We have many reasons to love New Orleans, from the amazing food and architecture to the southern hospitality and good friends and family. It’s our home away from home, and we always find reasons to return as often as we can and look forward to attending the annual Tales of the Cocktail conference each summer (July 20-24 this year)
We enjoy visiting Chef Nina Compton’s Compère Lapin for the Carribbean spiced food and to see the smiling face of Abigail Gullo who tends to her bar and to her customers with the same generous enthusiasm. A transplant from the North, Abigail’s colorful style and charm fit right at home in the Big Easy.
During our interview with Abigail we learned her theatrical training (her college major) has served her well on her current stage, the bar, where she says she’s learned to listen to her customers and read person’s body language to decide what cocktail to make.
When Abigail’s not behind the bar at Compère Lapin she’s behind her computer screen blogging at www.ryegirlnyc.blogspot.com, petting her dog, Ronnie, and dreaming of singing in a rock-n-roll band.
Wednesday, July 13, 2pmEST, on The Connected Table LIVE! on W4CY. Listen here one the iHeart.com and the free iHeart App.
Tequila was always my “nasty spirit” in college. There was something about drinking tequila than made me want to dance barefoot for hours, preferably on a beach. I stopped drinking it for a long period of time until my former agency started working with Frida Kahlo Tequila, and I was properly educated on true tequila and its breadth of styles. Sipping an añejo or a reposado with a sliver of fresh lime was all I needed to enjoy tequila as a responsible adult. No tutti frutti drinks for me. My tequila style went from naughty to neat.
Tequila is a $2 billion industry, and the U.S. gulps up 80% of global exports. Much of the tequila consumed is “mixto,” a cruder hybrid of the true spirit. But appreciation and sales of real tequila, made from 100 percent pure blue Weber agave is growing muy rapido.
Chantal Martineau, author of “How the Gringos Stole Tequila” (Chicago Review Press) joins us August 26, 2pm EST, on The Connected Table LIVE! to discuss the story of tequila, how it’s made and monitored by Mexico’s Consejo Regulador Tequila, and how it’s been exploited by global marketers. She’ll explain the differences in tequila and its lustier sister, mezcal. Through her descriptive detail Chantal practically takes us in her backpack to meet producers, jimadores and the colorful characters behind this spirit so sacred to both the almighty dollar of big booze brand marketers and the agave activists who fiercely protect its heritage.
Hers was a five year immersion into the world of tequila. Reading Chantal’s book makes me want to book a flight to Jalisco to see the dusty blue agave plants under a piercingly bright blue Mexican sky and soak it all in down to the last chilled shot with fresh lime. Melanie Young
Chantal Martineau has written articles about food, drinks, and travel for numerous publications, including Allure, the Atlantic, Decanter, Edible, Islands, Maxim, Redbook, Saveur, Time Out, Village Voice, the Washington Post, Wine Enthusiast, and Women’s Health. She grew up in Montreal and currently lives in New York City. Connect: www.chantalmartineau.comTwitter@chantytown Facebook:HowtheGringosStoleTequila
New Orleans has long been considered the birthplace of the cocktail. In fact there is a Museum of Cocktail located in the city. Eating and drinking is an essential part of New Orleans’ rich culinary culture, from its storied bars and restaurants and iconic Creole and Cajun dishes to the cocktails that were created there: the Sazerac, the Hurricane, the Grasshopper and New Orleans Ramos Gin Fizz.
New Orleans is also the birthplace of the largest gathering of people who work in and for the cocktail and bar profession. Tales of the Cocktail® is the world’s premier cocktail festival, bringing together the international spirits community for five days of what’s now, what’s new and what’s next in bartending. The city heats up even more in July when the cocktail cognoscenti arrive. This year’s Tales of the Cocktail® takes place July 15-19.
The brains behind Tales of the Cocktail® is Founder Ann Tuennerman. A New Orleans native and marketing pro, she first started organizing walking tours of the city’s fabled bars in 2002. The following year she launched the first Tales of the Cocktail®. The rest is cocktail industry history. This event has grown into a global gathering with international offspring events in cities like Buenos Aires, Vancouver and Mexico City…and more to come.
David and I first attended Tales in 2008 and we haven’t missed one since. We’ve connected with so wonderful industry people through Tales, all in the spirit of supporting the industry while having an amazingly fun time. Hey! After all it takes place in New Orleans!
Throughout the year Ann and her team organize events like Tales of the Toddy and a Cocktail Film Festival. More recently they created Tales 365, an exclusive membership service providing bartenders and spirits professionals access to special programs, networking events and distillery tours.
Tales also gives back to support the community who serves the industry. In 2006, Ann and her husband Paul founded the New Orleans Culinary & Cultural Preservation Society (NOCCPS), which has funded more than half a million dollars in programs to support the hospitality industry through grants, scholarships, cocktail apprenticeships and other programs.
I like to say there are three kinds of people: Those who see the glass half empty; those who see the glass half full and those who seize the opportunity and drink up what’s in the glass. Ann saw opportunity in a glass, drank it up and served more to share with others. – Melanie Young
When you ask almost any bartender in America who they admire most in the industry, one name tops them all- Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff, aka King Cocktail.Dale is credited with reinventing the bartending profession, setting off a cocktail revival that continues to flourish. Dale’s enormous influence in the bar world has spanned three decades and many crafted cocktails.
I had the pleasure of getting to know Dale when he was making a name for himself behind the bar at New York City’s Rainbow Room when I was working with the late Joe Baum to launch New York Restaurant Week. Dale’s charm was magnetic; his drinks impeccable; his bar moves captivating.
A 2015 inductee into The James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America and recipient of the #JBFAward for Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional, Dale is author of The Essential Cocktail and The Craft of the Cocktail (Random House). He is also a partner in the award-winning bar training program, Beverage Alcohol Resource(BAR) and founding president of theMuseum of the American Cocktail.
Saloon singing and storytelling is another passion of Dale’s. His popular presentation:ON THE TOWN; Bars, Speaks, & Legendary Saloonshas been performed in over two dozen cities around the world. Dale also offers a bourbon & bitters tasting presentation I’LL TAKE MANHATTANS!–an exploration of aromatic bitters.
Speaking of aromatic bitters, Dale now has his own line. Crafted entirely from whole botanicals, without commercial flavorings or artificial dyes, Dale DeGroff’s Aromatic Bitters™enhances cocktails without overpowering.
Dale reminisces about working with Joe Baum and his current role as an educator in this June 3 iHeart segment of The Connected Table LIVE!