Aaaand here comes Tales!

Wow, July came early this year. One day I’m moseying through my day, putting the kids on the school bus in the morning and sitting down at my desk to wrangle with whatever mess of projects I was working on at the time, and then all of a sudden HOLY SHIT! It’s July, and we’re less than a week away from Tales of the Cocktail.

In case you’re coming to New Orleans this year — and even if you’re not, but are bored and just want to poke around on the Internet right now — here’s where you can find me:

  • On Thursday, July 9, from 10:30am – noon, I’ll be joining Haus Alpenz founder and all-around esoteric-booze madman Eric Seed and Nopa bar manager (and no-less an esoteric-booze madman) Neyah White for a wide-ranging, bare-knuckle debate about Vermouth & Aperitif Wine. Okay, it’ll actually be pretty mellow in all likelihood, and it’s a presentation rather than a debate, but how many times do you get the chance to put “bare-knuckle” and “vermouth” in the same sentence? Join us, and you’ll find out–
  • Thursday afternoon, from 4:30 (VIP arrival) to 7:30, I’ll be shaking up a mess of Dunniettes during the Cocktail Hour, which appears to be SOLD OUT. Get ’em while they last–
  • Friday afternoon, from 12:30pm – 2pm, I’m moderating another SOLD OUT event, “Using Blogs and Online Tools to Promote Your Bar, Brand or Career“. I’ll likely prattle about my fellow bloggers o’ the booze for a bit, as well as share some insights both from my role as a blogger and as a journalist who relies on blogs and tools like Facebook and Twitter to see what’s going on out there, but the real fun starts when the panelists step in: Robert Heugel, who blogs at Drink Dogma and recently opened Anvil Bar & Refuge in Houston, one of the most ambitious new craft-cocktail bars in the country; and Steve Raye, who heads Brand Action Team and is a marketing consultant to the drinks industry. Robert will talk about the world of blogging bartenders and how his blog became an effective tool in building and launching Anvil (among other things); and Steve, who actually studies this stuff for a living, will unleash a mighty flood of information about the marketing side of things that should help better explain the blog world for brand managers and other industry types looking to utilize this young resource. But before I move on, I thought maybe I’d utilize this online tool to ask: Are you coming to this session (or would you, if you were at Tales)? And if so, what kinds of topics would you like to see addressed by the panel? I’ll try to address a few of the suggestions during our Q&A. Drop a note in the comments or shoot me an e-mail at paul{at}cocktailchronicles{dot}com. And in case you saw earlier coverage of this event, yes, Jeff Morgenthaler was originally on the panel, but he had to drop off when he realized it conflicted with his back-waxing appointment, or his audition as a Xante spokesmodel, or something like that — I’m hazy on the details.
  • Immediately after that panel, until about 2:30, I’ll be in the Monteleone lobby, signing newly released reprints of Cocktails: How to Mix Them, by Robert Vermiere, published by Mud Puddle Books and including an introduction by … well, me, of course — why the hell else would I be standing there in the lobby?
  • Friday evening, I’ll have my ass handed to me several times over by some of the top bartenders in the field as I participate in the On the Fly Competition. Why Morgenthaler, who’s emceeing the event, invited me to compete is a mystery to me, unless he anticipated my back-waxing and pull-my-finger comments and wanted to get back at me somehow. Regardless, I’ll be up against powerhouse bartenders including Neyah White, Eric Alperin, Misty Kalkofen, Todd Thrasher, Michael Glassberg and Giuseppe Gonzalez, plus David Wondrich just so I can’t take the “but I’m a writer, I don’t know what I’m doing” path. For extra humiliation, I’ll not only prepare my drink against these bartenders in public, but serve it to a team of judges that includes Dale DeGroff, Tony Abou-Ganim, Francesco Lafranconi, Bridget Albert, Xavier Herit and Antoine Gervais. I’d invite you to come watch me be shamed in public, but alas this event also appears to be SOLD OUT. That’s just great.

In between times, I’ll be downing Sazeracs and Pimms Cups, along with a muffaletta or two and a couple of more ambitious meals around town. Be sure to keep track of the whole boozy bliggety-blog gang over at Tales Blog while Tales is underway, and if you’re in New Orleans next week, I’ll see you soon.

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