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Tales Day 4

Tales of The Cocktail Day 4
You know you must be having a good time if you need to use discarded schedules and pocket litter to forensically reconstruct what you have been doing for the past 4 days.

It’s 4 AM at Tales

Went to the shaker and barware symposium at the Museum of the American Cocktail which was a lot of fun and very informative. For the full batch of pictures please go to our flickr page for some of the photos of the barware and the people doing the presentations. On the way back Johnathan Forester and I realized we must go to Meyers hat shop – about 15 minutes before they normally close. After much discussion we end up buying some hats.This for me is a stellar event. I ever can find a hat that fits me. Ever.We got to talk to Mr Meyer himself and get fitted out with some outstanding hats.

My two new hats, One is a straw fedora and the other is a tweed porkpie with the old style 2 inch brim. Luckily Mr Meyer ships so you don’t have to risk flying them home
Mr Meyer Himself- In business since 1937
Meyer the Hatter Hat Shop

After this major shopping adventure we headed back to the hotel. After a quick rinse off we went on to the Beefeater Party around 7 PM – not bad in the scale of things — not as crowed as last year but less food and the drinks were not quite as interesting. The theme was a Alice in Wonderland – a sort of William Burroughs version of Alice and Wonderland.
Alice was a rather tired looking lingerie model version, with the Mad Hatter looking like a Johnny Depp on a bad day and the Red Queen reminding me of the old saying ” There is never a prostitute too old or too ugly to make a living in Paris” Substitute Drag Queen for Prostitute and the location for New Orleans and you get the picture.
After staying there long enough to be polite we decided to make our escape. On the way out we encountered a line of Ford Model A  cars parked at the curbside and snapped a few shots of them . Not sure why they were there but they did add some nice texture to the scenery as it were

After jumping on the bus and discussing the crew from extreme makeover with the bus crew (who had worked with them recently) we got back to the hotel and ran over to our dinner date at G.W. Finns with the CEO of Van Gogh Vodka Norman Bonachick. Who is a really nice gentleman and gourmand.
The meal we had there was outstanding and quite reasonable. I would definitely recommend the place if you are looking for a higher end but not too pricey place to eat during Tales.
We are falling asleep at the keyboard so we will continue this chronicle in a few hours,

Tales Day 2

Ed Hamilton The Minister of Rum

Up early Kahlua Coffee Bar and Cocktails at 8:30 AM followed by Breakfast at the media room compliments of Oxley Gin.Potato cakes, scones , ham scrambled eggs. Great Irish cheese also – Just not quite up to solid food today and so early.
Hanging with the Minister of Rum. Wireless network at Monteleone is not working at all it seems- going with a cellular modem to get a signal out.
Tried the Oxley Gin- Interesting but not overly impressed. Also they never seem to answer inquiries so I doubt if we will ever get to review them formally.

Outlaw Blogging At Tales Day 1

Got in Early and promptly took up residence at the Carousel.3 drinks later (Sazerac, Veiux Carre and a Manhattan) then off to d.b.a for a tasting of small, artisanal spirits.
Some real stand outs from Haus Alpenz. Also a aged grappa that was quite a revelation.
Then off to the Alibi for the Bloggers in exile anti reception. Alibi has outstanding gumbo by the way as we had that for a quick dinner after meeting up with some PR people. Afterwards we went to the Drambuie Rusty Nail event at the Roosevelt which was lightly attended.
I think everyone went to the Cointreau Burlesque Show.

Alibi Lounge July 20th (Day 1 of Tales)

Bar at the Alibi
This is the scene from the Alibi Lounge (815 Iberville) . The Alibi is my second home or base during Tales each year. Contrary to popular belief, I do take a hotel room and do not actually live at the Alibi itself during Tales. I do go to my hotel about twice a day to shower, change clothes, and on rare occasions lie down. It has many advantages over a number of other bars or even the media room for a writer ( or anyone else) who needs a good ( notice I didn’t say nice) place to drink, eat, and hangout with friends at all hours and not be bothered.
The beer selection is one of the best in the area there, they serve good bar food 24 hours a day and even deliver, and it is a service bar so most of the clientele are bartenders, wait staff and off duty strippers.
So guys, if a woman expresses an interest in you there you know they are serious as they are off duty.
Another advantage is because they do escort services for customers carrying fair amounts of cash (see above), the staff are armed – so like a cop bar it’s a safe place to be- it has a reputation and the local criminals (at least the robbery types) know to avoid it. Downside is don’t ask for a Sazerac or any other mixed drink that needs much in the way of ingredients or mixology skills- won’t happen. But otherwise it is at least 1/2 the price of the Absinthe House and much less crowded. It is also relatively isolated being around the corner from Bourbon Street – so you don’t get all the amateurs and riffraff that you get on Bourbon Street.

