TALES OF THE COCKTAIL 2011 – part 2 – Swizzling Around the World

Mahalo Nui Loa Cocktail

It`s inevitable to miss a whole bunch of both seminars and other events during Tales since there´s so much going on at the same time but the good thing is that there´s more than enough for everyone.

My next seminar after the Six Rums and the iconic Negroni was Stanislav Vadrnas Swizzling Around the World here and Now seminar.

Bois lele swizzle stick from Martinique

Wooden swizzle sticks from Guyana and 5070 Swizzle

Starting with a bit of an odd;-.) discussion to explain the meaning of the italian term Sprezzatura which the way i understand it is about doing things naturally and with grace in such a way that it`s done with a certain nonchalance. (With a lot of training behind of course)

Then the audience had to stand up. Be prepared for a certain element of surprise when you attend seminars by Stan  Now some of us had to switch seats with others on the other side of the room And then when you think that this was done, we had to stand up again and now switch seat to sit beside our closest neighbour who we didn´t already know.

So we were getting to know each other better! and come closer so we could later on perform the swizzling of the 151 swizzle all at the same time with aloha – you can´t get aloha unless there´s some unity….

The meaning of the word aloha, or Alo-HA means breath of life, unconditional love, outpouring and receiving of spirits,  kindness, hospitality and spirituality.

And exchange breath of life we also did…we turned to our closest unknown neighbour, put our hands on each others shoulders , forehead to forehead and look into the eyes and say “Aloha” and exchange breath..

And then the swizzle seminar begun…

With the history of the swizzle and the swizzle sticks used – for example the wooden stick from Martinique – bois lele. We also got a wooden swizzle stick, very similar to the bois lele but from Guyana – what a nice treasure!

To my great surprise i learnt that the Slovakians made a swizzle stick called Habarka which was made of the Christmas tree! it looked like a thicker and more clumsy version of the bois lele. These swizzle sticks has been used all over the world in various fashions to swizzle up soups and etc in cooking.

It was in the Caribbean that the way of making mixed alcoholic drinks with a swizzle stick was invented.

We also learnt that the mythical Trinidad green swizzle from cirka 1925 most likely was made of something called carypton which is said to have given the drink it´s green color and then rum, lime and sugar. Carypton was a product made by Angostura before Prohibition and seems to be a very high alcoholic falernum type of thing.

The first of the drinks we were served was Martin Cate´s 2070 swizzle which is one of those drinks typically Martin to come up with…he is a drink genius.

Then followed a drink called Ushua ia – 15ml citrus 81:1 lemon/lime) 15 ml ginger liqueur, 1o ml vanuilla syrup, 5 ml simple syrup, 2 dash chocolate bitters and 45 ml genever gin – this is what my hard to read notes says.

Third drink – Mahalo Nui Loa – 15 ml lime, 2 dash chocolate bitters, 30 ml pineapple juice, 30 ml Rhum JM. (Which JM my notes doesn´t say…)

151 people swizzling the 151 swizzle…buzzz…

My 151 swizzle!

And then the finale – as it was written – 151 bartenders to swizzle the 151 swizzle with Lemon Hart 151 with Aloha Here and Now” – and so we got to work, that`s why we got those cool wooden swizzle sticks from Guyana.

The room swizzled and then we imbibed…a little bit more enlightened than before about the history of the swizzles, the sticks, the technique, the drinks, the aloha, sprezzatura and the here and now.

And who wouldn´t enjoy a 151 swizzle with Lemon Hart 151 on a thursday afternoon?

This was part two from the Tales of the Cocktail 2011, part three soon to come.

Stanislav Vadrna

TALES OF THE COCKTAIL 2011 – part 1 – Toast, Rum and Negroni

Saintsations and Young Pinstripe Brassband to kick off the Taless 2011 toast.

Brassbands…some of the best music you can hear.

The yearly toast to kick off Tales started with music and dance by the Young Pinstripe Brassband and the Saintsations! and as a huge Saints fan i was very happy to see them! And then followed the toast to Tales to honor the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society and the Sazerac Seal of Approval winners.

The 2011 Sazerac Seal of Approval recipients are Sylvain, Napoleon House, Tujague’s, Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House, Dominique’s and Loa in the International House hotel.

This was followed by the the world´s largest Genever slurp toast -  the Bols Genever Kopstootje (pronounced kop-stow-tjuh) represents the original Dutch ritual of a beer paired with a Bols Genever shot.

