TOTC 2014 – Dynamic Duos, Tastings, Food and Fun!

JEFFBERRY

Daniele Dalla Pola and Jeff Berry having great fun, Picture Laura Godel

This last post is a picture parade of a FEW of the tastings, parties, dinners and the rest of all the fun that took place on this years Tales of the Cocktail. Sure I missed several events I would have wanted to attend to but it’s impossible to do it all, there’s so much that’s is happening!

One of the must do things was the “Dynamic Duos” – two of the worlds best bartenders working in pairs at the best bars in the city mixing cocktails with the sponsoring brand! there were several Dynamic Duos happening in places like Kingfish, Bellocq, Cure, Cane and Table, SoBou…and we went to two events, the first one was at Kingfish where Chris Mc Millan and Dale deGroff mixed cocktails with Laird’s Applejack, the oldest native distilled spirit in the US. I like Kingfish and when these two gentlemen are at the bar it’s a win win and a guarantee for good fun and great cocktails.

Like the Tales description says, few people have done more to elevate the art of American mixology than Dale DeGroff, aka King Cocktail. Credited with kickstarting the bartending revolution, he’s inspired countless mixologists across the country.

And Chris McMillian, is a fourth generation bartender whose combination of dedicated craftsmanship and passionate storytelling has made him a living legend in New Orleans!

Dynamic Duos Kingfish collage

Two legends, Chris McMillan and Dale deGroff

After Kingfish we continued to the next event, Jeff Berry and Nick Detrich mixing up drinks with Plantation rum at the Cane and Table! we decided to get there early but it was already packed when we got there….lucky for us some people left 3 chairs at the bar to us and so we got premium seating!

After quickly making a name for himself in the New Orleans cocktail scene at Cure and Bellocq, Nick Detrich opened Cane&Table, a sophisticated tiki restaurant devoted to exploring New Orleans position in the development of rum. Who better to join him at Tales of the Cocktail’s Dynamic Duos than Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, author of the definitive works on tropical drinks and culture?

It turned out to become a fantastic evening with ALL the rum and tiki people plus many others with good cocktails made with Plantation rum, which had a strong presence at this years Tales, just like previous years.

And with Jeff Berry at the bar it’s a guaranteed success! there is no doubt in my mind that his upcoming bar Latitude 29 will be one of THE bars to go in this town, personally I can’t wait to the next year when I will finally hopefully be able to get there.

Dynamic Duos Cane and Table collage

Pictures Laura Godel

Cane and Table also had a kickass pop-up pool party at the Monteleone rooftop:

Cane and Table Pop Up Pool Party collage

This is what did it for me….these mouthwatering grilled gulf shrimp skewers and the DIP SAUCE! the dip sauce was to “die for” and yet so simple, a mix of Crystal Sauce (the best Louisiana hot sauce in my opinion) and fresh squeezed lime juice served in baked bell peppers….the way the sauce tasted I think it was baked for a little while inside the bell peppers….this was soooooo GOOOD!!!

Cane and Table Pop Up Pool Party 4 2

Delicious strawberry sticks in mango sauce……you get pampered at the Tales!

Cane and Table Pop Up Pool Party 5 2

Cheers! and hope to be back at Tales again the next year!!

And here’s a picture parade:

Tales toast collage

The official Tales toast at the steps of Monteleone to kick off Tales.

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Delicious drinks by Mandarin Napoleon using my favorite soft drink (together with Ting) Sanpellegrino.

Mandarin Napoleon collage

Refreshing!! especially in the summer heat of New Orleans which btw I must say was unusally “cool” this year….nevertheless, the cold drinks really did their job! and who doesn’t like fresh and fruity drinks in the summer?

Mandarin Napoleon presented the 2nd Annual Imperial Battle of the Sexes, at the Napoleon House, where eight of the best male and female bartenders from around the country paired against each other to create their very own signature Mandarine Napoléon cocktail and, guests voted for the best. Each bartender had their own station to serve their signature cocktails, while strategically pleading for votes.

