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Vol. 7, No. 9 | Tales of the Cocktail
I’ve just recovered. Actually, I’m not sure if I’ve fully recovered. I was in New Orleans during the last week of July for Tales of the Cocktail, an annual weeklong event for beverage industry professionals. If you’ve never heard of Tales, just close your eyes and picture New Orleans…then add 15,000 bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts…then add every major liquor brand…and combine that with about 75 events every day…for a week. It’s exhilarating and overwhelming all at once.
These were my takeaways:
I don’t need alcohol for a long time. I honestly drank very little, but just being around that much alcohol and partying was enough for me to give up drinking this month. At this point, plastic cups are triggering.
I tried to get Willie Mae’s fried chicken on my second to last day and even though the restaurant was open for another 30 minutes, they couldn’t take any more orders because they only had enough to fulfill the orders they’d already taken. Apparently, the person that seasons the chicken had already left for the day. I appreciate their commitment to quality, but I’m also a little concerned about what happens if this person can’t make it to work one day.
Whoever is seasoning the chicken though is doing an amazing job. We had an incredible St~Germain event earlier that week that showcased the longstanding black bars in the city and the rich culture that they provided and we served Willie Mae’s fried chicken. I had a piece and I was mind blown. I still maintain that Jamaican fried chicken is the best in the world, but in these United States, there’s nothing better than Willie Mae’s.
At an event early in the week, I met this guy and after finding out that I was from Atlanta, he decided to spring into his dating story from when he visited Atlanta the previous week. He started off by asking me what was wrong with women in Atlanta. He said he met this woman online and invited her on a hike. She blasted him for being cheap and not knowing how to plan a date. During his protest to me, he said he was baffled because her profile said she liked the outdoors. I chuckled as I thought to myself, “Sir, I can’t answer what’s wrong with women in Atlanta, but that is hilarious…Your point is valid, but it’s also a little shady that you went to Atlanta for one week and hopped on a dating app….You’ve also just creeped up on at least three women here…I also don’t care about any of this…Please leave me alone so that I can sip my whisky and eat my bread pudding in peace…Ahhh, why are you following me?!?
I’ve been to New Orleans a couple of times before so I’m not sure how I missed that on every street corner you can find bread pudding. I LOVE bread pudding and I needed to know this fact so that I could have stored up some extra willpower. Fortunately, I was too busy to eat this at every meal.
The bar industry is one of the most fascinating industries that you can work in It wasn’t always as diverse as it is becoming now and this was a consistent theme of the week. This was my first Tales, but apparently, the 200 or so BIPOC faces that were streaming into different rooms during the week was a drastic increase from previous years. I’m grateful for all the people that fought really hard to change the industry. I understand that my approach to diversity is a bit more utopian and idealistic, but I also understand that if it wasn’t for the people before me, I wouldn’t be able to stand in the rooms that I now can and have a different perspective and approach.
There is power in community…and hugs.
Hope you’re all doing well!