Category Archives: New Orleans

Tales of the Cocktail 2010 Day Five – Make it Stop!

Tales of the Cocktail 2010 Day Five, please make it stop.  Today, I go home. but not before one more round of booze breakfast, tasting rooms, classes, a last ride at The Carousel, and a run to Cochon Butcher.  Seriously, who the hell invented mornings?  They need to be wrung through one of those ridiculous mangling machines you see in the movies, you know, the ones with flamethrowers, pneumatic crushy things, rollers with spikes, giant swinging scythes, and probably sharks with frickin’ lasers.  I need this booze in my coffee like I need another hole in the head, but, but you don’t see it stopping me, or anyone else here.

Today’s class is on how to use social media to build and manage your brand, whether that’s your bar, spirit, or yourself. Yes, I said yourself.  I know that it sounds like the height of pretension, ego-tripping, and douche-baggery to say that you need to manage yourself as a brand.  The reality is that in today’s connected world where we keep up with each other via Facebook and Twitter, we have a closer connection to each other and give credence to an establishment, brand, or service based on what we know of each other and the reputations that we have built for ourselves.  Like it or not, once having achieved a certain level of visibility we are brands unto ourselves, and like any other brand, you want to safeguard your image.

This is not to say that we should overly spin ourselves, you’ll just as quickly get called out for peddling bullshit.  It’s also easy to see when someone is overly managing their online persona.  I can understand needing multiple personae, but the one that’s supposed to be you, if it’s over managed, it just rings false and you better believe people can tell.  Anyways, that’s the practical stuff.   Remember when you were in grade school and you and all those around you were passing notes around?  Yeah, via the magic of Twitter, that’s what part of this session devolved into.  It was like we were all in 2nd grade again offering up a real time peanut gallery that we could all take part in.  Props to Paul Clarke and Lindsey Johnson taking it all in stride and making it a part of the class.  Oh, and there was booze, duh. Continue reading

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Tales of the Cocktail 2010 Day Four – Energizer Bunny, Still Going

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.TOTC10 233 Continue reading

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Tales of the Cocktail 2010 Day Three – We’re Still Here

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.

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Tales of the Cocktail 2010 – Day 2, More Crazy

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

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Tales of the Cocktail Day 1 – More beginnier

It begins even more.  Tales of the Cocktail Day One, the mayhem officially starts.  Shenanigans have been going on now for at least 24 hours, but according to the calendar, this is the first real day of the conference.  Classes begin this day and the kick off parties are scheduled for the afternoon and evening.  Now begins the real agony of deciding where to go.  Time conflicts abound and more booze than a Drunken Army can imbibe begins to flow.

How many ways can you split yourself and where’s the good swag?  Can you squeeze multiple tasting rooms, seminars, meals, and events into the same time slot?  How far away is that next thing you want to do?  Actually, where in seven hells is it?  Am I properly libated to make it there?  Oh man, I want to make sure we get a drink together!  What?  You’re going where for lunch?  I wonder if I blow this off, can I make it back in time for my next seminar?  That’s the general thought process that runs through your head in between every single block of seminars and tasting rooms.    Plans change, spontaneous things happen, and yet, sometimes you need to be disciplined and head to your damn class.

This was one of the best lineups of classes I’ve seen at Tales.  There were actually more classes I wanted to go to than I had slots in my days.  This is a great thing, while you may be disappointed or annoyed that you can’t attend everything you would want to, it just means that there are a lot of things worth going to.  Hopefully you’ll get a chance to go to them next year, so deal with it.  Here, have another pull off my flask.

This day began in the best way possible as far as I was concerned, and the worst way possible for my roommate.  Jim Romdall was struck down by the hand of god and laid out in a feverish state.  The previous night, there was a strange overlap of groups.  A church group was on its last night in New Orleans , being wholesome, fighting malaria, and who knows what else.  Probably, a hymn was sung or something.    Jim took it upon himself to heckle the churchy types and for his blasphemy was stricken with a nasty cold.  Myself, I went off to the Dos Maderas Rum Tasting Room.  Tried some delicious rum, snagged a few minis, a cigar, drank some more rum, and then went off to breakfast.

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