Home » Tales of the Cocktail 2011, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Tales of the Cocktail 2011, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

by Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta
Ann Tuennerman, Joe Fee - TOC 2011 - Photo by Luxury Experience
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Edward Nesta and The Deep Eddy Girls at TOC 2011 - Photo by Luxury ExperienceTales of the Cocktail, founded by Ann R. Tuennerman, and held in New Orleans, Louisiana, is one of the best ways to learn about the fine art and history of cocktails. Now in its 9th year, Tales of the Cocktail is an annual tradition and attracts bartenders, industry professionals, and consumers from around the world who come for the multi-day spirits industry conference.

Founded in 2003, Luxury Experience has been attending Tales of the Cocktail since 2004 and every year it gets bigger, and better. We went to Tales of the Cocktail 2011 from July 20 – 24, and attended diverse educational seminars given by industry professionals, were Guest Bar Chefs at a Spirited Dinner® at Coquette Bistro Wine Bar, went to special breakfasts, brunches, and lunches, celebrated at evening parties, and experienced new-to-market and yet to hit the US market products.

Joe Fee and Ann R. Tuennerman founder of
Tales of the Cocktail

We also had the chance to connect with old friends and interact with new ones including top international bartenders and like-minded folk, which is what has made Tales of the Cocktail one of the fastest growing and hottest spirits industry events to attend.

The Parties

The Beefeater Gin Welcome Masquerade Ball got the party started for the Tales of the Cocktail 2011. We dressed in black and white, walked the Red Carpet at Gallier Hall, which was the former City Hall, and is an impressive building built in the Greek revival architectural style between the years 1845 – 1853.

We donned our fun masquerade masks to get into the spirit, drank great cocktails created by a host of celebrity bartenders, enjoyed the music and the entertainment, and caught up to celebrate with old and new friends.

Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta - Beefeaters Masquerade Party at Tales of the Cocktail - Photo by Luxury Experience
Debra and Edward at
The Beefeater Gin Welcome Masquerade Ball

Later that evening, we attended the William Grant & Sons’ Swinging ‘40s Shore Leave Ball at The National World War II Museum where guests donned sailor hats, we posed for photos with the Sailor Jerry girls in their 40s attire, and "crossed the border" posing for photos with bottles of Milagro Tequila.

William Grant & Sons - Swinging 40s Shore Leave Ball - Photo by Luxury Experience
PARTY! at WW2 Museum 

Of course, there were delicious cocktails, created by celebrity bartenders dressed in 40s inspired costumes including "Rosie the Riveter" girls.

Rosie the Riverers Bartenders at Swinging '40s Shore Leave Ball - TOC 2011 - Photo by Luxury Experience
"Rosie the Riveter" Bartenders 

The National World War II Museum exhibits and the Museum Store are open seven days a week from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. Admission is charged. There are varying prices for Museum only, Theatre only, and Museum and Theatre. Prices listed are for Museum only. Check their website for all prices. Adults: $19.00, Seniors: $15.00, Children: 5-12: $9.00, Children under 5: Free, Student w/ID: $9.00, Military w/ ID: $9.00, Military in Uniform: Free, WW2 Veterans: Free.

The National World War II Museum, New Orleans, LAThe National World War II Museum
945 Magazine Street (Entrance on Andrew Higgins Drive)
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
United States
Telephone:      +1-504-528-1944
Fax:                 +1-504-527-6088
Website:         www.NationalWW2Museum.org

We "discovered" Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse owned by Grammy-Award Winning Jazz Musician and Cultural Ambassador of the City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana, trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, during a Tales of the Cocktail party hosted by Benedictine and B & B Liqueur where we listened to great Jazz and sampled delectable cocktails made with both of those tasty spirits.

Musicians at Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Club at Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans, LA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Musicians at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse

Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse is an intimate club with excellent live Jazz, well-made cocktails and is located at the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street.

Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse shows start at 8:00 pm. There is no cover charge. Check their website for performance schedules: www.Sonesta.com/RoyalNewOrleans.

Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Club at Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans, LA Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse
300 Bourbon Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
Telephone:        +1-504-586-0300

The Seminars

Tales of the Cocktail offers diverse seminars over the course of the multi-day conference to appeal to both the enthusiast as well as the spirits professional. Whether you want to learn the latest trends, how to run your own establishment, garner information on cocktail and spirits history, or have the ability to experience rare or unique spirits; the seminars are a wonderful way to increase your knowledge.

Rum aficionados that we are, we attended Edward Hamilton’s seminar, "6 Rums You’ll Probably Never Taste Again" where he took us a palatable journey around the Caribbean basin tasting exceptional products that the distillers usually keep for themselves.

Edward Nesta, Phil Pritchard, Edward Hamilton at 6 Rums You'll Probably Never Taste Again - TOC 2011 - Photo by Luxury Experience
Edward Nesta, Phil Pritchard, Ed Hamilton

We were able to experience Pritchard’s Rum from Kelso, Tennessee, Botran Rum from Guatemala, Flor de Caña Rum from Nicaragua, Abúelo Rum from Panama, Santa Teresa Rum from Venezuela, and Neisson Rhum from Martinique. 

