Heather Gregg of Tikimama.com is an enthusiastic enjoyer of cocktails from Portland, Oregon. She is a big fan of bartenders and never wants to be one.
Or, how to enjoy the event your partner dragged you to, swearing: “it’s a lot of fun!” Except you didn’t envision spending all day in classes called “Create the Perfectly Shaped Ice Cube” or “History of the Straw.” But you might as well make the most of your Tales time so here are a few tips from an experienced Tales widow:
1. Take a few seminars
I know, I know, you’re sick of hearing about cocktails and cocktail recipes and watching your bank account dwindle on account of those bottles of Wild Antarctica Meadowlark Liqueur your partner just had to have. But give the seminars a chance; there are lots of interesting topics covered – history, sociology, and even some “science.” You might learn something and you’ll be able to figure out what the heck your partner is on about all the time. Plus, being in seminars will help you:
2. Meet people
Sitting at long tables, half listening to a lecture while slightly drunk – just like being back in college! Except now your cocktail is right there on the table instead of hidden in your Big Gulp cup. Get to know the people around you, I promise you they are nice. Even if they aren’t, a lot of them are bartenders so they are experts at pretending to be nice. Make some friends!
3. Hang out in the Carousel Bar and the Hotel Monteleone Lobby
You are bound to run into people you’ve met in your seminars. See where they are going to for lunch/dinner/liquor company sponsored cocktails. Before you know it, you’ll have a group of friends to roam the town with. You’ll find out about secret events (most of them free!), get to know even more people who love liquor and make friends in far off cities. These new friends will be very handy when you’re traveling, as they know all the best bars. Some of your new friends might even be famous in the Internet!
4. The Pool
The Hotel Monteleone has a nice rooftop pool, and a poolside bar. Need I say more? Protip: it’s a great place to meet the cocktailia elite. Plus, it’s 94F and 98% humidity, what better place is there?
5. Respect the Cocktail
Tales is an event for the cocktail community – mixologists, bartenders, chefs, writers – and you’re a guest here. This is their party, where they have gathered to celebrate the love of drink making, in ways both serious and silly. It’s their Star Trek convention, so don’t be the person yelling “Vulcans are stupid!” You’re a visitor: be polite and respectful, keeping in mind that many of these people have worked very hard over the years to bring you the highest quality of food and drink. So don’t be down on their Klingon costumes (metaphorically speaking). Embrace the spirit of the event!
Bonus Tip for Non-Drinkers (Both of you):
It’s Tales of the Cocktail, sure, but it’s also New Orleans, home of some of the most amazing food on earth. I was four months pregnant at TotC 2008 (yes, bad planning) so cocktails were out but I managed to have a fantastic and memorable time nonetheless. All the calories you aren’t consuming in liquor can easily by made up by po’boys, the entire menu at Luke, Coop’s jambalaya, beignets by the pound and whatever and wherever else Chuck tells you to eat. Bonus: being the sober one means you‘ll not only remember the foolishness, but you’ll be steady enough to catch it on camera. Those pictures will come in handy for blackmail later.