The activity in New Orleans user to slow down in the summertime. High temperatures, humidity, and the threat of hurricanes used to keep tourists and locals away. But in 2002, A cocktail tour began in the French Quarter highlighting the rich cocktail history of New Orleans. A Year later to celebrate the tour, a small festival was thrown: Tales of the Cocktail. A festival/convention that brings together bartenders, restaurateurs, distillers and eventually cocktail enthusiasists. After Katrina, Tales of the CocktaIl moved its date from September to the week of July smack dab in the middle of New Orleans summer. Today, Tales of the Cocktail(TOTC) is the premiere cocktail festival in the United States, and is also making an international mark. TOTC has grown to about 15,000 folks annually, embracing the folks working in the industry as well as home cocktail enthusiasists, as the festival grew so did the variety of clientele.
TOTC is July 16-21 and offers a variety of events throughout the week, geared to a specific spirit or theme. Each day, throughout the convention there are seminars, tasting rooms, 101 seminars, meet the distillers, happy hours, spirited dinners, awards and of course huge parties. The seminars are about 90 minutes and cover any and all topics related to the spirit industry. The seminars have been broken down into tasting rooms, business seminars, culture seminars and distillers. Most of the Seminars are around $65 which includes some gifts and of course samples. Tasting room wristbands are $125 a day, or special VIP prices. These seminars are a great way to learn almost anything you may be curious about. From spreadsheets, to the history of gin, to the effects of music on an event. There is no limit when seeking out seminars, just let your imagination or curiousity lead you. TOTC also offers spirited dinners, restaurants pair with a brand or spirit and build a dinner around the pairing of food and cocktails. Tickets are purchased through the restaurants. Also, there is the spirited awards celebrating the best in the industry from around the world. Whatever you are looking for you will be able to find it at TOTC.
New Orleans really embraces TOTC, because it is a chance for the service industry of New ORleans to really shine, especially so many drinks were created in the city or a culture was built around the cocktail(think Pimm’s Cup.) If you can’t make it this summer, don’t worry. Throughout the year TOTC hosts various events. In September is Daquiri month and in December is Tales of the Toddy, celebrating the Toddy cocktail. Tales also takes the show on the road; pasts stops have been Scotland and Mexico. So think about a seminar and get yourself a ticket to the grand cocktail event: Tales of the Cocktail.