TOC's incredible Ann Tuennerman
©Photos Alan SmasonThe annual international conference of spirits distributors, purveyors, bartenders and lovers of all manner of libations opens officially today with Ann Tuennerman and her husband Paul as the hosts for Tales of the Cocktail. Of course, Ann's crackerjack staff (including Michelle and several others) works tirelessly to ensure that all of the visitors and local media enjoy the best possible time while sampling the newest and most innovative creations to ever come down a bar. Today New Orleans is at the epicenter of the spirits universe. Numerous events like the welcome reception tonight by Beefeater's Gin will continue throughout the remainder of the week. Yesterday's initial offerings including a sushi and art showing by Japanese distiller Ty-Ku. Their magnificent sakes (white and black) were a perfect pairing for the sushi prepared by Sake Café chef Hao Gong. The Ty-Ku licquer green bottles on display actually lit up when one touched them - a nice touch to an interesting spirit that made a lovely lemonade.
Drambuie put on an amazing show last night in the historic Blue Room of the Roosevelt Hotel with Jeremy Davenport leading his band in joyful jazz as four different types of Drambuie concoctions were sampled. My favorites included the Southern Nail and the New York Nail, also called the Scotland Yard, which included a generous portion of muddled basil. Wow!
Grey Goose Vodka's gathering at Latrobe's on Royal Street was a madhouse with numerous bartenders showing off their stuff for the Sundance cameras who are documenting the entire event.
The Tales of the Cocktails seminars begin now and continue through the next several days. More on TOC to follow.