It seems that everyone else in the blogosphere has already published their recap of Tales of the Cocktail 2008 in New Orleans -- back in July. Not us! No, we choose to do things in our own sweet time, or as I like to say, we lead from behind.
Wendy made me promise to write up our last trip before we went on a new one. I didn't actually manage to do that, but mostly because I kind of feel the same way about deadlines as did the late, incomparable Douglas Adams: "I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."
Now that the LHC has come online and the planet has failed to get swallowed by a man-made black hole, I guess I should quit procrastinating and write a bit about our trip.
Wendy wasn't able to join me the first night, so I was forced [forced I say!] to go out with Keith and "Old Two-Livers" Rocky. After hitting an opening reception for Tales, we went to Cochon for dinner. Two-Livers apparently has a couple of stomachs too, but Keith and I tried gamely to keep up. We finished the night at LaFitte's Old Absinthe House, which is amazingly inconsistent in quality of drink (and bartender) but which was doing a bang-up job that evening.
Although I went to a decent Tales seminar the next day ("Artisan Spirits"), I was really mostly looking forward to Wendy's arrival. She showed up in plenty of time to join me at the slightly-dizzying Carousel Bar for part of a muffuletta that I'd brought back from an enjoyable lunch at Napoleon House with Rocky, Keith, Anita, Cameron, and a few others. Then it was off to Cocktail Hour and, more importantly, the Spirited Dinner at Restaurant August, where Charlotte Voisey was the "bar chef" for the evening. Although August is a great place -- Wendy and I had eaten there the year before -- and Charlotte tends to make tasty drinks, I have to say that this year things didn't really gel right. I know it's hard for the mixologists to pair against food they haven't tasted, so I won't be too judgemental, but there were really only one or two pairings that worked well, and several of the cocktails were not to the taste of some of the admittedly non-cocktailian members of our table. One thing that utterly failed was the tomato tart for dessert. Ugghh.
On Friday I had made the mistake of scheduling two whiskey seminars: "Whiskies You've Never Tasted" and "Rye Nation". While both were good, my palate was utterly destroyed by the end; I could not force down another drop of brown and was in serious need of citrus. I think Wendy did much better scheduling "Rum, Ron, Rhum" for herself! We headed out to the Swizzle Stick Bar, where Michael took great care of us as always, and then went to Emeril's for dinner; I actually enjoyed it much more than I expected (no Bam! though).
The highlights of Saturday were a brunch at Brennan's that ballooned from 2 to something like 15 people, an afternoon walking cocktail history tour of the French Quarter (where Wendy and I somehow managed to get separated from a group of 20+ people on foot, but still beat them to the last stop), and a meal at Herbsaint. Finished the evening with another stop at the Swizzle Stick Bar.
...and on Sunday it was time to go home!
Our pictures of Tales and New Orleans this year can be found here.