This week, Tales of the Cocktail returns for it's historic 10th Anniversary. What started as a small gathering of cocktail nuts in the French Quarter has grown into what is widely known as the world's premier cocktail festival. While much has changed in those ten years, one flavorful series of events has been a part of Tales of the Cocktail since day one—The Spirited Dinners.
On the night of Thursday July 25th, a record 28 local restaurants will host Tales of the Cocktail's annual Spirited Dinners. Culinary dream teams consisting of the world's most renowned mixologists and the best chefs in New Orleans come together to create one-of-a-kind cocktail and cuisine pairings. Weeks of planning between chefs and cocktail experts result in special themed menus with food and drink working together to heighten the flavors of each course.
"The cocktail is a component of our business that is as important to our history as it is to our current culture," said Katy Casbarian, co-proprietor of Arnaud's. "The Spirited Dinner is a wonderful way for us to dedicate one evening to celebrate the importance of "the cocktail" in New Orleans culture and cuisine."
While several of this year's restaurants have been a part of the Spirited Dinner series for several years, a host of restaurants and venues will be making their Spirited Dinner debut at Tales of the Cocktail 2012. Renowned New Orleans restaurants like Café Degas and Emeril's and more recent additions to the New Orleans restaurant scene like Tamarind and Redemption will welcome cocktail lovers to from around the world for these one-of-a-kind pairings."Cocktails are always a part of the dining experience, but the Spirited Dinners are different" said Scott Craig, owner of Katie's Restaurant & Bar who will be chef of the Degas House Spirited Dinner. "Usually the bar and kitchen do their own thing. But this has been a true collaboration where food and drink blend seamlessly together. I'm excited to finally be a part of it."
One of those newcomers is Tales of the Cocktail's first-ever riverboat Spirited Dinner. Aboard the Creole Queen, diners will be treated to a jazz buffet prepared by Chef Jean-Pierre Pigeon. Throughout the evening, the culinary and cocktail team will tell the story of Tom Bullock, the first African American cocktail author, with cocktails crafted by a team of mixologists including David Wondrich and Jim Meehan, proprietor of the landmark New York speakeasy PDT.
Another first is a special Spirited Dinner at the Museum of the American Cocktail. Surrounded by the relics from the storied and sometimes notorious history of cocktails in America, diners will be treated to a four-course pairing that explores Enchanting Edibles & Elixers. Atlanta Chef and winner of Top Chef All-Stars Richard Bilas will be preparing dishes like his Lamb Shoulder Glazed with Bénédictine with a Vieux Carré created by the cocktail team of Ludovic Miazga, Martin Duffy, Phil Greene and Chris McMillian.
These four- and five-course meals range in price from $60 to $125. To learn more about each themed dinner including detailed menus of the cocktails and cuisine being served, visit TalesoftheCocktail.com.
Available Spirited Dinners
An asterisk indicates the first time hosting a Spirited Dinner.
Jeffersons Takes Louisiana
Presented by Jeffersons Bourbon
The Big Boy Table
Presented by Stoli, Hendricks Gin, Milagro Tequila, Hudson Whiskey, Balvenie Scotch
The Pink Pigeon Original Spirited Creole Picnic
Presented by The Pink Pigeon Original
Brewing Up Cocktails
Presented by El Dorado Rum and Drambuie
Emeril's New Orleans*
Big Easy Dinner
Presented by Diageo
Rocky. Mountain. Roux
Presented by Breckenridge Distillery
Three Wonderful Countries in One Great Night!
Presented by Chartreuse, Ilegal Mezcal, Sheep Dip & Pig's Nose Scotch Whisky and Edinburgh Gin
A 360 Degree View of Prohibition
Presented by Willett Distillery
The Fruits of Our Labor
Presented by Berentzen Liqueur
Embrace the Bitter
Presented by Branca Distilleries
To make your reservation for any of these 2012 Spirited Dinners, please contact the restaurant directly. Limited seating is available so make your reservations today.