Tales’ Photo Finish

By Dr. Bill Copen |

As always, the final two days of Tales of the  Cocktail provided a sensory overload of tastings, education, and old friends. The tributes to the late, great John Lermayer only intensified, Spirited Awards were dispensed with much aplomb, and the conference offered some of their most interesting seminars. Neat Pour‘s Dr. Bill Copen was there to the bitter end to document the excitement.

That hand belongs to Jocelyn Etherington, who is the owner of Wild Hibiscus Flower Co. She’s putting the finishing touches on a delicious cocktail that she made with her hibiscus syrup.

Heaven Hill’s National Brand Educator Lynn House lays out the basics of liqueurs at one of the popular 101 seminars.

The best part of the seminar: the tasting! Here, participants taste-tested several sweetening agents that can be used in producing liqueurs. The goal was to better appreciate the differences between the substances as well as the potential implications of those differences for creating liqueur-containing cocktails.

The Spirited Awards honored the industry’s best. Neat Pour even got a nod. (Congrats to Daily Beast on their win.)

Bittersweet moment: Sweet Liberty wins Best American Bar Team, an award the late Lermayer would have appreciated.

The crew from Reed’s Ginger Beer was neither dark nor stormy; to the contrary, the charming pair was all bright smiles.

Ian Burrell, one of the world’s top rum experts, hosts a 101 class focused on the basics. Here, he pictured breaking down the different categories of r(h)um.

From the “Future of Drink” session. Left: Ignacio de Juan-Creix, Right: Matías Sarlí, Middle: Volunteer from the audience, who experienced that cocktail in an immersive virtual reality environment, with moving abstract images and sounds. It seemed very intense. After he took off the goggles and described the experience a bit, he seemed legitimately moved. The volunteer said “it was the most emotional experience with a cocktail I’ve ever had.”

One of the many celebrations of John Lermayer’s life was a traditional New Orleans second line through the Marigny and French Quarter.

Indeed! Lermayer’s legacy was cemented at Tales 2018.

Génépi is still hot on the scene. Here, we see Golden Moon Distillery’s “Ex Gratia”.

Colin Asare-Appiah, Stephanie Simbo, and Caesario De-Medeiros (LtoR) discuss Africa’s burgeoning drinks scene. (We loved the complex cocktails from Mootee in Johannesburg.)

Guests at the “This Is Africa” tasted some unique ingredients like locust beans, ale bark (“ah-lay”), and this one: mopane (“moh-PAH-nay”) worms. 

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