Tales of the Cocktail 2012

Here we go again.

I’m off this Sunday to the magical city of New Orleans to participate in the 10th Anniversary of Tales of the Cocktail. For those of you who have yet to hear of this wonderful event, here’s a quick summary:

“Tales of the Cocktail® is the world’s premier cocktail festival, bringing together the most respected minds on mixology for five days of cocktails, cuisine and culture. Held annually in New Orleans, this international event has something for cocktail professionals and enthusiasts alike with a spirited schedule of seminars, dinners, competitions and tasting rooms where brands showcase their latest products.” (from www.talesofthecocktail.com)

Sounds like everything a guy like me could want in a week. For the second time in New Orleans (4th time when you count the TOTC on Tour in Vancouver) I’ll be working as a Cocktail Apprentice, which is a bit hard to describe other than we make a lot of drinks for a lot of people:

“The Apprentice Program was established in 2008 as the method of supporting the Tales educational seminars cocktail making needs. Now grown to over 50 members each year, the CAP team makes batched cocktails for over 75 events in four days each with 100 to 1000 attendees. The team has become an integral part in supporting not only the seminars but many of the other events held throughout the week.

“Apprentices are chosen from around the globe based on applications submitted via the Tales website usually about 6 months prior to the event. Applications are reviewed by the 6 members of the CAP leadership team in two rounds, the first blind to names & identity revealing information. While we do suggest you be a working bartender with some level of experience, there are no specific qualifications or keys to entry. A team of approximately 50 with varied backgrounds is chosen in order to build a well rounded team dynamic. This teamwork is a key focus and critical component of the CAP culture.” (from www.talesofthecocktail.com)

The result is a ragtag group of individuals who come together as strangers and end up closer than family. From the past two years of working with this wonderful organization I have been in contact with my CAP brethren on an almost daily basis, exchanging stories, memories, ideas, successes and yes, even failures & struggles. This whole process is built around teamwork and camaraderie and a mutual passion for hard work and cocktail culture. I have never before experienced a selection process that can start from blind reads of hundreds of applications to get down to 50 of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with. HR departments all over the world could learn a thing or two from Mrs. Cocktail, Deragon and the Elf.

Oh, that camaraderie I mentioned? It may have something to do with this:

As I type this, my ipod countdown app has me at just over 67 hours until I touch down in NOLA. The Facebook group is going nuts and the anticipation is driving us all to have a drink.

Here’s the seminars I’ll be working & directly involved with:

The Ups & Downs of Running Multiple Venues

The Rise of High Proof Spirits

Reconsidering the Gin & Tonic

Smoke & Spice – The Classic Malts of Scotland Meet the Creoles of New Orleans

New World Vermouth

Beertails: The Most Chemically Complex Cocktails

There are about 30 Canadians heading that way also, to both participate in the madness and also present seminars. I’m looking forward to seeing them all down there and sharing experiences.

For those that cannot make it, I’m going to try and live-tweet and blog as much as possible over the next week. Expect a highly filtered version of my day-to-day to arrive at whatever time I can sneak out of Absinth House or Erin Rose.



  • pablopicante

    i believe you mean “Erin Rose” Trevor. 😉

    hope you had a blast in your second year!