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We Will Be Outlaw Blogging at Tales

I will be blogging at Tales of the Cocktail. No, I am not part of the club that does it. I tried a number of times to become part of it and gave up. Including last year when I was supposed to be a “Guest Blogger” but they never bothered to acknowledge or publish my dispatches or answer my emails as to why not.
I will be an outlaw ( as in beyond/outside the law/rules/society/organization). In the spirit of Hunter S. Thompson and William Burroughs I will attempt to report on what is going on without dressing it up or making it pretty and more acceptable. I will continue to be the “Contaminating Antiauthoritarian Element”.

“We Don’t Have Things Like This In The Third World” III


“Tales crowd is doing its best to kill the night and greet the morning” Around 6 Am or so some stripper from a local club (sorry won’t say which) tried selling my English mate some methedrine (his accent marked him as not from around there and unlikely as law enforcement ). He had an outstanding rejoinder (no wonder he gets all the action) No, thank you. I deal in something much more dangerous – alcohol but I do it very responsibly (went on to explain bartending) chatted up the two pneumatic blondes quite nicely for a bit. Finally sometime after the sun rose and before it got to bright we all headed back to the hotel, another night gone and a new day at Tales beginning.

(Apologies for breaking the story up but it seems the only way to be able t0o post the photos Anywhere near where I want them.)

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“We Don’t Have Things Like This In The Third World” II


Eventually ( as the opening was running late) we were all greeted by Charlotte Voisey – Hendricks Gin Ambassador who, even more so than usual , (given the costume and circumstances), looked like a slumming angel .

Charlotte , who always is a good sport about such things, wore her costume with grace and poise, greeting all of the guests into the darkly lit room beyond the golden doors.

I ran into David Suro ( Of Tequilas Restaurant in Philadelphia and Siembra Azul Tequila) and Dr Rodolfo Fernandez (Noted expert on all things Agave and more) at the burlesque show – Rodolfo had a great line as we were watching the whole spectacle – “We don’t have such things in the third world ” a pause then, “But we do have American TV which can be similar”

The burlesque show itself was, at turns, amusing and scary, depending on the acts – some of which reminded me of a old saying about prostitutes in Paris but I digress as usual.

Following the Hendricks party I caught a ride with David and Rodolfo to Herbsaint down the street. Bottles of Mezcal somehow appeared from out of a briefcase someone else brought and we are drinking it from the bottle on the sidewalk at the cafe. After getting some more refreshments and a desultory conversation or two we went back to the Monteleone Carousel till it closed down for the night. After that it was off down Royal and somehow ending up at the Erin Rose around 4 AM or so.

The place was unbelievably packed and people of every possible type, persuasion and state of sobriety were there,a major player in the business was there , hooting,raving falling over and having a good time, locals, tales goers of all stripes, it looked like the Meet Cafe from Naked Lunch, some many people of so many different types and enthusiasms were packed in there it was hard to tell who was doing what to me , if they were just being friendly,something more or just trying to let someone else go by. It really didn’t matter really, everyone was getting along just fine. We bumped into numerous old friends, made new ones and finally, regretfully, headed down to the Alibi to decompress a bit and await the dawn with a few of a die hard friends.

“We Don’t Have Things Like This In The Third World”


Wednesday July 8th Evening – Thursday July 9th Morning

“We Don’t Have Things Like This In The Third World “
-Dr Rodolfo Fernandez

The evening started tamely enough and slowly decayed into another another walking into the dawn, “I swear I will never do this Again!”, debacle .
Dinner was with the crew from Baddish PR and Remy Cointreau at Mr B’s across the street from the Monteleone – surprisingly a number of people in the dinner party were drinking Tourment Vert (the only absinthe/pastis on the menu admittedly) including myself. It really did taste fairly good with lots of ice (OK I was dehydrated and ready to drink almost anything at that point that was cold – but still…).
After a lovely dinner with the crew it was time to go out and see what parties there were on offer for the night- funny the idea of sleep doesn’t occur during Tales for most of us it seems…
First there was the Beefeater 24 party at the Roosevelt, a somewhat jarring change from the plush , classy and and low key celebration they held last year for Desmond Payne’s Jubilee . This one was full of techno music,suckling pigs, and lots of dancing (in no particular order). The new Beefeater 24 was the spirit of the hour and many different types of drinks were available to showcase this new gin – all of which seemed quite nice and were presented in great profusion to any and all who wished to sample them.

