In Under The Volcano, Malcolm Lowry wrote about the phenomenon of “drinking yourself sober.” He’d be right at home in New Orleans during Tales Of The Cocktail, where sober discussion about drinking rules the day — five days, to be precise (July 16-20), packed with seminars about how to make drinks, how to taste drinks, even how to write about making and tasting drinks.
But that’s just the days. There’s nothing sober about the nights, which are filled with cocktail parties, spirits tastings, drinkcentric dinners, and independent carousing in the French Quarter’s watering holes by hundreds of Tales attendees.
The Beachbum will be in town for Tales, keeping up the side for Tiki drinks in four different events.
On Thursday, July 19, he’ll co-host a Tiki “Spirited Dinner” at the Country Club with Wayne Curtis, author of And A Bottle Of Rum: A History Of The New World In Ten Cocktails. Wayne and the Bum have come up with a slate of tropical drinks to complement what Chef Chris DeBarr calls his “Tiki Forward” cuisine, a unique fusion of Pan-Asian, Polynesian, and Louisiana cooking (Thursday night’s menu pictured above). Chef Chris has mandated an informal but luxe luau, with gourmet food and drink in a relaxed island atmosphere.
Tales Of The Cocktail is also hosting three other Tikified events, all on Saturday, July 21. At 10:30 a.m. in the Hotel Monteleone, the Bum will moderate a seminar on lost tropical drinks called “Potions Of The Caribbean,” with guest speakers Martin Cate (proprietor of the Forbidden Island Bar in California), Brother Cleve (the Boston-based mixologist who kick-started the 1990s “Cocktail Nation” movement with his band Combustible Edison), Stephen Remsberg (owner of the world’s largest private rum collection), and Wayne Curtis (who traveled widely though the Caribbean when writing And A Bottle Of Rum) … next up, at 2:30 p.m., the Bum will demo ice molds at Martin Cate’s “The Cocktail Garnish” seminar, also at the Monteleone … and finally, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Fulton Street Promenade near Harrah’s Casino Hotel, the Bum will be serving one of 12 drinks on offer at a Tiki Block Party.
UPDATE: Here’s a review of the Spirited Dinner by Chuck Taggart of Gumbo Pages: