The carousel winds down and another Tales of the Cocktail heads into the books. It’s been a week of great times, bleary mornings, late nights, and wonderful people. There have been lavish parties and dinners, impromptu gatherings at watering holes, and disputes over the fastest and most ridiculous way to deliver drinks down your throat (the answer is Negroni cannon). I had a few drinks, saw a lot of new and old friends, and missed seeing a ton of people as the swirl keeps kept me from catching everyone.
Tales is still the grandest spirits and cocktail gathering of the year. It could only be held in New Orleans as I can’t think of any other place in the world where our particular tribe is still just business as usual. We may consume everything to excess, but we’re professionals about it. There is also no better group of miscreants to be a part of. Our industry is like a huge clan. You may have your disagreements, but at the end of the day, you all pull together so that we can all drink better.
There’s been a maturation process as well. I saw far fewer people losing multiple days to the Tales fever where they can do naught but huddle in their beds all day. This year, my fellow campadres went to bed at semi-reasonable hours, set time aside for meals, and hydrated as necessary. Even the novices took to heart the advice to schedule themselves for as little as possible in the hopes of having a semi-attainable schedule once the whirlwind began.
I learned that we are all starting to think about how to take care of ourselves for the long term in this business. More and more of the old recipes for spirits are being revived and yet, the drive for innovation has not been lost. It’s a great time to be drinking and it’s a great time to be a part of this industry.
It’s also a great time to detox.
~Rocky Yeh, spirits strategist and writer at NW Vivant
**Photo credit: Tales of the Cocktail 2011 / Rocky Yeh