It probably was a particularly bad omen that we were dancing with a mime before 9 PM – dancing with a mime at any hour would have been a bad omen of things to come but before 9 well….
After that lamentable spectacle we proceeded downstairs to await the opening of the Hendricks Burlesques Show, bumping into several luminaries such as Dale DeGroff and Simon Difford. We also knew at this point that if Gary Regan was not here, at this event, he was either dead or seriously MIA.

First Night at Tales – Where All My Troubles Began

This Post was submitted to the to the Blogging Tales crew and never got published there, so I finally decided to publish it here.
O.K. The plan sounded reasonable at first blush, get to Tales early ( by noon from the East Coast ) the day before it all starts (Tuesday ), Yes it did involve getting up at 5 AM , but the thought was , well I’ll just have a little lie down before my 6 PM dinner plans with some friends.
That would have worked well if I had gotten more than 3 hours of sleep that night and also if I had not been told upon arrival that my room would not be ready till 4 PM.
Great I thought – all ready sleep deprived and no place to go – back part of the Carousel is shut off and too hot and sunny to sleep in a park.
So I belly up to the Carousel Bar and order an Abita, checking to see if I recognize anyone else.
A few people are already filtering and we have some desultory conversation and look over our paperwork (registration is not open yet either) and try to come up with some plans in lieu of sleep.
The desk staff at the hotel swear they will call me when the room is ready- It’s around 4:30 when I get the call.
I retrieve my gear, settle in a bit, have a quick shower, then peruse my maps and contact lists,
I make a few calls and make sure the arrangements for a Fernet Branca 2 pack hung on my doorknob each morning till Sunday is set – there are priorities here.

I met up with the Bartenders Apprentice group – these are the bartenders that do all the heavy lifting , behind the scenes work prepping, and preparing the hundreds of gallons of cocktails for various functions and presentations.They are in a sense similar to the “Black Gang – the workers who shoveled coal into the boilers of steamships – never noticed by anyone but absolutely vital to the operation.

Remy Cointreau has set up an appreciation night for them in advance and I was invited to tag along. First there was some team building games and some competitions – including one that involved guessing the contents of a bag of very disparate items- which later became props for a number of people to wear later in the evening…..

First stop was Arnauds a short distance away for drinks and in some cases cigars. Followed after a bit by the Old Absinthe House then was Tujaques which was a lot further away than many people realized.

A number of us eventually ended up at our usual haunt the Alibi – a place that never closes (Actually they do close for one hour a year for cleaning whether it needs it or not) and is the service industry bar near Bourbon St.

Party breaks up around 4 AM or so with some of us still hanging around till 6 or so.

So much for an early night at the beginning of Tales.

"We Don’t Have Things Like This In The Third World"


Wednesday July 8th Evening – Thursday July 9th Morning

“We Don’t Have Things Like This In The Third World “
-Dr Rodolfo Fernandez

The evening started tamely enough and slowly decayed into another another walking into the dawn, “I swear I will never do this Again!”, debacle .
Dinner was with the crew from Baddish PR and Remy Cointreau at Mr B’s across the street from the Monteleone – surprisingly a number of people in the dinner party were drinking Tourment Vert (the only absinthe/pastis on the menu admittedly) including myself. It really did taste fairly good with lots of ice (OK I was dehydrated and ready to drink almost anything at that point that was cold – but still…).
After a lovely dinner with the crew it was time to go out and see what parties there were on offer for the night- funny the idea of sleep doesn’t occur during Tales for most of us it seems…
First there was the Beefeater 24 party at the Roosevelt, a somewhat jarring change from the plush , classy and and low key celebration they held last year for Desmond Payne’s Jubilee . This one was full of techno music,suckling pigs, and lots of dancing (in no particular order). The new Beefeater 24 was the spirit of the hour and many different types of drinks were available to showcase this new gin – all of which seemed quite nice and were presented in great profusion to any and all who wished to sample them.

It probably was a particularly bad omen that we were dancing with a mime before 9 PM – dancing with a mime at any hour would have been a bad omen of things to come but before 9 well….
After that lamentable spectacle we proceeded downstairs to await the opening of the Hendricks Burlesques Show, bumping into several luminaries such as Dale DeGroff and Simon Difford. We also knew at this point that if Gary Regan was not here, at this event, he was either dead or seriously MIA.

Lost Entry from 2008 Tales

Lost Entry from 2008 Tales
It’s 6 AM, again yes, we said we wouldn’t do this again, today, whatever it is, we walked into the dawn again, past the night watchmen, even the prostitutes and beggers have called it a night hours ago.
It all started off innocently enough,full of good intentions,and plans of rest after a quiet night .
After a long day of workshops and networking, we started off at the cocktail hour a broad expanse of cocktails running the gamut from the sublime to the regretable.

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Going to Tales ! 2008

Headed to Tales of the Cocktail soon!
Will be going back to Tales for further punishment and to host the second annual Ernest Hemingway Bar Crawl

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Tales of The Cocktail in New Orleans Day 1 July 18th




I had gotten this great deal to go to Tales of the Cocktail through Travelocity-6 Nights and Airfare from Rochester , New York for $610 including a shuttle to and from the airport.The hotel was a 2 star supposedly according to their website like a small French hotel.They forgot to add the adjectives Marseilles Waterfront- down by the old U Boat Pens.
It took 3 tries before they found me a room that had working air conditioning,broken phone door whose lock took at least 8 tries to open each time,cracked sink and a air conditioning unit that barely worked at all.The elevator worked some of the time, the fire alarm was broken, the cockroaches were big and the other guests scary.

Tales from Tales or “You are assuming I have a sense of shame”

The photographer who took these pictures said something about blackmail and I said “You are assuming I have a sense of shame”

This is a story about how I tried to show that you can’t outdo anyone from Tales,we are professionals, and we have a reputation to live up (down) to.
We went on the walking tour of New Orleans Bars Sunday afternoon (after the Hemingway Memorial Bar Crawl) and were in the oldest Gay Bar in the United States – Cafe Lafite in Exile it goes down hill from here….read on if you must…
Before we went in the the place the guide warned us “Guys, be ready they love to play games with the tourists and try to freak them out – it keeps them amused, so be ready.”
I replied “If anyone hits on me I take it as a compliment” so this Drag Queen is Vamping in the doorway taunting us to come in (See Drag Queen in Doorway)
we come in and she comes up to me and (see Kissing Drag Queen)… They didn’t get the actual contact but trust me Cheryl will tell you….I may have given her mental scars for life…Then they gave me this drink (see P7220320.JPG photo) and this is what I did with it (see During photo) again they missed the wink to the crowd, but the crowd saw it and loved it after that I asked theBartender



The photographer who took these pictures said something about blackmail and I said “You are assuming I have a sense of shame”

This is a story about how I tried to show that you can’t outdo anyone from Tales,we are professionals, and we have a reputation to live up (down) to.
We went on the walking tour of New Orleans Bars Sunday afternoon (after the Hemingway Memorial Bar Crawl) and were in the oldest Gay Bar in the United States – Cafe Lafite in Exile it goes down hill from here….read on if you must…
Before we went in the the place the guide warned us “Guys, be ready they love to play games with the tourists and try to freak them out – it keeps them amused, so be ready.”
I replied “If anyone hits on me I take it as a compliment” so this Drag Queen is Vamping in the doorway taunting us to come in (See Drag Queen in Doorway)
we come in and she comes up to me and (see Kissing Drag Queen)… They didn’t get the actual contact but trust me Cheryl will tell you….I may have given her mental scars for life…Then they gave me this drink (see P7220320.JPG photo) and this is what I did with it (see During photo) again they missed the wink to the crowd, but the crowd saw it and loved it after that I asked the bartender (about the size of Martin from Forbidden Tiki ) for a blowjob (which he handed me) for some reason I started getting these free drinks… anyway I then I proceeded to carry this drink around with me for the rest of the tour (see after) including stopping to chat with Laurence Fishburn (who to his credit only raised one eyebrow slightly at the sight of me – Hurricane (from Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop of course) in one hand and that in the other .
Anyway I think I helped establish that anyone from Tales can hold their own at Cafe Lafitte in Exile and more importantly can probably get at least one round free.