Whisky Magazine Issue 84
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Liza Weisstuch heads out to New Orleans to see what's mixing at the moment.
If you want to be in the presence of countless world class athletes, you work your connections and book yourself a ticket to the Olympic Games. If you want to be surrounded by the film industry's glitterati, you show up in Cannes in May, or scoot to Utah in January for Sundance. Art hounds can make a sport of spotting the Next Big Thing by globetrotting from Venice Biennale to Art Basels around the world.
If, however, you want to be amid the planet's preeminent mixologists, master distillers, bar owners, and the cocktail cognoscenti who love them, you head to New Orleans for five sweltering summer days.
At the seventh annual Tales of the Cocktail this past July, you only had to take a saunter through the Carousel Bar (yes, it actually spins – albeit at a snail's pace) at the Hotel Monteleone, the event's headquarters, to hear impromptu conversations about long-lost gin styles that are making a comeback, debates over what sweetener works best when making vermouth, or heated discussions that break down the merits of different shaking techniques. And those are just the casual encounters.
The five days are jam-packed with seminars and tasting rooms where attendees can try products old and soon-to-come, often poured by the distillers. And you can forget what's been famously said about New York, New Orleans is actually the city that doesn't sleep, which affords lengthy stretches of spirit-soaked time to catch up with mixologists from around the world.
Several sessions this ye...