Thinking of heading to Tales? Seminar tickets on sale now

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For those of you wanting to get to Tales of the Cocktail this year, you’ll want to check out the seminars now.

Tickets have gone on sale for the annual event, which is happening from July 18 to July 24 in New Orleans. It’s the destination for bartenders from around the world to get together and swap stories, hit up the seminars, and have a hell of a party.

Make sure you visit their website to check out all the seminars on offer (and be quick — some sessions have sold out already). Below, we’ve picked up a couple of highlights that we reckon we’ll be getting to during the week.

Wednesday, July 20 • 10:00am – 11:30am
How To Start A Brand Without A Distillery

If you’ve ever considered starting your own brand (who hasn’t?), but don’t have the budget to build your own distillery (who does?), this panel is for you. Industry experts will outline the long history of contract bottling; where to get your booze; how to navigate the legal issues; how to manage the distribution; and how to market your new brand. You truly can’t afford to miss this seminar.


Wednesday, July 20 • 3:00pm – 4:30pm
The Bartender Spy: Frank Meier

Covert World War II missions for the French resistance, forged passports, delicious cocktails: Welcome to the amazing world of legendary Hotel Ritz Paris bartender and spy Frank Meier. While his Art Deco 1936 book, The Artistry of Mixing Drinks, is praised by cocktail lovers and his signature concoction, the Bees’ Knees, is still on menus, much of his heroic wartime activities have just come to light. This panel will seek to fill in the gaps in Meier’s life (including his time training at New York’s famed Hoffman House) and help to explain why he mysteriously disappeared and what happened to him after the war.

Thursday, July 21 • 3:00pm – 4:30pm
The Greatest Brandy Category is…

You have your favorite grape brandy category—Cognac, Armagnac, Brandy de Jerez, American Brandy—but do you know why it’s the best? In this panel, brandy experts will debate the merits of each category election-style moderated by bar owner and ultimate D.C.-insider Derek Brown (Drink Company). Panelists include Brandy Rand (spirits writer and brand consultant) arguing for Cognac, J.P. Fetherston (Columbia Room) arguing for Spanish Brandy, Dan Farber (Osocalis Distillery) arguing for American Brandy, Jackson Cannon (Hawthorne, Eastern Standard, Island Creek Oyster Bar) arguing for Armagnac. It’s an election year, the gloves are off!

Friday, July 22 • 3:00pm – 4:30pm
Spanish Vermouth: Dark Horse of Aperitif

Few may realize that Spain today has the highest per capita vermouth consumption in the world, a trend still growing well ahead of a nascent cocktail scene. Here vermouth is typically consumed on the rocks with olives and chips. And there’s probably no country with a more varied offerings: Spanish vermouths are often made with regional varietals and Mediterranean botanicals, and with some vastly differentiated production methods. To boot the finished product is quite often served on tap. Neither an imitation of French or Italian styles, it’s very much a marvel of its own. With almost a dozen Spanish vermouths now available in the United States, we’ll review their unique characters and potential for use in cocktails. Let vermouth experts Giuseppe Gallo, Eric Seed, and François Monti, author of a groundbreaking book on vermouth, tell you all about the history, the production methods and the culture behind the vermouths of Spain.

Saturday, July 23 • 12:30pm – 2:00pm
No Reservations – Hotel Bars Old and New

When you think of the Golden Age of the Cocktail, many of the names of the bars we revere are not so much bars as bars within hotels – the American Bar, the Old Waldorf Astoria, the Caribe Hilton, and many more. Even the renaissance of the cocktail was fueled in large part by bars like the Met in London, and the trend spread around the globe fueled by a jet set of cocktail lovers and the bartenders who served them. The 21st Century traveler wanted the same standard of drinks, and service, whether they were in San Francisco or Sydney or Seoul, and top bartenders were recruited from cocktail capitals to bring that standard to far flung fields. But the Hotel Bar is both consistent and continually evolving. What makes a great Hotel Bar, and a great Hotel Bartender? Our well travelled panel of hotel insiders and regular guests – Josh Wagner of the Edition Group, Erik Lorincz of the Savoy Hotel, Chris Lowder of Charles H in Seoul, travel writer Mark Ellwood, together with bar industry veterans Simon Ford and Jacob Briars – will take you on a journey through time and place. From the early hotel bars where Willard and Thomas plied their trade, to the Gilded Age, the Golden Age, the Jet Age and beyond, learn how the Hotel Bar took the Cocktail across America and around the world. We will explore what makes a great hotel bar, go behind the scenes to explore the constraints and challenges of bringing great cocktails to life in a Hotel environment, and explore how the Hotel Bar is evolving to serve a new generation of travelers, and what that means for young bartenders who aspire to work in this incredible part of the industry, and learn the secrets of successful hotel management. We will explore how hotel operators like the Ace are making the bar the central part of the hotel experience, and how some bar owners are taking the logical next step, and opening hotels themselves. And we’ll reveal the Hotel Bars we think set the standard today and in years to come.

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