The teams also had to face off in challenges that tested their knowledge, creativity and skill. This portion of the competition was judged by an expert panel, including brand owner Marc de Kuyper. Hosted by John Lermayer , while Alex Straus and Mathias Simonis from The Bon Vivants were team captains.

So which team won? it was the male team this time….

 Bayou rum and gator 2

Bayou Rum had a alligator themed tasting room, presenting their new rum for the summer, Bayou Satsuma along with their spiced and silver rum that they launched at the Tales last year, serving cocktails with these three expressions. They even brought a live gator baby in there..

I like Bayou rum, it’s a comfort rum to me! and they served a tasty cocktail called “Down the Bayou”, with Bayou Spiced, Blackberry Sage Syrup by Locally Preserved, orange juice, pineapple juice, ginger ale, full recipe is on their webpage.

Samogon is a 90 proof Russian Spirit never commercially bottled before, until this years Tales! and in their tasting room we got to use a new tool for opening fresh coconuts and everyone got to open their own nut, funny, and the tool along with a huge hammer made it easy. Fresh coconut water is so tasty!  I think this one was a hit!

Samogon and Coconut

And at last, I wanna recommend a few places you can go to when you’ re in New Orleans for the Tales or other things, these are places I have greatly enjoyed over the years and this year because when I like a place, I keep coming back!

Arnaud’s French 75, get your well crafted cocktails by Chris Hannah and team! step into a world of it’s own right there on 813 Bienville street, the bar is adjacent to Arnaud’s main dining room and one of GQ’s top 25 bars in the US. Being there is a true delight!

Rum cocktail french 75 2

SoBou – A Spirited Restaurant South of Bourbon! awesome Louisiana-centric and street food inspired restaurant with a beverage focus. Great cocktails by Abigail! don’t miss this place please! 310 Chartres Street.

SoBou collage2

Mai Tai at SoBou with Appleton rum and Cruzan Blackstrap float, Shrimp and Tasso Pinchos with Glazed Pineapple.

KingFish – This is where Chris McMillan resides….enough said, just go there and have a great cocktail or two and chat with one of the legends in New Orleans! they also got great food….just a step away from SoBou – 337 Chartres St

The Carousel Bar – is a MUST! the slowly rotating bar is an experience! and the place you always find yourself at during the Tales. I had a great Rum Alexander this year made with the local Rougaroux dark rum! it was awesome. But their signature cocktail is the Vieux Carre’. The Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge is the only revolving bar in New Orleans, Louisiana. The bar is inside the Hotel Monteleone on 214 Royal St.

Cane and Table - GREAT place! cocktails, tiki drinks, RUM and food! 1113 Decatur St.

Bourbon “O” Bar - 730 Bourbon St – go here for a treatment by Cheryl Charming and her staff of great bartenders! I will never forget the Bananas Foster snowcone cocktail I had there last year! and go and have a Pimm’s Cup made by Lynn Burgett, he makes the best Pimm’s Cup in town! perfectly balanced, nice garnish and sooo refreshing! this bar is right on Bourbon yet a world away….

Pimms cup 2

Fabulous Pimm’s Cup….

The Rum House – a Caribbean taqueria and a great place for rum geeks because they do have an extensive rum list where you can find real rare treasures like Silver Seal Caroni and Samaroli demerara rums! and their fried oyster taco is a delight! find the Rum House at 3128 Magazine street.

Commander’s Palace - needs no presentation, let me just say, if you want a whole experience including fantastic food and impeccable service, there is Commander’s. Don’t miss their Shrimp Henican whatever you do….wild Louisana white shrimp stuffed with spicy Cajun tasso tossed in Crystal sauce with pickled okra and five pepper jelly!

That’s a few places but there are many more, cannot add them all I wrote about many of them in previous years, but go to for example, Cure, Bar Tonique, Coop’s, Parkway (for Poboys) just google them…I’m done, see y’all next year at the Tales!

