Kara Newman (Spice & Ice) is the New York-based author of “Spice & Ice: 60 tongue-tingling cocktails” (Chronicle Books, 2009) and Spirits Reviewer for Wine Enthusiast magazine.
This is my third time at Tales, and once again I’m loving the juxtaposition of the old & new in the cocktail world.
Old Drinks: Usually, “old” means 1870s….but a trip back to the 1970s turned out to be one of my favorite events thus far. Consider this photo of Jeff Berry & Martin Cate:
The “Fern Bars” seminar turned out to be one of the most entertaining and joyful seminars I’ve ever attended. If you missed it for something boring and serious, go beat yourself over the head with a bottle of Galliano. Here’s what you missed: Christopher Cross. Frozen blended drinks. Julie, your cruise director. Peacock feathers. I wish I could put the entire experience on rewind and play it over and over again.
New Drinks: Judging by the packed house at the Progressive Cocktails seminar, we haven’t seen the end of molecular mixology yet, not by a long shot. The money flowing through the financial houses of Singapore and the devil-may-care Aussies apparently have sparked a desire for showier,crazier, more gimmick-laden drinks than we’ve had here in the U.S. Expect presentation to be stepped up a notch in the coming year or so. For example, Australia’s Der Raum, they’re serving up The Teacher’s Tipple — a drink served within a bottle, presented within a hollowed-out library book.
Here’s a drink we tried at the Progressive Cocktails seminar:
It’s an Islay Scotch smoked with a PolySci gun. Not sure if you can tell by my photo, but the smoke was trapped inside the mason jar — drinking this one was kind of like drinking a cigarette, but others at the seminar were much more successful, like the mojito-infused carbonated grapes and a molecular Michelada.
A word of caution: apparently, the future involves a LOT of work….the cocktail apprentices had been slaving away on our drinks for many hours ahead.