Cheers to you Nola!

This really went away waaaay to fast! – already over?? but we just started didn`t we? Well that`s what happens when you have a good time! and in Nola its easy to let the good times roll..or laissez le bon temps rouler!

Tales of the Cocktail is over for now…I dunno how but it seems like this years Tales went faster than last year…

After missing Nola for too long – i could have kissed the ground when i landed..I have met both old and new friends, both from the city and from the whole world,  had many nice long walks, seen the oh so beautiful roseate spoonbill – aka “Evangeline Rose” and gators, (eaten them too – well not the spoonbill…) Been to the Museum of the American cocktail and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum.

Had freshly made juice from Louisiana watermelons fresh from the wayside stand, been to interesting seminars and many tastings, eaten the most fantastic food in the world (the charbroiled oysters are to die for and Jacque-Imos food too) seen breathtaking architecture and gardens, danced to great music and more.

Seen the most fantastic cypresses covered with spanish moss, had many good laughs, made new friends, eaten freshly boiled shrimps, and spicy crawfish..

Had many fantastic cocktails, been almost lost in Monteleones corridors which – really – is a part of Tales, investigated the 2nd floor of Muriel`s, tasted vintage rums, had muffaletta and gator on a stick, had 400 year glacier ice balls in my glass, waved my napkin in a second line, walked on the levee watching the river roll by, had fun in the mixohouse and no less – eaten Rick`s saschimi! had Trader Tiki`s tiki cocktails! Rumdoods Ti-Punch! Darcy`s phosphate cocktails! Cocktailnerd`s chartreuse swizzle! Jeffrey`s mesmerizing witchdoctor! and Meade`s awesome Mai Tai and Zaserac!

Been to Lauren Fleurtygirl`s new shop on opening day, eaten snoballs and onion rings, imbibed many many abitas..and much much more and i just LOVED that warm humid air…which tells you that you are in Louisiana..

And i know that everyone who were there have had as wonderful time as i did! Combine a place like Nola with an event like the Tales..= WIN

There you see! Nola is the most wonderful city in the world and Tales of the Cocktail the perfect event, i really recommend a trip down there..Its a place with its own culture, its own music, its own food, its own architecture – its a place like no other – believe me.

And the people in this city get out of their way to make you feel welcome! But Nola isn`t for everyone, its not a city for lukewarm people, you either love it or you just don´t get it.

One of the blogosphere`s awesome bloggers – Jesse Card over at St Croix Libation Society couldn`t have described the people of Nola better than this:

“As New Orleans tries to lick those wounds still evident from Katrina, there is an overwhelming sense of being among the people of the city. Sure, they’ve been beaten down and forgotten by the rest of the country, but there is no crisis of identity.

These people know who they are and are damn sure proud of it.”

The time at Tales and in Nola has all been AWESOME and i thank Nola and her wonderful people and all the good cocktail folks for that. Leaving Nola is always a terrible thing..and i even miss those cracked streets.


Nice in the heat…right outside our house in the corner Elysian/Burgundy or in front of  Maple Leaf.

For next years new Tales-to-be attendants and bloggers here`s some of the things that blogging the Tales of the Cocktail has taught me:

You can plan your sessions and need to do it! But be prepared for spontaneous changes and other unplanned happenings so leave room for that. (like getting drunk at bar Tonique)

Make sure to eat and drink ( which ain´t any problem in Nola..), always carry a bottle of water or two with you.

Take notes during the sessions, lots of them and lots of pictures.

Don`t stay in the French quarter – make sure you see more of the city.

Don´t drink everything that is handed to you just because its free, and always pace.

If you see a row of bloggers in the front row of a session passing bottles between them – pay no attention.

Find out early which one of the elevators on Monteleone that takes you to the top.

Don`t miss the tasting rooms.

If you`re a woman, bring a fan in your purse. If you`re a man, dunno…bring a fan?

Sleep is overrated during Tales, take a few days extra off instead when you come back home – you sure gonna need it.

If you see something and feel that you should buy it – buy it – but please – buy local.

Do not miss the music venues.

Bring enough business cards, you`ll meet a lot of interesting people.

