Stevi Deter (Two at the Most) is a cocktail ingenue living in Redmond, WA.
What if you were having your birthday and the whole liquor industry showed up to celebrate? That’s a bit what it felt like for me on the opening day of Tales of the Cocktail.
I was a bit trepidatious when I saw the Tales schedule and discovered it started on my birthday. I normally like to spend the week of my birthday in the remote mountains riding my horse. That ride is postponed for a year so that I can experience the sensory overload that is Tales of the Cocktail.
I started the day off with a great breakfast at Stanley on Jackon Square. At the recommendation of Matthew Rowley, I had the Breaux Bridge Benedict, which was delicious. Then I headed over to the Monteleone, after picking up an umbrella when it was obvious the sky was about to open up. And open it did, but luckily it was only my feet that got soaked.
After signing in and getting my media pass, I headed to the tasting rooms. First was the Yamazaki whisky tasting, which I missed the begining of, but did get to taste some yubari melon jelly during a discussion of Midori. I followed that with a cocktail poured by Seattle’s own Jamie Boudreau, and then headed over to the Castries tasting. They were featuring two excellent examples of how you don’t have to make an overly sweet cocktail even with a peanut creme liqueur.
I then headed up to the swag bag room, courtesy of my media pass to Tales. Definitely a great birthday present, a room full of liquor samples and logo gear. After stuffing my bag full of goodies, I met up with other members of the CSOWG and headed to Coop’s for lunch. Apparently Chuck Taggart is too good at making recommendations, because we ran into most of the rest of the CSOWG as well as the Seattle bartending scene already there waiting. But it was worth it, and really enjoyed my Abita Turbo Dog and bowl of gumbo.
Back to the tasting rooms. After stopping by the Ron Zacapa room, I hit the Raw Spirits room, full of new, experimental liquors, mostly from smaller distillers. This included several rums being poured by Ministry of Rum’s Ed Hamilton and a hibiscus liqueur being created by the same folks bringing us Castries. I also hit the Fresh Market tasting room, full of organic spirits, largely being poured by the distillers themselves.
I then found myself in the Carousel Bar, chatting with Camper English and meeting David Wondrich, among others. Rhum Clement treated us to straw hats and ti punch. We then wandered over to the Roosevelt Hotel where we had a Sazerac at the beautiful Sazerac bar (featuring Sazerac rye, natch!). I decided to skip the Beefeater reception, largely because I forgot to bring my ticket. I found myself with my CSOWG friends for the evening.
All in all, a great way to spend a birthday. While I tasted a lot of different liquors, I was careful to follow the best advice for drinking all day without getting too drunk. I’m happy to report that I felt pretty good in the morning, ready to hit more great seminars and tastings as Tales continues.
A huge thanks to everybody who helped me celebrate my birthday this year. Sure was kind of y’all to throw me such a huge party!