Friday, July 31, 2015

Pernod Welcome Party - Tales of the Cocktail 2015

For a cocktailing lady such as myself, no other events in the imbiber's annual calendar are as highly anticipated as Tales of the Cocktail - the debaucherous week dedicated to all things boozy, hosted in the original city of sin, New Orleans.  Tales offers something for everyone: seminars, tasting rooms, lunches, extravagant dinners, and legendary parties.  One of the most talked about parties is always the Pernod Ricard Welcome Party, an event never to be missed.

Traditionally, the welcome party is dedicated to Absolut Vodka, but this year the party featured the entire Pernod Ricard portfolio, giving opportunities for imbibers to sample cocktails ranging from Sazeracs to Frozen Negronis.  This year's welcome party had another noticeable change - a move away from batched cocktails (other than the frozen daiquiris) and towards cocktails hand-prepared by notable bartenders from all over the world. 

Frozen Daiquiris!
Speaking of Frozen Negronis, one of my favorite bars of the party was the Frozen Daiquiri Bar that was filled with delicious craft cocktails, but frozen and extra refreshing.  The featured cocktails included White Russians (yum), Green Beasts (one of my favorites from previous years at Tales of the Cocktail), Irish Coffee (for those needing a jolt), and the legendary Beefeater Negroni.  There is nothing and I mean -nothing- more refreshing than a frozen daiquiri in a New Orleans summer.  I tried them all, I tried a suicide (all flavors mixed together), but settled on the Irish Coffee for my favorite of the evening.  Yum.

Adrienne Stillman of Dipsology and her Suicide Daiquiri
Another of my favorite bars was the Ramos Gin Fizz Assembly Line where bartenders shook and passed Ramos Fizzes while chatting with guests.  The fizzies were fluffy and silky after so much shaking, and I'm sure there were a few sore arms the next day....

Ramos Gin Fizz Assembly Line
Altos Tequila Pirata de Natchez cocktails made with Pineapple, lime, Mexican Spices, and Negra Modelo were a refreshing yet spicy pick me up, followed by Lot 40 Sazeracs prepared by the ever lovely Lynnette Marrero and Frankie Marshall.  I've been on the Canadian Whiskey bandwagon for a while now, so I'll spare you the monologue, BUT for those of you who haven't yet seen the light about the deliciousness of Canadian Whiskey - be convinced.

Altos Tequila - El Pirata de Natchez
Lynnette Marrero & Lot 40
Lot 40 Sazerac
Onward to the Absolut Room where there was a giant dance party, photobooths, and of course, giant Absolut bottles covered in Mardi Gras beads.  There was also a tasting of Oak by Absolut - the new product from Absolut - an aged vodka that is oak forward, and has some interesting mixing potential. 

Mardi Gras Absolut Bottles

Another of my favorite cocktails from the evening was the Martell Cognac Crusta prepared by Chris McMillian and Dave Wondrich.  A beautiful hand-crafted cocktail complete with that addictive sugar rim.  

Martell Cognac Crusta

Perhaps the highlight of the night (other than catching up with friends and drinking delicious cocktails) was the performance by the Rebirth Brass Band in the Jameson Room.  Sadly, I didn't get any notable photos, so i leave you with this, my favorite Rebirth Brass Band song - Casanova

The night rolled on (and so did I) to enjoy many other cocktails.  I did make it to bed (eventually) and what an amazing bed it was.  Behold:

The Ritz!
Now the waiting begins - the countdown to TOTC 2016 and next year's Welcome Party!  I'm craving a Frozen Daiquiri already!

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