The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2011

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Page 92 of 124

SPECIAL REPORT: TALES OF THE COCKTAIL 2011 The Big Easy T Our Week in by Camper English / photos by Jenn Farrington THIS YEAR'S TALES WAS BIGGER AND BETTER THAN EVER his year at Tales of the Cocktail we saw larger, more creative events, seminar topics on smaller subjects, increased involvement of small-city bartenders and a growing international attendance. While seminars in years past have featured some general topics in spirits and bartending, this year was all about the nitty-gritty, perhaps echoing the increasing level of knowledge of the bartender attendees at Tales in general. Several sessions focused on specific cocktails, with speakers taking on the history and variations of the Negroni, the Mai Tai, the swizzle, the gin and tonic and the julep. When history was the session topic, speakers chose very specific slivers of it, looking at the Dutch East India Company's role in drinks, Colonial American drinks that aren't punch and the history of cocktail glassware. Even flavor pairings were pinpointed: One tasting room served only cocktails with whisky and tea together. Obscure ingredients were also emphasized in seminars, including vinegar, stevia sweetener, savory ingredients and flavored waters. One seminar examined the influence of wood on aging spirits and another one discussed barrel-aged cocktails. A further two seminars addressed various ways to run a large ice program in a cocktail bar. This year's Tales featured the world's largest Negroni—more than 30 gallons—served from a tank carved from ice. 92 / the tasting panel / september 201 1

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