Home Dining Wine & Spirits New Orleans Tales of the Cocktail - Page 4
I missed Simon of Difford’s Guidebook’s seminar on Great Bars of the World and What Makes them Great and Juniperlooza. Yet, managed to catch Audrey Saunders and UK’s Tony Conigliaro’s The Scented Trail, Techniques on How to Develop Aroma in your Cocktails, which was excellent. I slipped in to Rhem Clements Tasting Room for a tipple before hitting Charlotte Voisey’s (Julia Robert’s of the spirits scene) seminar, British Invasion of the American Cocktail hour. She’s a super star performer and we all scored teacup cocktail cups to go. Thanks Hendrick’s Gin. We sped to the fests highlight, the 5:30 Cocktail hour where we were wildly over served with every brand and bar star pouring. It was a great way to taste the waters, complete with cocktail recipe cards.

All evenings were complete with spirits dinners happening in the city’s best restos from Auguste to Commander’s Palace where various brands hosted evenings with ambassadors behind the bar. I was privy to Bombay Sapphire’s dinner at The Ritz’s Melange Restaurant, a true blue supper club.

With the Ritz’s own local Goddess Char (Schroeder) at my side and Nawlins own jazzy, Jeremy Davenport crooning in the background, my evening was pure perfection prior to any pour or plate. It just got better with the sesame seared tuna paired with a Sapphire Martini with truffle oil and braised Kobe short rib with ruby grapefruit & basil cocktail. Mmmmmm…

Desmond Payne’s Ruby Jubilee at Muriel’s was dessert while the Sonemma herbal vodka suite was my late night aperitif. I popped by St. Germaine’s suite first, behind actor Chris MacDonald, but it was crazy crowded. I got to Sonemma’s suite early enough to carve out a small spot, by the bar where I took up with any one with an accent.

Amsterdam’s own Fabulous Shaker Boys were behind the bar and The Brit Brigade, the leaders in the cocktail culture, was in full force, with brand ambassadors boozing with the best of them. Aussies, a close second, behind the Brits, were out in a pack. I had the weekend’s best laugh with a crazy Aussie ambassador as we casually came upon the word pillage in conversation.

I put him to the social test of spreading the word, virtually unused in the English language. What better place than an international event where bar stars can take it back, serving it alongside a cool cocktail? I supported his valiant efforts as he chatted up mates with awkward conversational connectors like, “Have you pillaged lately?” or “Nothing like a pillage to finish off a party.” He all but cleared the crowded room.