D and Easy: Tales of the Cocktail opens with Dallas on menu

Lucky Campbell of The Chesterfield says hello to New Orleans.

Tales of the Cocktail, the premier party event for the nation’s bartenders, cocktail chroniclers and spirit and liqueur reps, is officially underway in the Big Easy, with one big D of difference:

For the first time, Dallas bartenders have a special seat at the table, with a tasting event called “Come and Get It! Cocktails Texas Style!”

I’m not sure what the purpose of that second exclamation point is, but suffice it to say that the sampling of local luminaries – including Jason Kosmas of Marquee Grill & Bar, Rocco Milano of Private/Social and Michael Martensen of Cedars Social – on hand to show what makes the Lone Star State so dadgum special are awfully excited.

Bartending tool seller Cocktail Kingdom represents with shakers, jiggers and coupes.

I’ll be posting dispatches from that event and some of the 10th annual festival’s other cocktail workshops, tastings, contests, industry showdogging and requisite revelry along the way.  Most of the action will be going down at the veritable Hotel Monteleone on Royal Street, home to the revolving Carousel Bar and birthplace of the Vieux Carre cocktail.

The Vieux Carre is one of several classic cocktails with roots in New Orleans, which makes this festive city an appropriate home for the yearly event founded by Ann Tuennerman and just one more reason to shower it with love.

Tales of the Cocktail has taken over New Orleans’ Hotel Monteleone. In the background, event founder and executive director Ann Tuennerman talks with a conference attendee.

This is my first year at the festival, and I’m already wowed by the offerings: tributes to rum, apertifs and cucaçao; workshops on Russian drinking culture, foraged ingredients, bartending ecology and even the health benefits of alcohol spiked with beneficial herbs. Some of us will see how bartenders have been portrayed in popular culture, make our own vermouths and bitters or experience the whisky bars of Japan.

These are marathon days, launching with Bloody Marys and oysters on the half-shell when most other people are barely pawing at bagels and drearily sipping morning coffee. Making it through the race requires a shrewd sense of pacing, indomitable endurance and a mighty constitution.

Let’s do this.

Absolut Breakfast.

– Marc Ramirez

Published 7-25-12

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