TOTC 2015 – Events, Competitions and Tastings!

It`s fun at the Tales! so many tastings, so much to try and so many events and parties…..well you can only do so much…..and you will STILL be uber busy…. 🙂 When I try to remember all the things that we did it all get`s a bit confusing, but here are as a sort of Tales wrap-up of a couple of the fun things we did:

angostura cocktail challenge finals

House of Angostura Brand Ambassador, the one and only, Daniyel Jones, picture Laura Godel.

House of Angostura Cocktail Challenge Finals at the House of Blues!

Angostura collage

This was a great event and with great food! The House of Angostura always takes well care of you….and this time we got to make our own roast-beef poboys…. 🙂 how cool is that!? then try and vote for the contestants drinks. My favorite drink was the Trinidad Cobbler made by Elizabeth Michiewicz and she also won! see her beautiful winning cocktail here and get the recipe to both the cobbler and her other drink, “The Lost Days”!

The House of Angostura also won the Spirited Awards cathegory for Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient!! with their latest product the Amaro di Angostura! a product I have tried and reviewed earlier and it`s such a nice product, congrats! well deserved!

Angostura Pool Party

Angostura also had a pool party -“Orange is the new Black” but we did not manage to get there early unfortunately…and that was a bummer because I really wanted to get me on of those gorgous bath towels….oh well… and the place was so packed you could barely walk…..

And then they also had a tasting which I sadly missed because I was at a seminar….that`s the problem, there`s many things that happens at the same time…and sometimes it´s damn near impossible to pick or make it in time…

Tiki Titans at the Cane and Table

cane and table jet pilot

Cane & Table Featuring Flor De Cana

The Dynamic Duo so powerful they sprouted a third head! Get ready for a night of rum-filled misadventures when three modern masters of the exotic cocktail pour their takes on three vintage drinks from the big three: Donn Beach, Trader Vic, and Steve Crane!

With a little help from our friends at Flor De Cana, you’ll find respite from the NOLA heat inside the historic confines of Decatur Street’s own Cane & Table.

Sip on refreshing rummy libations lovingly served by Nick Detrich (co-owner, Cane & Table, bartender, and affable ginger), Paul McGee (co-owner Lost Lake Chicago, bartender, and beard connoisseur), and Martin Cate (owner Smuggler’s Cove San Francisco, plays a bartender at Tales).

The seductive sounds of bongo drums and electric drink mixers will guide you to safe haven in our rum-filled port! Come thirsty!

The Dynamic Duo`s were back this year again!

Cane and table collage

It was hot and yes we were thirsty………

Cane and table collage 2

The Lost Lake and the Jet pilot!

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Brought to us by these hard working guys!

Bulleit Family Affair Presented by Bulleit Bourbon

Bulleit fam affair

Every year the Bulleit family presents a lavish tasting or dinner at the Tales and this year was no exception, the Bulleit tastings are simply NOT to miss! not only is this a nice bourbon (and rye) but it`s also a very nice family; they are really nice people.

This year they caught me by surprise though…because they had King Cake!! I didn`t expect that at all….not in the middle of the summer! but when I think about it, I remeber last year, they had Crawfish Monica….so obviously they are trying to pamper us with some of the best of the out of season things you can get here! 🙂

And did I enjoy!

But it was not just the King Cake and the grits and the everything else you could eat, it was also great cocktails served and not the least, nice people and a good time to be had!

Bulleit King Cake

Bulleit King Cake…

Bulleit King Cake coll 2

….and more King Cake…where else can you get both king cake and cheese grits on the same freakin`plate?! only at the Tales! and it made a fab breakfast 🙂

Plantation Stiggin`s Fancy Pineapple rum!

More nice tastings….refreshing cocktails from Rhum Barbancourt and then of course, the famous Stiggin`s Fancy! all these tastings everywhere….it`s one of the best things I think! that and meeting all the people but of course also the seminars.

plantation stiggins tasting 2

And not only did I see a whole lotta pineapples at the Stiggin`s tasting but I also met a real pineapple man!! ;-D I don`t know how he does it…but Rocky is everywhere!

An interesting take on the Mai Tai was also presented –  the “Mai Oh Mai Stiggins Fancy” based on the Trader Vic`s recipe but with a twist, containing Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple rum, fresh lime, Ferrand Dry Curacao, salted macadamia nut syrup, and Fee`s barrel aged Whiskey bitters and then garnished with such a thing as a savory blue cheese stuffed olive!

Plantation Stiggins tasting

The elusive Stiggin`s Fancy, the Plantation Pineapple rum that tastes like a dream!

Rhum Barbancourt

Quickly we passed Rhum Barbancourt`s tasting on our way to a seminar…..but we tried a a cocktail with Rhum Barbancourt and the Pango. It was very nicely set up with beautiful tropical decor but too little time……

Barbancourt 12

Rhum Barbancourt and Pango.

Barbancourt

TOTC 2015 – Jamaicas Influence on Cocktail Culture and Flor de Cana Tasting

RUM SEMINAR IAN BURRELL

Jamaicas Influence on Cocktail Culture

Jamaica, that tiny island in the Caribbean is internationally known for it’s cultural exports such as Bob Marley, Reggae, Usain Bolt, Herbs* and even Bob-sleighing, but it has also influenced some famous cocktails with it’s biggest and most re-known of exports… RUM. Global Rum Ambassador, Ian Burrell brings to life some of the historical Jamaican stories with a few samples of new & world exclusive rums & cocktails for you to taste as you learn what influence Jamaica has had on cocktail culture. Yeah Mon
* You know what herbs I’m talking about.

