A voyage comes to an end. Vessel will be closing for the final time this week. Vessel has been my school, my inspiration, my anchor for the last few years. It’s where I was able to really start learning the craft of bartending. I shook my first Ramos Gin Fizz and stirred my first Sazerac for someone who was paying for it for the first time there. Without Vessel and the family that came together there I would not have my life as it is today.
Category Archives: Booze
Tales of the Cocktail 2010 Day Four. Dear, sweet, baton twirling, Lucifer, we’re still here. This morning began much more smoothly than the last one. Back on the routine of hitting the media lounge for coffee and breakfast and the first hit of booze before hitting the first class of the day for me. Rolling out the Red Carpet for Rookies led by Michael Dietsch, Robert Hess, and Adam Lantheaume was a really well put together discussion on how to engage and draw in new customers and fellow bartenders into this thing that we do without seeming like a bunch of jerkholes. After all, it’s all too easy to start expounding, and saying I don’t want to make that, and going ewww, that stuff is gross. Not everyone is looking for a didactic experience when they come into a bar.
I love sharing with a guest anything they might want to know that I can provide, but that’s not the end all and be all of why you came into a bar. You came for a drink, a bit of escape maybe, a pause from the day, who knows, but you probably didn’t come to hear me wax poetic about the virtues of rhum agricole, but if you did I’m happy to oblige.
Then, to more tasting rooms, Mt Gay Rum, Laird’s, Brandies of Jerez, and Sazerac, a serious gauntlet to run through in the short time available before the next class. In a completely predictable move, the next class for me is Tiki Now!. Much tiki was talked and consumed, chatter on Twitter by attendees, bets placed on how many time Bair Reynolds would plug his own Trader Tiki products, and at one point a shoutout to yours truly for my night of completing Rumbustion Level One in a single sitting.
After class, I contemplate the Pig and Punch fundraiser but I have another class soon so instead it’s a quick run to Parkway Tavern and Bakery for po’ boys and fries covered in debris. Fries covered in debris is one of the most glorious things ever, consider this, a big heap of well executed fries, crisp and hot, then smothered in the gravy that roast beef was braised in, within that gravy is a ton of bits of that self same roast beef. The juices permeate the fries, making a big soggy, delicious mess, with cheese curds on top melting in and binding it together, poutine should die of envy. All of this attention to the fries does a disservice to the po’ boys – quite probably the best ones in New Orleans in my limited experience. After lunch it’s back to the Monteleone for more classes. Continue reading
Tales of the Cocktail 2010 Day Three, at least I’m pretty sure it’s day three. It’s starting to blur together. This morning is my turn to be a bit lost to the world. I am in a bit of a towel induced fugue, I miss a tasting room or two, maybe it was three, who knows anymore. I slowly pry myself out of bed and sit in the shower for a good 15 minutes, very thankful that I have a stock of water, Gatorade, and 5-Hour Energy in my room. I fortify myself, grab a slug of rum and then make my way to Antoine’s for a lunch hosted by Bulleit Bourbon. Into my haze comes the bright whirlwind of awesome called Hollis Bulleit. Remember the song Jump in the Line made famous by Harry Belafonte in Bettlejuice? She’s definitely a hurricane in all kinds of weather, she sweeps into a room and instantly the energy level is turned up to eleven.
Tales of the Cocktail Day 2, we embrace the asylum. On this day, some of the first time attendees and a few of the less well prepared are starting to look a bit worn. No matter how many stories you tell and how much you try and get everyone who will be attending to train and prepare their bodies for the marathon, a few will choose to sprint headlong into the maelstrom. There’s not a whole lot you can do for them besides make sure they have energy drinks and painkillers close at hand the next day. For many attendees, there is a day lost to the Tales flu, you burrow into your bed, lounge by the pool, drink cheap beer and sugary slushy drinks, this is also known as a day in the life of Jeffrey Morgenthaler.
Another morning for me, and my roommate is still feeling a bit under the weather. Once again my day starts in the caffeinated and breakfast provided media and sponsor lounge. As always there’s also more booze, it’s the default state of just about everything this week. Seriously, thank Todd for this room, it is my anchor and bedrock this week. It provides a routine stop in my day that I can cling to. As the week goes on, I can see my compatriots in the room get a bit more haggard each day, as I’m sure I look increasingly worn as well. This morning brings such mundane tasks as offloading pictures from your camera and uploading the to the internets, well, actually first comes about 15 minutes of swearing at the craptacular wireless internet service provided banging your head against the wall of the connecting to the network and hoping it actually works for once. Continue reading