Tales of the Cocktail: New Orleans Celebrates Boozy Culture

Tales of the Cocktail, celebrating its tenth anniversary, is a five-day festival of cocktail culture. What started as a small gathering of bartenders wanting to share technique and recipes, has become an international event filled with thousands of mixologists, brand ambassadors, and booze enthusiasts, all converging in New Orleans' French Quarter for a series of seminars, hand-on tutorials, dinners, and tastings. And there are many, many tastings.

From boozy breakfasts featuring maple-tinged rums to spirited dinners in some of New Orleans best restaurants, a trip to Tales of the Cocktail ensures severe punishment to the liver. The event isn't all about getting drunk, though (nearby Bourbon Street can scratch that particular itch any day of the year). It's about encouraging the art of making -- and drinking -- a beautiful cocktail.

Last evening, Tales kicked off with a party at the New Orleans Museum of Art, sponsored by William Grant & Sons. New spirits like Monkey Shoulder blended Scotch whiskey to classics like Hendrick's Gin held court, each offering innovative cocktails along with photo booths, burlesque dancers, classic cars, fireworks, a bagpiper, and a clown! Not a bad beginning for what promises to be five days of informative seminars and spirited drinking.

Monkey Shoulder offered tampoline-shaken cocktails.

Sailor Jerry's tattooed ladies tempt party goers with rum-soaked cupcakes.

Bartender Camille Austin may have moved from Hakkasan Miami Beach to the New York outpost, but her heart still belongs to the 305.

Hendrick's Gin's double decker bus featured mustachioed men making a perfect Collins.

Contemplating the Dutch masters...in a silly party hat....drinking a mint julep.

M.T. Noggin is also available for children's parties.

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