If you happen to buy any beautiful Nola Fleur de Lis sculptures to take home, do not EVER place them in your hand luggage – especially not if you`re gonna go through Amsterdam security…i almost lost my connecetion because they thought the sculptures had “a weird shape” (!) and they did X-ray my entire content 4 times..i was the last person to board my flight..jeez..

That`s all folks!

Hopefully see yall again next year! until then i`m gonna add a new habit to my life – green magic chartreuse swizzles…spiked with strong rum.


See the musical shape of the shutter dogs? check out a violin for example and you`ll see the same shape. In the city of jazz even the shutter dogs are musical..


One of the things i loved the most – sitting on our porch with cocktail in hand in the sunset in the warm humid air listening to the orchestra of cikadas.




What happens when a 400 year old block of Alaskan glacier ice is shipped down to New Orleans and ends up in the Mixohouse?

Last year in the old Mixohouse on Rampart st one night someone drove a large cart containing a huge block of ice into our living room where the bar was. I looked at it pretty wide-eyed i believe and asked what is this??? and was told it was Alaskan glacier ice to go in our cocktails….Wait…old glacier ice shipped from Alaska all the way to Nola?? who on earth would come up with such an idea??

It turns out that Nathan has acces to a 400 year old glacier…and so also this year a block of that ice was brought to the Mixohouse in Nola..this time to be carved to ice balls by bartenders to go in our cocktails..pretty cool i think.


Sounds crazy? – it is…geeky? definetily – and awesome.

Most everybody is fascinated by the ice balls and how they are made and this event was no exception.

The room was packed when the carving begun and as the carving went on and new ice balls were formed  i saw a couple of  interviews being done and much people were around so you`ll most likely find articles about this event or the other house parties in various places. Ice balls were made until the blocks of ice were finished and the round glistening balls went into our glasses..magic.


One thing for sure, if you get such an ice ball in your glass – when the drink is done you refill and after the second drink is done – you eat it.

The taste? well…ice. Clean ice.

This was fun and quite exceptional – hope its repeated next year..



Living in a house full of bloggers assures many different things to happen, one was to drink chartreuse swizzles every night served in flower vases. The swizzles were made communal style, the vase was fit for 5-6 people and was passed around. One night when i was on my computer for a while it knocked on my door and in came a hand with a vase containing the famous swizzle – wanna swizzle? YES!!!

The contents also varied – depending on our mood and the contents in our bottles – sometimes JWray was added – guess who was responsable for that? and i ain`t gonna fight the additon of JWray in this drink. Othertimes various rums. So really how many variations of this swizzle i´ve had i have no idea but the original recipe is here. Another variation here. Please try it – its deliscious. I really like the idea of adding rum to it though.

The Mixohouse this year was much bigger than last year and nicely located near Frenchmen st with all the music venues like The spotted Cat, Blue Nile, Snug Harbour,The Apple Barrel, Cafe Negril and my favorite d.b.a. – where i almost lived.

Another thing i like about living in the Mixohouse is the idea itself – to live with friends in a house. You get that home feel and its really fun.







Love Love love Nola tiles..



Isn`t it amazing how fast the time flies during Tales? all of a sudden its all over…and you´re left full of impressions (and a tired liver)

This time i did go down to New Orleans a week before the Tales to get time to see friends and more of the city – and that was good. But i can assure you that for me i would have wished for much more time. There´s so much to do and see – and if you love the city and its people as much as i do well – i would live there if i could. Anyway, the things i´ve seen and done during these two weeks in Nola are as much as i would see and do in Stockholm in ten years.

Last year was my first Tales and the first time to blog it as well and i didn´t have a clue what to expect from it and quite wide-eyed i floated around. This year was different and i was better organized ( i hope) which made things much better. As always spontanious things happens which makes some of the planned sessions not to happen and other things to happen instead. Its wise to leave room for that because it will happen.

Every year you learn new things..

I`ve learnt that if you live with a bunch of bloggers in a house you`ll most likely try out chartreuse swizzles served in vases – they taste better that way.

I`ve leant that its important to try to get a place in or near the front row during sessions so you can see and hear as much as possible.

The heart of the bloggers also knows that – during the Tiki Now! session some of them occupied the whole right front row where they sat all logged in to the mixoloseum chatroom (!) while a bottle of  Laird´s bonded with a chaser of Amaretto was passed up and down the row..

