Mixing It Up at Tales Of The Cocktail 2013

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!--paging_filter--pWhere do the grandmasters of cocktail culture collide with the best and brightest in the spirits industry over phenomenal libations? a href="http://www.talesofthecocktail.com/"Tales of the Cocktail/a, of course!/p
pIt is emthe/em highlight of the bartender circuit. Held annually in New Orleans, the week features seminars, parties and cocktailing galore in this boozy 24-hour playground. It can be a liver workout—trust me!/p
pBar pros from all over the country attend this conference and Seattle was well represented: local spirits guru a href="http://nwvivant.com/"Rocky Yeh/a, a href="http://www.robroyseattle.com/"Rob Roy’s Anu Apte/a, Liberty’s a href="http://www.libertybars.com/about/staff-bios/andrew-friedman/"Andrew Freidman/a, and the list goes on. a href="http://metrovinopdx.com/JacobGrier.html"Jacob Grier/a of Portland’s Metrovino won an award for his Portland Rickey (get the recipe a href="http://www.seattlemag.com/article/portland-rickey-cocktail-recipe" target="_blank"here/a),strong /strongthestrong /strongofficial cocktail of this year’s event. It was a refreshing combination of Martin Miller’s Gin, fresh lemon, Green Chartreuse and lengthened with Le Merle Saison, which is a light and lovely floral beer./p
pLocal spirits writer and mixologist a href="http://caskstrength.wordpress.com/"Andrew Bohrer/a and a href="http://www.crumbleandflake.com/press/"chef Neil Robertson/a of Seattle’s cult favorite bakery Crumble and Flake paired up and got all food-bar geeky with their A Chef Walks into a Bar… seminar. The duo covered cooking techniques and how those techniques relate to cocktails, and discussed seasonal produce and the nuances of flavor. (Example: Don’t pick blackberries on the side of the highway unless you actually like the taste of exhaust.)/p
pMy other favorite panel was a href="http://www.talesofthecocktail.com/events/fun-with-hydrocolloids/"Fun With Hydrocolloids/a. I’ve been playing with a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colloid"them/a for years making boozy gelees, but this was definitely the ultimate crash course. The Sazerac we tasted was served up in a glass flavored with absinthe and firmed up by a magic mix of hydrochlorides—yes, you could eat it, but it was a bit…um …“firm.”/p
pimg src="/sites/default/files/newfiles/woman_winner.jpg" style="float: left; margin: 10px;" height="452" width="300"Also making a splash this year: the ladies. For the first time in Tales history, a woman—Miami’s Cricket Nelson (pictured left)­—won The Bombay Sapphire Gin Most Imaginative Bartender competition. Nelson took gold with her “Sapphire East Love Game,” crafted with Earl Grey tea, rosebud syrup and fresh Thai basil. Delicious!/p
pnbsp;/p
pAs for event swag, presenters, media and VIPs were given an “all you can fill” bag. I filled my bag with all sorts of goodies: Dirty Sue Jalapeno-Stuffed cocktail onions and citrus zesters, baby bottles of pisco and amaro, sassy swizzle sticks, paper fans for the heat, notebooks for writing down all those new cocktail ideas, a limoncello compact rain coat (yes, I needed that)./p
pI’m always sad to leave Tales. It’s a fantastic week, but once the floors at the lobby of the a href="http://hotelmonteleone.com/"Hotel Monteleone/a (Grand Central Station for TOTC) start getting a little too sticky, you know it’s time to head home. Until next year! img src="/sites/default/files/newfiles/swag.jpg" style="float: right; margin: 10px;" height="186" width="250"/p
pKathy Casey is a chef and mixologist. She is known as a pioneer in the bar-chef movement and host of stronga href="http://www.liquidkitchen.tv/"Liquid Kitchen /a/strongnbsp;cocktail showstrong./strong Follow Kathy on Twitter a href="http://www.twitter.com/KathyCaseyChef"@KathyCaseyChef/a and blogging ata href="http://www.dishingwithkathycasey.com/" Dishing with Kathy Casey/a./p