It’s back to reality after nearly a week in the Big Easy celebrating all things cocktail. I love going to Tales of the Cocktail, except that there’s way too much to see, do, taste and learn. As usual, I could only cover a fraction of what was going on, but here’s some useless insight from my experience at the 2015 show.
Meal I learned the most at: The Jagermeister media lunch at Purloo. Not only was Dr. Berndt Finke, head of quality control at Jägermeister, on hand from Germany to provide a guided tasting, but Purloo is located in the Southern Food Museum—which houses the Museum of the American Cocktail.
Least nutritious meal: Morning corn dogs and cotton candy in the Deep Eddy carnival-themed tasting room, washed down with lavender (and vodka) lemonade. Breakfast of champions!
Cutest mascot: Lucky the miniature horse greeting people outside Absolut’s House of Elyx.
Hardest-working mascot: The Sandeman Don who gamely tried to piece together the banner on the porto brand’s streetcar after it was ripped off by a street sign just as the Tales parade was starting.
Best cocktail: Way too hard to pick one, but I was intrigued with Mindless Faith, a Strega liqueur cocktail. The Absente Colada was another good one. A mixture of Pernod absinthe, watermelon, coconut cream and cinnamon doesn’t sound like it would work, but it does.
Worst cocktail: The one I made myself at the Grey Goose brunch. I thought I had snipped some thyme from the herb garden, which turned out to be oregano—not the best match with my choice of pear vodka, Perrier and cucumber. It wasn’t THAT bad, I thought, until some proper cocktails from the Grey Goose team arrived at the table.
Most Instagram-ready cocktail: The Che Sour, Rael Petit’s entry in Singahi 63’s First Annual Mixology Mic Drop. It was served up, with Angostura bitters sprayed though a hand-cut stencil which imparted the likeness of Che Guevera onto the foam. (The film set of Che is where director Steven Soderberg first tasted singani, which later inspired him to start importing the Bolivian grape spirit to the U.S.)
Best swag: Spirits are generally the best kind of swag, but since I wasn’t checking luggage and couldn’t take any home, I’ll go with my autographed copy of Soderberg’s Profiles in Pourage. It narrowly edged out the Domaine de Canton T-shirt.