So the street was set with long tables with shots, a Bols t-shirt and a cold beer and everybody who did get a space did the slurp together. Those who didn´t get a space (me for example) since the street was completely packed did get the beer and  t-shirt.

The calm before the storm..

People wanna do the Kopstootje slurp!

And slurp!

So with this Tales was on!

The first seminar i went to was not surprisingly a seminar about rum. “6 Rums You Will Probably Never taste Again” led by Ed Hamilton from Ministry of Rum.


Six very special rums is what we got to hear about and taste and these six were rums from Prichard`s Рbarrel aged (Tennessee), Botran Reserva and Solera 1893 (Guatemala) Flor de Cana (Nicaragua) Abuelo Centuria (Panama) Santa Teresa Bodega Privada selection (Venezuela) Neisson R̩serve Sp̩cial (Martinique)

Ed showed us pictures from the distilleries and told the story about these rums. These were all very good rums, i specifically liked Abuelo Centuria and Neisson Réserve Spécial.

Taste is personal…but here´s a little about how i found these six rums:

Prichard`s – barrel aged – fruity, a bit oaky and vanilla.

Botran Reserva and Solera 1893 – sweet, a little oak,  fruity and caramel

Flor de Cana, from a barrel sample that was put aside for Ed – lots of depth,  this was unfiltered rum right out of the barrel. Woody, oak, much complexity and long finish. each sip was full of flavor.

Abuelo Centuria – The only one of these six that has been commercially bottled and fetch a price of USD 136. It´s a blend of rums, where the oldest rumis over 130 years old.

Very tasty and fullbodied, sweet, round, sugarcane, excellent rum.

Santa Teresa – As part of their Bodega Privada selection, the Santa Teresa sells a blend of aged rums to those who want their own rum which is stored in casks at the Santa Teresa warehouse until it is bottled for the owner.

This sample belons to an anonymous friend in the industry. The oldest rum in the blend is 12 years. A quite light rum with flavors of vanilla and oak.

Neisson (1993) – 18 yo, a bit higher proof. Rhum agricole made from sugarcane juice. Excellent, dry, rich and aromatic, very flavorful – superb.

That was a rum filled and interesting seminar with some good rum samples to enjoy!

Next seminar was all about the Negroni.


I went to this session because i`m a lover of the Negroni and of Campasri and so this was a must. We got the history of the Negroni told with some very interesting photos to see from the old days in italy.

This seminar was moderated by Paul Clarke and the panelists were Jacques Bezuidenhout, and Livio Lauro

The Negroni – both a perfect and icoic cocktail, fresh and vibrant with a deep and true history which you`ll soon be able to read in a new book that is coming out.

The book is written by Kuca Picchi and is called “The true Story of the Negroni Cocktail” and if you´re interested you can send an e-mail to – Negronibook@gmail.com for further info and to reserve a copy.

The Negroni originates from the italian coffeeshops and the aperitivo is a way to keep italians from going home…and the ritual started in Turin, Florens and Florens or Firenze is the capital of the Negroni.

We tasted 3 different Negronis, one classic, a Negroni Swizzle and one carbonated. What vermouth adds to a cocktail is both sweetness and acidity and bitters adds some spice and fun! The appeal of the Negroni is that it uses bitters, speaks of it`s place (Italy) and is a very special cocktail!

There was actually much more Negroni to come during this Tales…

There was also the Negroni with a Twist Party with the World’s largest Negroni cocktail ever made at the Sonesta and a more packed room than that one i have never seen before, i tweeted “How much people can they possibly fit into a room”??????

It was almost impossible to move…much less balancing two cocktails and a plate of food….seems like most everybody wanted a taste of the world´s biggest Negroni…which was served from a huge ice block. Well, huge crowds is very much a part of the Tales…

The recipe included Campari, Beefeater 24 London Dry Gin and M&R Sweet Vermouth. Also other twists of the Negroni was served made with talian brands such as Luxardo, Aperol and Mionetto Prosecco.



To go with the Negroni cocktails was served crispy grissini sticks, strawberries with balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese and some very fat yummy green olives.

The third Negroni event was a Negroni toast hosted by Campari to celebrate the nominees of this year’s Annual Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award and Negroni´s was served in the Monteleone lobby.

This was all  for now – part two from Tales is soon to be posted. I apologize for being late with my posts but i just came back to Sweden after almost a month in New Orleans.

Next up are the sessions about the Mai Tai, the 151 Swizzling around the World, Vanilla and Agave spirits followed by part 2 about some good Nola food.