Monday, August 8, 2016

The Reyka Vending Machine - Tales of the Cocktail

It's been a few weeks since Tales of the Cocktail - the booze industry's largest, booziest, and sweatiest cocktail convention.  Tales is one of my favorite weeks of the year, and it is always filled with friends new and old, new products, epic parties, and more delicious drinks than one can count.  It's always hot, exhausting, exhilarating, and more than anything, inspiring.

There is always one thing that pulls at my heart strings - and this year it was the Reyka Vending Machine, a late night event hosted in the lobby of the Hotel Monteleone. 

This isn't just *any* vending machine - it's a magical vending machine that spits out Cocktail Shakers, Bottles of Icelandic Bitters, T-Shirts, Wooly Hats, Slices of Pizza, Fried Chicken Sandwiches, Enormous Swedish Sour Fish, and more.  It's one of the most hilarious branded events I've ever seen - lighthearted and fun

One can credit all the fun to Trevor Schneider, the US Reyka Vodka Ambassador who has boundless energy at every event.  He's fucking incredible.

Trevor In A Rare Moment of Zen - Photo by Alain Hain
When Trevor is on, he is ON.  He's jumping around, dancing, juggling ice balls - he is the party. 

The Reyka Vending Machine starts out as a brilliant idea, but Trevor brings it to life. 

The vending machine's wood token is a meagre toll for transport into his world - you are suddenly a player in his theater.  One by one, people are chosen for their turn at the machine, to take their chance for a prize. 

It was late, and I was hoping for Pizza. 

When I was selected I hinted (loudly) to Trevor (and to the man behind the curtain - er plastic vending machine front) that I would love a slice of pizza.  Instead, Trevor fed me his slice of pizza.  Whatta gent!

Photo by Alain Hain
I dropped my token into the machine and selected a button identified in Icelandic.  (Spoiler alert - I don't speak Icelandic).  I might as well have pressed "Chicken Fried Rice" or "Pickled Herring" I have no idea.

Photo by Alain Hain
What emerged out of the machine to my surprise and delight was a Crystal Ball - and I was whisked off to the middle of the lobby where a table was set up and a "Fortune Teller" (read, actor - or perhaps just a poor bartender eager to make a buck) read my future.  Again, I hinted (loudly) that I might become a multi-millionaire, but instead he told me that the next day I would have an excruciating hangover.  More Pizza Please.

Photo by Alain Hain
On I went into the swirls of the night, clenching my Crystal Ball and my heart full of gratitude that for just a moment, I too could be part of the show. 

The Crystal Ball has found a home on my altar of collected treasures from this crazy booze blogging adventure.  It's surrounded by shiny pineapples, cacti, flasks, telescopes, bottle openers, and vintage cocktail shakers.  I'm sure they make my husband crazy, but every day they remind me of why this community matters, and how this blog has given me a way to meet amazing people and to see the planet.  More than anything, all my chotchkies are reminders of the creativity and the magic that fills the spirits industry, and that I am lucky to be a part of it.

William Grant & Sons sponsored my trip to Tales of The Cocktail.  Thank you for helping a girl out.  All opinions are 100% mine.
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