Ever find yourself wondering about how spirits were once used in medicine? Or pondering the best way to arrange a comparative tasting of rums, gins or tequilas? Or wishing you had some guidance on how to incorporate herbs and spices into your cocktail menu?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you’ll want to make your way to New Orleans next month for the fifth anniversary of Tales of the Cocktail, which runs from July 18-22.
Founded and still helmed by Ann Rogers, who refers to the event as her “gift to New Orleans,” the five-day event emerged from a hugely successful, two-and-a-half-hour New Orleans Cocktail Tour in 2002. To commemorate the tour’s first anniversary, Rogers invented Tales of the Cocktail ostensibly as a one-off, but its great success inspired her to make it an annual event. The original Cocktail Tour remains an integral part of Tales of the Cocktail and this year takes place July 18.
“As a native New Orleanian, I love [the city’s] history and culture,” Rogers says. “The tour was started to preserve that history and educate people about New Orlean’s dining and drinking.”
Features of the 2007 Tales of the Cocktail abound, from a tequila tasting and discussion hosted by cocktail maven Dale DeGroff, featuring the original, 1948 recipe for Tequila Sunrise, to a seminar on vermouth and other fortified wines led by drinks historian Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh, and a professional panel discussion on the future of mixology featuring NRN’s own Bret Thorn. Perhaps best of all for audience members, though, is that each session is designed to be up close and personal, with many taking place in such historic venues as Arnaud’s Restaurant  and Napoleon House  and all led by some of the most influential mixologists in the world.
But it would hardly be true to cocktail culture if Tales of the Cocktail featured only tutored tastings and seminars, so each day of the “culinary and cocktail festival,” as Rogers describes it, is dotted with opportunities to hobnob with the experts at the Hotel Monteleone’s Carousel Bar, in the free admission Tales of the Cocktail Tasting Room or out on the streets of what is still one of the world’s most dynamic nightlife cities.
Registration for Tales of the Cocktail is required and may be completed at