are some packages designed to wring the most out of the five-day affair. One of the most reasonable is Native Spirits. It gets you into the weekend’s best parties, allowing you to mix with cocktail lovers the world over. Specifically, you get one ticket to Cocktails From Around the World: Diageo Happy Hour, one ticket to either the USBG Bacardi Piña Coloda Competition or Bar Room Brawl Presented by Moët Hennessy, one ticket to Party Like a Don (the 70th anniversary celebration of Don Julio González and his Tequilas), an invitation to Mr. and Ms. Cocktail’s Spirited Sunday Brunch, and copies of a couple of appropriate books – one of them a recipe e-book. The deal goes for $155, and represents a savings of $99.95.

As we said, this is New Orleans in late July. That means high heat, and commensurately low hotel rates. The Hotel Monteleone’s per-night rate is $125. It’s located at 214 Royal Street. Bienville House Hotel ,  at 320 Decatur, is serving up accommodations for $109 per night. And Royal Sonesta Hotel, at 300 Bourbon Street, has a $129 per-night rate.

A Cheapflights suggestion: save more money for cocktails by getting a shuttle from the airport to your hotel. Renting a car means finding a place to park it. Hotel parking is often via valet. And that can add considerably to your daily tab. The French Quarter is made for feet, not automobiles.

Story by Jerry Chandler

(Image: Bart Everson)