Resulting in funny looks from the rest of the room..and TraderTiki seemed to have a bit of a problem to keep himself from laughing. I can assure you that the sight was hilarious, i don`t know why i didn`t get to take a picture as i sat right behind them, maybe because i was occupied drinking that amaretto..

I`ve learnt that i can take the Nola heat very well but too much A/C not so well.

I`ve learnt that Hubig`s pie is a little life saver and that if you happen to get an ice ball made from 400 year old Alaskan glacier ice in your old fashioned you eat it.

I`ve learnt how a REALLY great Sazerac tastes – as i`m an addict of Sazeracs i had many..they were all great but one stood out from the rest.

I´ve learnt that Abita is one of the tastiest beer in the world..well i knew that already..




The Tiki Now session was really good speaking about life and death of the tiki bars, the torchbearers, the revivalists, the new breed of tiki bars and how to roll your own. Served during the session was 3 tiki cocktails and one was particularly tasty. Made by Trader Tiki – containing smoked banana peel soda. Called Panah Manah – the recipe is here.

Did you know that  Smuggler´s Cove has 200 different rums? and that their drink menu features 28 rums?

Here`s what the panelists of Tiki Now recommends if you plan to set up your own tiki bar or home tiki bar – Great new (old) ingredients – like falernum, pimento or allspice dram, Smith&Cross rum (a fantastic Jamaican  rum – i will review it soon) Rhum JM agricole, Don Q Cristal, Abuelo 7, various syrups – get Trader Tiki`s they`re very good or if you live too far away and can`t – then make your own)

Crushed or shaved ice, fresh ingredients like fruits and juices, oils dripping from the fruit peels adds aromatics. Do research on Critiki – read what others have to say about the tiki bars.

To me it seems like the Tiki is getting more and more popular and also getting the respect it deserves. They asked at the session, why tiki? the answer is – its fun and deliscious! a tiki drink makes you smile.

Then, what is a tiki drink?  its an exotic faux polynesian drink (polynesian in style even though not polynesian) has interesting blends of rums and island spice (cinnamon, clove, ginger, mace)

Taste should be spicy, fresh and alive – use interesting rums, herbsaint, bitters, honey and spice. the key is balance and exotic.

Back in the days the names came from Polynesia but the flavors from the Caribbean.

The Tiki Now was presented by Trader Tiki, Martin Cate and James Teitelbaum.

AT FULL SAIL – Spirits at proof, navy strenth and overproof – and LET LEMON HART 151 COME BACK!!!


Starting the day with a session on full strength and overproof spirits was interesting.

The cocktails and samples served contained Plymouth Navy strength gin, Lemon Hart151, Black Tot rum, Laird`s Bonded and a single barrel cask strength 5 yr 121,8 proof bourbon.

There was a call out during this session, in case the producers were attending…and now  in case they read this blog i call out again -  LET LEMON HART 151 COME BACK!!!

Really, we NEED that rum! and we need it BADLY!

The thing about higher proof spirits is that its not really about higher proof – its about quality – it concentrates the flavors and a higher proof spirit like for example Rittenhause Bonded gives flavors that are sharp, snappy and beautiful. A rum punch and a Hurricane cocktail or the like without higher proof spirits turns out flat. But you must also know how to work with these spirits. Higher proof intensifies the fruit flavor for example.

I also learnt that the reason why an ice cube opens up the flavors of for example a whiskey is because it breaks down the molecules.

Wayne Curtis did a very interesting thing, he made a gunpowder test – which one did burn the best? LH151..


Here`s the recipe of one of the cocktails that was served during this session:


1.5 oz Laird`s bonded, 0.75 oz Carpano Antica, 0.125 oz Fernet, 0.125 oz Maraschino.

This session was held by Erik Seed, Audery Saunders, Wayne Curtis and brittt Chavanne.



Fried sweet potatos

This was a session by Darcy O`Neil from Art of Drink and what Darcy doesn´t know about umami isn´t worth knowing. Here we got a full lecture on the topic.

” In cocktails, cultivation of umami flavours has only begun, bacon flavoured bourbon being an early pioneer. However, there are many foods that include the glutamates responsible for the umami flavour, other than meat. Working with them can be tricky in cocktails, but not impossible. This session will focus on how to incorporate umami into cocktails.”

