Dispatch from Tales of the Cocktail 2011: The Calm Before the Storm

The best day of Tales of the Cocktail is often the day before it officially begins.  People start arriving and you begin reconnecting with friends you haven’t seen in a year.  Sitting in the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone, spinning around and around, with a drink or twelve every few minutes bringing a new face to greet.  It’s a wonderful time.  It makes you realize what a wonderful group of people inhabit this industry as people shout greetings to each other across the room.

Tales is a marathon.  The competitive toasting and eating starts almost right away and one of the hardest lessons to learn is when you need to stop for the day and save yourself for the rest of the week.

As I sit in my first seminar of the week, Brand Ambassadors, I realize that this may be the only room where everyone has had enough Tales experience to avoid the pitfalls of going all out one night and losing a day.

Most of the classes on the first day are industry professional–centric, with topics like Brand Ambassadors, Occupational Hazards, In House Soda Programs, Setting up Ice Programs, and How to Craft a Menu. The “Occupational Hazards” session brought out topics of discussion from personal health to effects of regular business-related imbibing. Charlotte Voisey from William Grant led the session and made us consider what it is we’re doing to our bodies and what we can do through diet, exercise, and scheduling when we drink in order to reduce the wear and tear.  One trick that she and Ryan Magarian of Aviation Gin espoused was the “I only drink six months of the year” method.  That is, for every day or night that you drink try to have a day or night where you don’t drink.  I’m going to have to give that a try.

We’ll see how it goes.  Now though, it’s time for the welcoming parties and more drinking.

~Rocky Yeh, spirits strategist and writer at NW Vivant

**Photo credit: Tales of the Cocktail 2011 / Rocky Yeh

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