This is the first post from Misty Kalkofen, a bartender at Green Street in Cambridge, Mass., and a founder and blogger at LUPEC-Boston.
As owner of Haus Alpenz, Eric Seed is responsible for the smiles adorning the faces of many cocktail aficionados. It started with Seed’s personal search for a spirit the importer fell in love with while living in Austria. His stateside search was fruitless, but through discussions with bar and restaurant professionals he learned he was not alone in his unrequited love affair. Seed’s recognition of the unmet needs for specialty spirits and classic cocktail ingredients for industry professionals and spirits enthusiasts resulted in Haus Alpenz, an importing business that has made it possible for cocktail fans across the states to have a supply of such tasty treats as Rothman and Winter Crème de Violette, Batavia Arrack van Oosten, and St Elizabeth Allspice Dram. Seed’s passion for spirits is apparent to any who have met him, so it is no surprise that he has a full schedule at Tales of the Cocktail 2008.
On Friday, July 18th Mr. Seed will be leading Amore Amari: A Very Bitter History of Bitter Spirits in Aperitif Service and Cocktails. With the help of fellow panelists Toby Cecchini, Dan Hyatt, LeNell Smothers and Stephen Berg, Mr Seed will discuss the traditions of the bitter spirits that cause our mouths to water and prepare us to take on a big meal. The session will also include a comparison tasting of bitters from various countries and regions.
Saturday, July 19th sees Eric Seed joining LeNell Smothers at the helm of Cracking the Egg: The Tradition, Challenges and Potential of Eggs in Cocktails. Starting with a look at eggs in classic favorites such as the Ramos Gin Fizz, Seed and Smothers will move into the use of egg in current cocktail culture. Discussions will include how to incorporate egg cocktails into high volume programs and issues regarding the handling of eggs and food safety.
[Ed. note: We'll be posting more details on both of these sessions in coming weeks.]
Now anyone who knows me is well aware of my love for the bitter spirits and egg cocktails. You can frequently find me sipping Campari on the rocks and every Easter I happily torture myself and some willing guest bartender to a night of shaking up nothing but egg cocktails. So I thought that surely nothing could excite me more than what I had already heard. I was definitely mistaken.
Earlier this year many of us watched as Christie’s held an auction of rare whiskies, including a bottle of straight rye whiskey made at the Mount Vernon distillery using George Washington’s recipe. Most states still prohibit the auction of spirits, a holdover from that pesky Prohibition. With help from the folks at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) spirits auctions are now legally allowed in Louisiana and Tales of the Cocktail 2008 will host the first. The Tales of the Cocktail silent spirits auction will feature antique and out-of-market spirits with all proceeds benefiting the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society. The New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society is the non-profit organization that annually produces Tales of the Cocktail. This organization works to preserve the rich and unique history of the restaurants and bars of New Orleans through educating locals, visitors and hospitality professionals. Seed says they hope to have a mix of “pre-Prohibition gems to more familiar rarities” across a wide range of prices. Keep checking back as I will post additional information about the spirits auction as it becomes available, including the request for tax-deductible donations.
All of these events take place at the Hotel Monteleone; tickets are available here.