Tag Archives: Dallas

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

Craft Cocktail TX launches at the Stoneleigh

For reals: What wasn’t to like? The drinks were flowing, the vibe was humming, the rooftop view was phenomenal and before long hardly anyone cared that the ice hadn’t arrived for the first-floor patio cocktails or that for a while, the only real food available was a basket of buns on the 11th floor.

A smartly primped Hendrick’s Gin rep, who has been doing these kinds of events for some time, agreed that the inaugural Craft Cocktails TX Festival appeared to have gotten off to an impressive start with last night’s VIP Party, the four-day event’s official launch on three floors of the Stoneleigh Hotel and Spa. Of course, it’s hard to go wrong when you’ve got spirit makers handing out cocktails.

The drinks were built around Monkey Shoulder Whiskey, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, Lillet Rose and Sailor Jerry Rum. But my favorite drink of the night was a summery cooler called the Sanchito, the handiwork of Standard Pour’s Polo that involved classed up Stoli Raspberry vodka with cumin syrup, muddled raspberries and jalapeno and likely another ingredient that somehow didn’t make its way into my notes.

Other winners — Hendrick’s’ Windowsill Cooler and featuring rhubarb liqueur and vanilla cream soda, and the Margarita Popsicle crafted by Whiskey Cake’s Bonnie Wilson, the winner of Oak Cliff’s Margarita Meltdown earlier this year.

There were drinks dressed as snow cones, drinks with rose petals and Manhattan magic served up by Hudson Whiskey’s former chief distiller Gable Erenzo, who now handles the brand’s sales and marketing. By night’s end, many — including festival co-founder Brian McCullough of Standard Pour, Charlie Papaceno of Windmill Lounge and the Libertine’s Mate Hartai — had left their mark on a massive posterboard that captured the evening’s mood for posterity.

The real essence of the festival starts today with a full lineup of workshops led by some of DFW’s best bartenders and various liquor luminaries from around the country. I’ll be live-tweeting with the hashtag #CCTX, if you want to follow along.

— Marc Ramirez
Published 6-15-12