There are more things than we maybe think about that has Jamaica as it´s homeland and that has been and is influencing the cocktail world. This senminar was moderated by the Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell and the speakers were George Freegard (International Brands Manager, Pusser’s rum Ltd) David Morrisson (Appleton Estate’s Senior Blender) and Erik Seed (Principal, Haus Alpenz)

Here are a few things that are genuinely Jamaican and which have had a great influence on cocktail culture:

Ian Burrell

Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador.

Jamaican quassia bark: is actually a very important part of vermouth, did you know?

Ting: Who haven`t heard or tasted JWray and Ting? if not you`re missing out….and need to try! Ting, this Jamaican grapefruit beverage containing real grapefruit is the best in the world and traditionally paired with JWray overproof rum for an extremely refreshing, tasty and potent drink.

Allspice/Pimento – How many tiki and tropical drinks doesn`t contain a dash or two of pimento dram? for example the Nui Nui and the Navy Grog. Also used in jerk recipes.

Sorrel – (Hibiscus) usd in for example Rum Punches and other cocktails and is traditionally used in Christmas drinks with (or without) rum.

Flor de Jamaica – also Hibiscus, used in tea and as cocktail ingredient.

Ginger: Came to Jamaica in 1525 and is in Jamaica also known as “jake”. The prohibition brought arise in soft drinks containing ginger but also abuse of ginger essence. Also in Jamaica ginger beer is a common drink, both homemade and commercial varietes.

flu cocktail

Jamaican Rum – Did you know that 69 of Jerry Thomas cocktails were punches and 35 of them called for Jamaican rum?

Many of Don the Beachcomber`s drinks were inspired by his trips to Jamaica and Jamaican rums were used because of their depth and flavor.

Jamaican rum was first used by the Royal Navy in 1655 and Pusser`s Rum by the original navy recipe was based Jamaican rum but as Jamaican rum became more expensive other English colonial rums were used in the navy blend. Today Pusser`s does not contain any Jamaican rum but instead are blends from 5 different stills located in Guyana and Trinidad.

Smith & Cross is another flavorful pungent Jamaican rum and is a blend of Plummer and Wedderburn styles and is from the Hampden Estate and is blended in the UK,

Appleton Reserve is a blend of 18 different rums and is estate blended, it`s made from pot and column stills at 43%.

During this seminar we also tasted a special Appleton estate blend that was made for Tales of the Cocktail in only 6 bottles. The youngest rum in the blend was 12 years old and some of the rums are rums never to be tasted again. The rum was very deep and flavorful.

Also during this seminar we got a great rum lecture by Richard Seale from Foursquare telling us some truths about rums and to sum it all up in a short note –  fake rums contains rum flavors that are added, are not aged, wood essense is used and sugar and coloring added.

It`s called flavored alcohol and it is not rum.

Personally I think these 3 questions would be good to ask yourself before buying rum:

1 – which is the actual distillery? 2 – how long has the rum been aged? 3 – is there any additives?

And of course you won`t get all that information on the bottle label or company websites of most rums but you can start doing some research….just make sure that you know what you pay for, make sure it´s real rum and not flavored alcohol.

Flor de Cana Tasting

FLOR DE CANA TASTING 3

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America. Bordering Honduras to the South and Costa Rica to the North, Nicaragua’s land is a volcanic, the air is humid and the conditions to produce rum: perfect!

Come taste the range of Flor de Caña rums, from Nicaragua, presented neat as well as in delicious cocktails created by some of the best and most exciting bartenders of our generation:

Each cocktail station will represent one aspect of Flor de Caña’s production and heritage to ensure that you leave this Tasting Room knowing more about Flor de Caña than you did when you entered. Calling all bartenders – come and learn!

Dating back to 1890 at the San Antonio Sugar Mill, in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua, Flor de Caña has grown to be Central America’s leading brand of rum and I like this rum, it`s a great mixer for awesome cocktails and at this tasting we also got to try the Family Reserve Rum…..

FLOR DE CANA TASTING 11

The Flor de Cana tasting was one my favorite tastings, much due to the amazing tropical cocktails and lovely tropical decor…providing much inspiration for a tiki geek like me….

And then they had cocktails…   very beautiful and tasty cocktails….   look and see….

This was a tropical feast!!

Flor de Cana cocktail The Gold Coast

Very fruity refreshing tropical cocktails….perfect for the Flor de Cana rum which just was perfectly mellow and added a wonderful rum flavor to these drinks.

Flor de cana cocktail 2

And the next one was even tastier, it was wonder of fresh flavors with a house made plantain syrup adding depth and complexity, I really loved that one and with the rum coming through just nicely, rimmed with coffee sea salt! and garnished with banana mint – this cocktail was wow!!

flor de caca cocktail 1

The plantain syrup interested me and i`m gonna try to make that myself, it was so tasty.

FLOR DE CANA TASTING 6

I love banana leaves and bananas! as much as I love the pineapple almost……and oh….the coconut!

flor de cana collage.

Tropical fruity and spicy flavors works so good with this rum!

flor de cana collage3

The Ponche de Cristobal had a little bit more of a fresh herbal character, also very good, it had some sort of different complexity probably due to the tea and herbs.

FLOR DE CANA TASTING 16

Another nice drink!

FLOR DE CANA TASTING 15

Photos Laura Godel and me