As we also appreciate excellent whiskeys, we attended the Irish Whiskey Legends seminar lead by Paul Pacult, with panelists John Cashman, John Ross, and Liam Donegan. Where else but in New Orleans during Taste of the Cocktail would be learning about, and tasting six whiskeys at 10:00 am in the pursuit of continuing our whiskey education? 

Debra Argen, Paul Pacult, Liam Donegan, John Cashman, John Ross - Irish Whiskey Legends - TOC 2011 - Photo by Luxury Experience
Paul Pacult, Liam Donegan, Debra Argen,
John Ross, and John Cashman

We had the opportunity to learn about and experience Tulleymore Dew, Grenore Eight, Tulleymore 12, Red Breast 15 year, Jameson 18, and Connamara Cask Strength

Breakfast, Brunch, Lunches, and a Spirited Dinner®, too!


Pisco for breakfast? When Pisco Portón from Peru sent out its Wake-Up Call to join them for breakfast at the Hotel Monteleone, we readily agreed to have the opportunity to meet Master Distiller Johnny Schuler, and taste their product. Tales of the Cocktail is about spirits education, no matter what the hour. Pisco knowledge, cocktails, a nice breakfast, and chair massages, provided the perfect start to our day.


Another "discovery" that we made was the introduction to The Bombay Club, Restaurant and Martini Bistro thanks to a Tales of the Cocktail Brunch for Purity Vodka from Sweden, where the drinks were cold and the Jazz was hot. 

Debra Argen making Infused Purity Vodka Martini - Photo by Luxury Experience
Debra Mixing a Cocktail with Purity Vodka  

The intimate club and restaurant features live Jazz, well-crafted cocktails presented in gorgeous vintage glassware by their talented bartender, Cheryl Charming aka "Miss Charming." The club also has an interesting cocktail menu that Cheryl created that highlights the history of Martinis and cocktails from the 1860s to present day. Reading and drinking were never as interesting!

Cheryl Charming 'Miss Charming' - THe Bombay Club - Photo by Luxury Experience
"Miss Charming"  

We met with the Master Blender Thomas Kuuttanen of Purity Vodka, made our own infused vodka cocktails, and enjoyed a nice brunch.

Edward F. Nesta and Master Blender Thomase Kuuttanen of Purity Vodka - Photo by Luxury Experience
Edward and Master Blender Thomas Kuuttanen 

Although it is located one and a half blocks off Bourbon Street, The Bombay Club is a quiet enclave with a clubby ambience that feels far removed from the hectic circus atmosphere of Bourbon Street.

The Bombay Club, Restaurant and Martini Bistro is open during the fall, winter, and summer from Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 5:00 pm until 12 midnight. Jackets are preferred for gentlemen; dress casual is accepted. 

Check their website for performance schedules and their menu: www.TheBombayClub.com 

The Bombay Club, New Orleans, LA, USAThe Bombay Club, Restaurant and Martini Bistro
830 Conti Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70112
United States
Telephone:       +1-504-586-0972
Toll-free:          +1-800-699-7711
Website:           www.TheBombayClub.com


We also enjoyed "getting to know" the Cognac Ferrand line of products with Master Distiller Alexandre Gabriel at a luncheon held at the historic 125-year old Hotel Monteleone located in the French Quarter.

We joined the "Revolution" with a welcome luncheon for Samogon, a base spirit that is like an unaged "brandy" from Russia and met the Distiller, Valerly Stepanovich at the Vieux Carre Room at the Hotel Monteleone.

Sean Kenyon mixing with Samogon - TOC 2011 - Photo by Luxury Experience
Sean Kenyon Mixing Cocktails with Samogon 

Opening up the leather gift case, we found three glasses and learned about the interesting tradition of "Tret’im budesh" pronounced tray-tem boo-rish. "In the old days of the Soviet Union, a bottle of spirits cost about three rubles. Though times were difficult, usually everyone had at least one ruble, so when two friends wanted to buy a bottle they would look for a third person to share the price, asking "Tret’im Budesh?" or "Would you be our third?" Though it costs more than three rubles for a bottle of spirits today, the tradition of tret’im budesh is still alive and it was the inspiration for this gift of three shot glasses. So, find your third and share a bottle of our traditional SAMOGON."

Spirited Dinner

Coquette Bistro Wine Bar located in the Garden District is a gem of a restaurant housed in a building from the late 1880s with a historic bar, exposed brick walls, and interesting paintings that opened in 2008. Chef/Owner Michael Stoltzfus. is the creative talent in the kitchen where he focuses on American food using local and seasonal ingredients and changes the menu daily. Professional service, a diverse wine list, and a creative cocktail menu complete the experience.

Chef Michae Stoltfus and team of Couquette Bistro Wine Bar - New Orleans, LA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Chef Michael Stoltzfus 

Luxury Experience’s Edward F. Nesta and Debra C. Argen were the Guest Bar Chefs for the six-course cocktail pairing Spirited Dinner® at Coquette Bistro Wine Bar, held as part of Tales of the Cocktail.

