Seen and heard at this year’s Tales Of The Cocktail convention in New Orleans:
Drink historian David Wondrich, quoting from his “Axioms Of Mixography” during a conference about vintage recipe research: “Bartenders lie, journalists embellish, and bloggers steal embellished lies.” He wasn’t looking at the Beachbum when he said that … was he?
Cheryl Charming’s charming cocktail rings, especially her full-sized glass cocktail coupe (pictured above). As far as we’re concerned, a cocktail on the finger is worth two in the hand.
Fix The Pumps author Darcy O’Neil, when asked during his “Essential Oils” seminar why he bothers to resurrect extinct 19th-century cocktail ingredients like acid phosphate: “Because I want to taste the world.”
Seattle barmeister Rocky Yeh, furiously carving ice balls … while wearing a three-piece suit.
Rum authority Wayne Curtis, shortly before performing a gunpowder test on a saucer of 151-proof rum: “When I was in high school, if someone told me ‘Someday you’ll get paid to play with liquor, gunpowder, and matches,’ I would’ve said, ‘Awww, get outta here…'”
Las Vegas cocktail guru Tobin Ellis, during his “Liquid Disc Jockey – Controlling The Flow Of Any Room” session: “For me, the bar was always my own personal human psychology experiment.” One of his more profitable experiments was “to make the splashiest drink I could think of, then walk it around the room as if I were serving it to someone,” invariably starting a chain reaction of patrons ordering the drink.
But our favorite session was Martin Cate’s “Smooth & Creamy History Of The Fern Bar” — and not just because we were on the panel. Martin bedecked the conference room with actual ferns, bringing back the inglorious 1970s with such drink samples as the Lola Granola, garnished with wheat germ and served by cocktail waitresses Alice Berry (no relation) and Jeanne Virdrine … in full costume as “Feather Locklear” and “Julie Your Cruise Ship Director.” (That’s Jeanne and Alice pictured above, with Martin and the Bum). While most Tales attendees didn’t quite know what to make of the affair, it was the only seminar Judy Walker of the New Orleans Times-Picayune saw fit to give a full review. You can read it here, if that photo hasn’t blinded you: