NEW YORK FOLLOWED BY MOSCOW FOLLOWED BY DUBAI. THEN I SHOULD CALM DOWN FOR THE RITZ OPENING
The Tales of the cocktail is the most splendid pro and amateur cocktail salon in the world.
Perhaps 20,000 people involved with the drinks industry could be there. I have never seen such a town literally taken over by the most interesting bartenders from every state in America not to mention every country in Europe and Asia.
The atmosphere is electric and everyone is just so happy and fun. You talk to people in the street. You go to seminars, to parties, to drink demonstrations. don't forget your Absolut Bloody Mary in the morning served at the Hotel Monteleone on the first floor. Around the corner is 42 Below, New Zealand Vodka, now part of the Bacardi group with the ever more famous Jacob Briars, the best Global Ambassador in the World, serving you perfumed coffee, hot or cold.
Just outside Leblon Cachaca are preparing you caipirinhas to walk along the street with. Oh look! There's Mauro Majoub, owner of the Negroni Bar in Munich, on the other side of the street. Just in front there's Gary Reagan, Dale is playing his guitare whilst Audrey and Robert are in the Kitchen of the Monteleone making sure that the marvellous team of Bartenders prepare the 200 or so cocktails in the buckets destined to be served at thier next talk.
Let's go down to the Carrousel Bar. A bar that literally turns on itself, a friend comes along and we eat mini Hamburgers and Vieux Carré Cocktails, it takes forever and we drink lots of water. The bar is so crowded and I could only see two waitresses. We joke with one of them. They are admirably putting up with the stress.
Then its off to the French 75, home of Chris Hannah, the most famous bartender in New Orleans. We drank splendid French 75s with Cognac in Champagne glasses and Chris was very nice to let me take a few photos with him in thier bar whilst showing off my new shaker and cocktail equipment.
Cocktail time with Ludovic and Jacob at the Bacardi terrass or casa Bacardi. Vladimir and his Russian bartender friends turn up and we do cocktail shots, photographic, bien sur! Vladimir has been a friend for more than 10 years and a real host when I'm in Moscow.
He wants my shaker but its not quite ready yet, still a few tests to do.
The next day I wake up early. Ludovic from Bacardi wants to check that everything is ready for our presentation infront of 170 people. Everything was ready. the presentation, which was all about the psychology and art of the hospitality industry, was great. Even better fun was the next seminar equally packed with about 170 people. This time it was just Jacob and myself. We played off each other on the subject of Apple Brandy. Jacob knows his stuff having been brought up in the Apple land of New Zealand. I knew a little on the subject too.
We had the most amazing ping pong presentation that I've ever done.
In the evening with Tim of Monkeys Shoulder whisky and friends we met up with Alfred Cointreau who had just done his presentation as well. This was the Bar Brawl, a competition of Bars seeing who could turn out, in front of 2 thousand bartenders, the best drinks!
They were all winners. I wish I was back there in the Tales. For me it was one of the most magic events of my career.