We learnt among many other things that umami is actually in your head because you taste with your brain and that umami is not like other tastes.

Umami has a significant interaction with aroma but acts on similar regions in the brain as sugar and activates a significant number of pleasure centers which means that umami plays an important role in flavour.

We don`t taste it directly – but umami enchances flavours and helps digestion.

You find lots of umami in oysters, tomatos, parmesan cheese, potato and sweet potato, mushrooms (especially dried) truffles, soy beans, green tea.

Nola food then is a mouthful of everything! no wonder we love it!


To incorporate umami in cocktails – avoid using it as a primary flavour and consider it complimentary.

Incorporate vegetal flavours.

Think about “satisfaction”

Keep your cocktails normal – but bring in some umami and see what happens..

I was supposed to attend a few more seminars but as i said – unexpected things happens that throws your plans away..



Tom Bulleits AMAZING cake with Cafe Brulot

There´s not only sessions at Tales, there´s also a lot of different dinners, events and tastings. I went to many tastings and among them was Sazerac products and Kahlùa – and i discovered to my joy that Rick over at Kaiserpenguin won the brunch cocktail contest with his very tasty cocktail Black Paloma..cheers and congrats Rick!

BLACK PALOMA is 1.5 parts Olemca Altos Plata Tequila, 1.5 parts Kahlua, 3/4 parts lime, 1/2 parts fresh grapefruit juice, 2 dashes of bitters, pinch salt, top with Club Soda.

Another very nice tasting was the Mezcal. I tried first the Ilegal mezcals which i already knew are awesome. Then further into the room was Ron with his Del Maguey mezcals. They have a new product out now called Vida. Its not a mezcal made for sipping but for mixing and it mixes well. A review will come up in a while.


We had several cocktail parties in our house – Bulleit Bourbon Exclusive, TraderTiki’s Syrups and Chambord, Four Roses and Tuaca.

Bulleit did not only sponsor our Mixoloseum bar they also sponsored a dinner for us at Antoines restaurant complete with cocktails, dinner, dessert and history tour including a peep at their wine cellar. It was all awesome and with their solid product and equallly solid bartenders (you see them in the picture with Tom Bulleit and his daughter Hollis Bulleit)  the cocktails were very very tasty.


Overall this Tales has been the best so far and this trip to Nola exceeded all my expectations in great measures. I can`t wait to go back! and i will miss Nola terribly until next time.

Do you know what it means…?



Next post -  ice carving and chartreuse swizzles in the Mixohouse.



Its nice to be here in the Crescent city a week before Tales kicks off and all the cocktail folks from around the world fly in, it gives me time to meet my friends here and to just go around and absorb this wonderful place – so full of beautiful and interesting things to see, great music, fantastic food and so much creativity! This city got SOUL!

Time flies here, its only gone 4 days and i`ve been all over the city and met my good friends, seen Paul Sanchez, Kermit Ruffins and John Bouttè. I`ve had boiled crawfish, gator and shrimp cheesecake, fried softshell crab, fried oysters, red beans, white beans, boiled gulf shrimp, blackened redfish, shrimp roll, heirloom tomatos, figs, corn and gator on a stick, and oh yeah…BEIGNETS..,Abita beers, Dixie, Sazeracs and much much more.

This is the city of food, drink and music but also of soul and creativity.




I have a friend  and his name is John and he twist steel into the most wonderful fleur-de-lis and hurricane sculptures and pendants. (I wear mine all the time) you can see his work here.

Now there`s a shop on Decatur st just opposite the Central Grocery (where you get the best muffalettas) called Crabnet and today we went in there to take a look at John`s big sculptures which i yet had to see.

These pieces are part of the Hurricane Katrina collection. After the Mississippi area was badly devastated by Katrina and he started to make these sculptures for the vicitms of the storm and the proceeds were donated to the Slidell Alumni Hurricane Relief Fund.

And to put things straight – Katrina was a natural disaster that devastated the Mississippi area but it wasn`t Katrina that caused the levee failure which caused 80% of New Orleans to be flooded. The levee failure was caused by the Army Corps of Engineers – who were found responsable for New Orleans flooding by a federal judge in 2008. Still 5 years later there hasn`t yet been any investigation done. So you know.