Rumhouse collage

Real treasures at the Rum House……

commanders collage 2

Commander’s Shrimp and Tasso Henican is unbelievable…..! wild Louisana white shrimp stuffed with spicy Cajun tasso tossed in Crystal sauce with pickled okra and five pepper jelly! on the right, a little refreshment, Aqua Fresca. (Macerated pineapple and lime juices with a pinch of sugarcane…served with fresh mint)

hurricane tee 2

This years TOTC tee from Fleurtygirl! Storm the Quarter!!

TOTC 2014 – Tastings – Plantation Pineapple Rum, Appleton Rum Brunch and Bulleit New Fashioned!

Plantation Pineapple Rum L pic2

Pineapple Rum Stiggin’s Fancy – Picture Laura Godel

Plantation Rum in Shades of Dark, White and Pineapple!

I was waiting with great excitement for the tasting and launch of the Pineapple Rum Stiggin’s Fancy by Plantation Rum – which I need to make it clear right away, is NOT for sale…..because this rum was an experiment by Alexandre Gabriel and David Wondrich….to be launched and tasted at the Tales of the Cocktail….

Well….I was not disappointed, the rum was delicious! with a deep well matured and slightly smoky pineapple flavor in the background of Plantation rums original dark rum. And the bottle is beautiful!! I asked Alexandre what made the flavor so deep and he told me it”s coming from that the pineapple skin has been distilled – together with pineapple fruit, which also has been macerated.

For being just an experiment I think the outcome was really delicious and very interesting!

Plantation Pineapple tasting queue2

The queue….a nightmare for anyone with a hangover….luckily I was not…and don’t mind all the yellow hats….it’s a Tales thing….

Yep the queue to the tasting room was pure madness and the warm air stood still, but eventually we got in there….and deliciousness awaited…

Plantation pineapple tasting 2

Plantation rums, pineapple, white and dark as shots and in daiquiri cocktails…

Plantation Pineapple Rocky

Here served by Rocky – appropriately painted….I don’t know how he does it, but Rocky really is everywhere…

Plantation pineapple collage

Yours truly with pineapple rum in hand, Alexandre Gabriel – Cognac Ferrand proprietor and spirits mastermind – and more delicious pineapple rum!

Plantation pineapple DTO collage

The DTO – Daiquiri Time Out coin, a treasure/token that was handed out, and which a certain man did drop inside a cab and had the entire cab floor torn up to find it…wherewith the cab driver in utter amazement said that this gotta be a very valuable coin…..

But there’s more to the coin than just a token for the fun of it, according to what I’ve heard, navy officers carried a special coin. When drinking, everyone showed their crew coin. If one person did not have their coin, they had to buy a round of drinks. This gave value to the coin and the tradition.

Now I have one wish….that plantation rum makes more of this fine pineapple rum….I could make use of a bottle…launching a delicious rum like this only for the Tales is really a teaser…!

The Appleton Estate Jamaican Bartender’s Brunch – Rum, Reggae, Food, Sun and Fun!

Appleton brunch pool pic2

Oh my….this was a nice event! a yellow school bus fetching us up outside of Monteleone and serving cocktails on the way to the brunch filled with rum, reggae, Jamaican foods like jerked chicken, lots of fresh fruits and fresh cocktails, Jamaican fizzes, fixes & swizzles made with island flavors and fresh cane juice pressed on site.

And of course one of my favorite rums was there – the JWray overproof – paired with Sanpellegrino!! (to sub Ting) plus Aperol…all by the pool at the Country Club. Very very nice on a hot sunny summer day down here in New Orleans.

Appleton brunch 5 pic 2

Rum, fruits and fun in the sun!

Appleton Brunch collage 1

Of course some of the usual shady rum suspects were there….The first refreshment was freshly pressed sugarcane juice before continuing to the bar for rum punches and JWray….Appleton also treated us with large red Appleton bath towels and flip flops :-)

Appleton Brunch collage 3

Well….I wouldn’t mind repeating this….that’s for sure. Just look at that pineapple!

Appleton Brunch collage 2

Or how about this….I dunno….can it get any better??

Appleton Brunch Collage

Jerked chicken, Coladas and sugarcane juice!

Appleton Brunch collage 4

And time for a JWray shot from the melon….Appleton Rum baby! Please come back next year….

