Tales of the Cocktail, held last month in New Orleans, involves a lot of tasting. About 120 tasting rooms held throughout the week in the Hotel Monteleone, on the streets and in the Royal Sonesta Hotel gave attendees the chance to sample spirits and products. Here are a few memorable ingredients we spotted:
Former Pernod Ricard representative Simon Ford (who won the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award last year for best Brand Ambassador) and several partners recently helped launch The 86 Co., which produces four spirits—including this gin. A mix of nine botanicals, and sold in one liter bottle instead of 750 milliliter ones, Fords Gin includes citrus, jasmine flower and orris, steeped for fifteen hours. Attendees at Tales had the chance to sample it in Gin and Tonics served at the cocktail hour before this year’s Spirited Awards, where it went on to win Best New Product.
Distilled with unrefined cane sugar and molasses from M.A. Patout & Sons Enterprise Factory in Patoutville, LA, all pressed from fresh sugarcane harvested from fields in the state, this rum is produced both in silver and spiced versions. (The spiced version works especially well with unsweetened tea, over ice.) It was unveiled during a tasting room early in the week to proud natives and visitors alike.
The bottle is adorned with a bowler’s hat, and what’s inside is crafted in a copper pot still with a 200-year old recipe that is as old as the distillery. Unapologetically eschewing what they refer to as “modern” or “weird” botanicals, the makers of this classic London Dry Gin held a completion at Tales of the Cocktail called the Bowler’s Cup. The winning drink, the Mule Broker, by Lauren-Taylor Axt of Chattanooga’s Chato Brasserie, mixes gin, egg white, lime juice, simple syrup, lychee nut puree, fresh thyme and Fever-Tree ginger beer.
Bols Natural Yoghurt Liqueur
Made from high-quality fresh yoghurt, the latest offering from Bols is sweet, sour and smooth, and can be enjoyed straight, on the rocks or in cocktails. The bottle’s special white coating ensures that its contents remain in optimum fresh condition on the back bar, and it was one of the featured products in Bols’ attempt at Tales to create the world’s largest Pousse Café.
Kelly Magyarics is a wine and spirits writer and wine educator in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website, www.kellymagyarics.com, or on Twitter @kmagyarics.