The Crabnet is at 925 Decatur Street in the Quarter, if you pass by, go in there and take a look at these wonderful pieces of twisted steel, hammered by hand. If you can´t go there, you can always get them from the website.



Tony took this awesome picture!

Another amazingly creative person here is Lauren, aka Fleurtygirl. She makes the most awesome Nola style T-shirts and these are really shirts with yatitude!

Among them is the Sazerac Tee made for the Tales. Recently due to the oil disaster (i refuse to call it “spill”) she made a “Rescue me” Tee in a collaborative effort with Audubon Institute’s Louisiana Marine Mammal & Sea Turtle Rescue Program (LMMSTRP) and 100% of the net proceeds goes straight to LMMSTRP.

It was so wonderful to see pics of the turtles that were saved due to the funding from this turtle shirt and know you were a part of it.


The famous Who Dat shirt -  a victim of many of the “disputed phrase” controversy that isn´t yet solved. I say Who Dat belongs to the people!

I got my turtle shirt earlier this spring and its the most soft and wonderful tee i´ve had (along with Fleurtygirls “I BeXLIeVed” ( I believed) Saints superbowl win tee..and i added the Treme and Sazerac Tees to my collection. The Sazerac shirt she made for the Tales of the Cocktail and can also be found in the Tales gift shop in Monteleone. The Treme Tee is made to help the rebuilding of a flood devastated home in Treme.

I was lucky enough to happen to be there when she opened her 2nd shop on 3029 Magazine st (the other shop is on 8611 Oak st). If you are around go and check it out, or visit her website.

These shirts are addictive!




Wonderful shrimps at Jacques-Imos

There`s a resataurant i want to recommend – Jacques-Imos. Its located uptown on 8324 Oak Street and only 3 doors away is the Maple Leaf bar where the Rebirth brass band plays on tuesdays. The food at Jacques-Imos is probably the best i`ve had here so far. The menu is very ecclectic with everything from an outstanding gator and shrimp  cheesecake appetizer to venison and a fantastic redfish. Their grilled shrimp is out of this world. The restaurant has tons of charm and character.



One of the best bars (and there`s many) here is the Cure which is located on 4905 Freret Street The cocktails are outstanding. One of the very nice cocktails we had was the Start and Finish containing Lillet blanc, absinthe, pernod, vermouth, averna, orange bitters and orange peel.



Who dat – two dat!



Here`s a Tales of the Cocktail seminar for everyone interested in Tiki!

“An investigation and analysis from the death of the Tiki Bar to the resurgence to the new trends emerging. ”

Do you wanna know what happened? and where Tiki stands today? have a few Tiki libations? then come over to this session and find out..there´s gonna be some exciting things happening for sure! i`ve also heard some rumours about smoked banana peels..

Moderated by our very own Trader Tiki aka Blair Reynolds..the man with the best syrups on the planet – will chronicle the growth of the Tiki resurgence and tell us how come non -Tiki bars like Death & Co and Naga Lounge has Tiki as a major menu component and other bars have Tiki nights.

Refreshing Tiki libations will be served and the ambiance as relaxed as should be.

The sessions is sponsored by Rhum J.M and Don Q.

Where and when?

Sat july 24. From 12.30pm to 2 pm.

The Queen Anne Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans

Read more here.

See you there!



Sip and Dream..

One of the seminars that interest me very much at this years Tales of the Cocktail is the Julep Story from 1488 to Present.

This seminar is held by spirits historians Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown who have traced the julep all the way back to the 15th century and also they are going to show us Julep recipes from London, Edinburgh, and Dublin that feature some amazing so called “lost” ingredients and we will be shown how the recipe was simplified to become the recipe we know today. That is something i didn`t know – that the recipe was simplified, so i`m looking forward to find out how.

The Mint Julep is such a quintessential southern cocktail with a very interesting history which I´m sure we will learn more about than we already know at this seminar.

Of course we will also drink Mint Juleps!

This session is moderated by Anistatia Miller, Jared Brown and Charles Vexenat.

To be held : Sat, 24 July 2010
Grand Ballroom North, The Royal Sonesta Hotel – for more info click here.