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Tales of the Camera

By Dr. Bill Copen

Tales of the Cocktail 2015 kicked off on Wednesday (7.15) aty the Hotel Monteleone. The day featured dancing, speakers, and lots of drinks. From the opening toast to Danny Meyers' keynote to the late night parties, NoDef was there to capture all of the fun. Click on through for photos.


Royal Street was temporarily closed on Wednesday afternoon, and a crowd gathered to for Tales’ traditional opening toast.

On the steps of the Hotel Monteleone, Tales co-founders Ann and Paul Tuennerman (left) joined 2015 Tales ambassadors Jeff “Beachbum” Berry and Annene Kaye (right) of New Orleans tiki mecca Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29, officially kicking off Tales 2015.

The toast was followed by an open-air dance party, with music and dancing courtesy of Defend the Daiquiri.

Meanwhile, inside the Monteleone and the Royal Sonesta, the serious business of booze education was underway, in the various seminars that form the core of Tales of the Cocktail. In one seminar, entitled “Anatomy of agave: Seductive succulent,” world-renowned Tequila experts Tomas Estes (shown here) and Ivan Saldaña Oyarzábal reviewed the unique biochemical, geographical, cultural, and historical factors that enable the expression of a vast variety of flavors in distilled agave spirits, the best known of which are Tequila and Mezcal. Seminar participants tasted samples illustrating the various stages of agave spirit production.

In another seminar, called “For peat’s sake: A study of smoke,” London bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana (left) and whiskey expert Dave Broom (right) covered the range of flavors that smoke can bring to distilled spirits, and approaches to incorporating smoky spirits into mixed drinks.

For the first time this year, Tales featured a keynote speaker: restaurateur Danny Meyer, CEO of New York’s Union Square Hospitality Group. In an informal on-stage interview with Tales co-founder Paul Tuennerman (right), Meyer (left) related his philosophy of hospitality to a rapt audience of bartenders, bar owners, and other industry professionals.

When the events of Tales’ first day were finally over, participants let loose and enjoyed the sounds of Rebirth Brass Band, at the official opening party, held at Chicory in the Warehouse District.


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