Day 1 at Tales of the Cocktail 2012

After arriving in New Orleans around midnight Wednesday night, we checked in and headed out for a drink. We are in New Orleans at Tales of the Cocktail after all.  We spent a few hours seeing friends and enjoying a couple of drinks but headed to bed around 3am in order to get ready for the first full day at Tales.

10:00 AM – Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey Tasting Event

First stop of the day – a fun Irish Breakfast with entertainment, tasty food and of course tastings of Kilbeggan. An Irish Coffee and an Irish Breakfast Shot later we kissed the blarney stone and headed out.

10:30 AM – Checked in and picked up my Media badge and event tickets and visited the swag room for some samples (40 pounds worth).

11:00 AM – 11:45 AM – Tales of Two Cities: Beantown and Barbary Coast

The East and West coasts competed by creating craft original cocktails inspired by each other’s cities (Boston and San Francisco).

Team Beantown
Jackson Cannon, 2011 Bartender of the Year and owner of The Hawthorne
Joy Richard of Franklin Restaurant Group,
Misty Kalkofen of Brick and Mortar
Will Thompson of Drink
David “Cousin Dave” Cagle of Deep Ellum/Lone Star.

Team Barbary Coast
Russell Davis, 2012 Bartender of the Year
Carlo Splendorini of Michael Mina
Morgan Schick of Rio Grande
Jupiter Olympus
Brooke Arthur

We tasted the cocktails and voted for our favorites. Our favorites were:

Team Beantown’s Misty Kalkofen:
La Cura de la Mariposa
Chinaco Blanco Tequila
Lemon Juice
Agave Syrup
Luxardo Fernet
Anchor Libery Ale

Team Barbary Coast’s Carlo Splendorini of Michael Mina
Genevieve Gin
Infusion Vodka
Cane Syrup
Lemon Juice
Half and Half
Egg White
Iranian Pistachios


A short pedi-cab away, we entered the Aiden Gill Barber Shop for the first ever Auchentoshan Whisky & Whiskers Pop Up Barbershop.  While the men received 30-minute hot shaves and beard trims, we women received back massages while sipping specialty Auchentoshan cocktails.

1:00PM – OXLEY Edible Fruit Cocktails

Stopped by the Oxley Truck but they were out of popsicles – so we tasted the Oxley Gin straight – herbacious and refreshing!

1:15 PM Lunch at Acme Oyster House

Just around the corner from the Hotel Monteleone, we sat down for a typcial New Orleans meal – fresh oysters, chargrilled oysters, a peacemaker (shrimp and oyster) po’boy, hushpuppies and, of course, a Bloody Mary.  It was quite a filling lunch.

3:00 PM  Stopped by the room to drop off our bags and took a 30 minute nap.


We enjoyed an international mixology experience when the World Class mixologists from Diageo celebrated the history, trends and tastes of the cocktail.  With a Brazilian-inspired oasis we tasted 18 different cocktails which were twists on classics and incorporated gin, tequila, whiskey, vodka and rum.

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM – VIVA SANGRITA!! VIVA TEQUILA OCHO!! National Finals

After tasting 18 different cocktails, we walked over to catch the national finals of the VIVA SANGRITA!! VIVA TEQUILA OCHO!!  Competitors included Morgan Schick from San Francisco, Charles Joly from Chicago, Rich Andreoli from LA, Mike Parish from Miami, Meaghan Dorman from New York, and Chad Arnholt from Boston.

And the winner was……..Mike Parish who won a trip to Mexico to experience the historic La Altena distillery.

9:00 PM – 10:00 PM – Private tasting of the newly released Brugal Extra Dry

Brugal’s fifth generation Maestro Ronero (Rum Master) Gustavo Ortega Zeller sat down with us for a little one on one tasting.  We learned about the newly released Premium Extra Dry and tasted it, along with the 1888.

10:00 PM – 1:00 AM – Brugal Rum Cocktail Loop

Following Master Distiller Gustavo Ortega, we hopped on a Brugel-decorated shuttle and were driven from the Hotel Monteleone to two of the most sought after bars outside the French Quarter.  On the drive over, we sipped a “Dehumidifier” cocktail made with Brugal Extra Dry Rum.

The first stop on the cocktail route took us to Bellocq (936 St. Charles Avenue) where we enjoyed a Brugal Smash and a Brugal Punch, along with some food from the Vietnamese-influenced menu.


The second stop was at Cure (4905 Freret Street), the sister bar to Bellocq, where we enjoyed a spiced Brugal punch that made us think that it was Christmas time in July.

1:00 AM – 2:00 AM – Udderly Fabulous Pajama Party with Adult Chocolate Milk and Cookies

We headed back to the Hotel Monteleone to catch the tail end of the Adult Chocolate Mik and Cookies party.  Unfortunately, we missed the cookies but got to taste the chocolate and strawberry creams, mixed with vodka.  A sweet little night cap before heading to bed.

Day 1 was a full day!  We had hoped to attend a few other events but with the timing of each event and crowds at others, we hit as much as we could.  Next up….Day 2!