And now to something totally different…..

Ruth’s Chris & Bulleit New Fashioned 1965-Style Luncheon

Bulleit New Fashioned 2 small pic

Bulleit Distilling Co needs no presentation….and this year they had a similar brunch as they did last year which then, was mint julep themed and absolutely fabulous! This years theme was the New Fashioned, a riff on the Old Fashioned…with Bulleit rye, Cherry Heering, orange rind, Italian Amarena cherry, Fee Brother’s black walnut and orange bitters.

The brunch was of course delicious…catered by Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and if you haven’t tried their fantastic food it’s time you do if you have a chance. And the New Fashioned cocktail which will be served at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse was very tasty and the garnish was so beautiful with a shiny black “filthy Amarena cherry” from Filthy Food Premium Drink Garnish, speared on to a dehydrated orange slice.

The wild Amarena cherries are slow cooked in copper pots to produce a wonderful all natural, dark red cherry with a sweet front and tart finish.

Bulleit New Fashioned 1

Hollis Bulleit, Helen Mackey, VP of Menu Strategy & Innovation for Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Tom Bulleit, founder of Bulleit Distilling Company presenting the event and their companies, while the crowd enjoyed an excellent luncheon.

Bulleit New Fashioned 3 food

The Crawfish Monica that was served was fantastic! and everything else too!

Bulleit New Fashioned ingredients2

The ingredients to make the New Fashioned….the only thing not in the picture is the jar of “Filthy Amarena Cherries”.

Bulleit 2

I get thirsty when I see this drink in the picture….and the cocktail WAS good! for people in the US – you can join Ruth” s Chris Steakhouse for a nationwide 5-course handcrafted cocktail dinner with the same menu across the US, participating restaurants and pricing vary, see more at Chris Ruth’s Steakhouse website.

Pictures Laura Godel

Next up….more tastings, parties, bars and restaurants…the last picture parade from the tales of the Cocktail 2014!

 

MIXING WITH CHINOTTO

chino-bottles

I have written about it many times – how much i love San Pellegrinos amazing soft drinks containing fruit pulp, and one of my very beloved favorites among the San Pellegrinos is Chinotto. Its just awesome!

It’s a bitter citrus drink, it looks like a dark coca cola.Its made with a small bitter citrus fruit called Chinotto.(You pronounce it kinotto) The tree says to have originated in China and Chinotto is an essential flavor component of most Italian bitter liqueurs.

The non-alcoholic drink produced from the juice of the Chinotto tree – Citrus myrtifolia is called Chinotto and contains the juice from the tree plus other herbal extracts. The flavor is bitters-sweet, citrusy and well,very special almost a bit like Campari and Coke..or maybe rootbeer but it doesn´t taste like coke – more then like a cross between coke and herbal rootbeer.

I believe Chinotto is an aquired taste..just like so many others of the bitter Italian inventions –Campari, Fernet Branca etc.

There are many brands of Chinotto apart from San Pellegrino – Chinotto Neri (Italy), Fanta-Chinotto (by Coca-Cola and which i`ve heard isn`t very good) in Malta you can buy Kinnie, in Canada there`s a brand called Brio and there are many others.

I mixed Martin Miller´s gin and topped with Chinotto, stirred with ice and garnished with a orange wedge.It turned out very refreshing and tasty.

Another fine drink with Chinotto is mixing it with dark rum. Chinotto is sweetened with natural sugar and not high-fructose-corn-syrup so rum and Chinotto goes very well together and makes a sort of ”old fashioned” style rum and coke – even if its not coke at all.

A REAL SUMMER EVENING REFRESHNER:

GIN-CHINOTTO COCKTAIL

 gin-chinotto-2

1.5 oz Martin Miller´s Gin

Ice cubes

Top with San Pellegrino Chinotto

Orange wedge

Stir with ice and top with Chinotto, enjoy!

I also have to add this link because i found it quite amazing, you can make home-made sausages with chinotto too :-)

Have you tried Chinotto and how do you like it?

2-chino-bottles