Edward F. Nesta and Debra C. Argen - Guest Bar Chefs at Coquette Bistro Wine Bar, New Orleans, LA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Guest Bar Chefs Edward and Debra  

One of the highlights of the dinner was the Lamb Loin with honey lavender vinaigrette, pickled ramps, local greens paired with the cocktail, Getting to Know You, made with Leblon Cachaça, rosemary vinegar, Fee Brothers Lavender Water, and honey water. Another highlight was the Oyster Stew with squash blossom, fennel, artichokes, and fresh chorizo paired with the cocktail, Flattery Will Get You Everywhere, made with Mount Gay Rum infused with fennel, Galliano, clam juice, and light cream. 

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere Cocktail - Coquette Bistro Wine Bar, New Orleans, LA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Flattery Will Get You Everywhere Cocktail 

Coquette Bistro Wine Bar serves dinner daily from 5:30 pm until 10:00 pm, and lunch Wednesday through Saturday from 11:30 am until 3:00 pm.

Read about Coquette Bistro Wine Bar in the Restaurants section.

Read the Chefs’ Recipes section where Chef Michael Stoltzfus shares his recipe for Lamb Loin with honey lavender vinaigrette, pickled ramps, and local greens

Read the Liquor Cabinet section where Guest Bar Chef Edward F. Nesta and Guest Bar Chef Debra C. Argen share the cocktail recipes from the Spirited Dinner® at Coquette Bistro Wine Bar.

Coquette Bistro Wine Bar, New Orleans, LA
Coquette Bistro Wine Bar
2800 Magazine Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70115
United States
Telephone:        +1-504-265-0421

Tasting Rooms

The Tasting Rooms are another great way to learn about spirits products from Master Distillers and Brand Ambassadors in a more intimate, and informal setting.

We had the opportunity to sample Deep Eddy Vodka Handmade Spirits, went to the Botron Rum Tiki Lounge party, and experienced Don Q Tequila, all at the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

Edward Nesta with The Deep Eddy Girls - TOC , New Orleans, LA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Edward and The Deep Eddy Girls

Mobile Tasting

Leblon Cachaça brought tasting to Rue Royal with their distinctive green "Caipi-Mobile" parked in front of the Hotel Monteleone where they handed out delectable and refreshing fruit sorbets laced with Leblon Cachaça. We returned daily to sample their exotic flavors. What a great way to beat the heat!

Jamie Keller of Leblon Cachaca, New Orleans, LA - Photo by Luxury Experience
Jamie Keller of Leblon Cachaça 

The Official Cocktail Recipes for Tales of the Cocktail 2011

Every year spirits professional compete for the opportunity to have their cocktail chosen as the Official Cocktail.

This year, the official cocktail was the Rangoon Gin Fizz created by Eric Simpkins of Door 44 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The official alcohol-removed cocktail was Fre® Thyme created by Natalie Bovis of The Liquid Muse. Congratulations to Eric and Natalie! Cheers!

Rangoon Gin Fizz
Created by Eric Simpkins of Door 44 in Atlanta, Georgia


Old Raj Gin Blue Label
Lime Juice
Simple Syrup
Heavy Cream
Cardamom Tincture
Fee Brothers Jasmine Water
Egg White
Fever Tree Bitter Lemon Tonic

Method: Ice a tall Collins glass. Combine ingredients excepting tonic and absinthe in a small cocktail tin. Remove ice from Collins glass, swirl with absinthe and discard excess; add tonic to glass. Ice the shaker and shake vigorously to chill. Strain into Collins glass (no ice) through a fine strainer. Slide tall thin straw through center of foam and serve.

Fre® Thyme
Created by Natalie Bovis, The Liquid Muse


Blood Orange Juice
The Liquid Muse Thyme Syrup*
Fre® Alcohol Removed Brut Sparkling Wine

The Liquid Muse Thyme Syrup

Organic Thyme Leaves

Method: Bring the above ingredients to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Double-strain into a glass bottle. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks. Combine blood orange juice and syrup in a champagne glass, top with sparkling wine and serve.

We thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of Tales of the Cocktail 2011, and once again, we left New Orleans with the song, "Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans" playing in our heads.

We look forward to attending and celebrating Tales of the Cocktail’s 10th anniversary, which will be held in New Orleans from July 25 – 29, 2012.

For information on Tales of the Cocktail, please visit their website: www.TalesoftheCocktail.com.

Tales of the Cocktail, New Orleans, LATales of the Cocktail
538 Louisa Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70117
United States  
Telephone:      +1-504-948-0511

Read more about Tales and the Cocktail and New Orleans in the Destinations, Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs’ Recipes, Liquor Cabinet, and Music Scene sections.

New Orleans CVB - New Orleans, LA, USAFor information on New Orleans, please visit: www.NewOrleansCVB.com

© October 2011. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com. All rights reserved.

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