The seventh annual Tales of the Cocktail festival (July 8-12) features events and seminars designed for folks on both sides of the bar. Some cater to bar owners and service industry workers and others are for fans of craft cocktails and premium spirits. Speakers and guests include distillers, bar and liquor industry consultants, spirits writers, historians and others.
Tales features a slew of parties, brand-sponsored tasting rooms, mixology competitions and seminars on distilling, party planning, saloon history and more. Esoteric topics range from popular Hollywood cocktails and famous 19th-century bartenders to drinks from the 1600s. Competitions will feature a scavenger-hunt-meets-Top-Chef event in which bartenders invent a drink from a bag of secret ingredients, and there will be a mix-off to create the best recipe for a caipirinha, Brazil's answer to the mojito.
Several new products will be unveiled at this year's Tales. Fee Brothers, a maker of bar syrups and mixers, will add to its exotic collection of flavored bitters (peach, rhubarb, mint) by debuting a chocolate flavor. Square One Organic Spirits will introduce Square One Botanical, a certified organic, 90 proof rye-based spirit infused with a blend of lavender, rosemary, coriander, citrus and other elements. The Sazerac company will release a 75th anniversary edition of Herbsaint Absinthe.
Many events take place at the Hotel Monteleone and downtown hotels. See the Web site (www.talesofthecocktail.com) for a full list of events and details. — Will Coviello