Matt Robold is an Orange County, California-based blogger with a passion for rum, an interest he indulges on his blog Rum Dood.
This has been my third straight year attending Tales of the Cocktail. Every year presents me with new experiences, new faces and a lot of new information (and some cocktails, I’m pretty sure there were cocktails too).
When I first attended in 2008, I was a wide-eyed rum enthusiast with no idea what to expect. I had never attended Tales before – in fact, other than Ed Hamilton via his Ministry of Rum, I didn’t know a single person that was attending. Five days and several hundred rummy beverages later, I had a bevvy of new friends to drink with all over the world.
Coming into my third Tales, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. There would be lots of drinking. There would be a massive crowd of people at the Olde Absinthe House late every night. The Carousel Bar would be completely packed with people who were in-between destinations – either heading to bed or heading back out into the night. There would be dozens of other bloggers dressed in a manner similar to me, thereby making us easier to identify and mock in an open fashion. There would be amazing food, good times, laughs, and likely more than a few mornings of cursing the fact that our planet orbits a large ball of unnecessarily bright fire as I dragged myself out of bed to hike to the Monteleone for whatever sessions I had signed up for that day – praying that the small plastic cups of whatever cocktail accompanied the speakers would smooth out my head.
Still, there are things to learn every year, and this year was no exception:
- Jeffrey Morgenthaler may be physically absent from Tales, but Tales is never truly without him.
- Gene’s Hot Sausage Po’boys are as good as advertised, and you will know you ate one for at least 14 hours.
- Hotels will let you fill dishes with gunpowder and overproof spirits and light them on fire if you’re Wayne Curtis.
- A potato works really well for forging a customs stamp when you’re running rum in the Caribbean.
- Rum Runners during American Prohibition weren’t running rum to the US (they were running Scotch and Brandy) but they were running plenty of rum into Canada.
- There used to be three bottles of Mandarine Napoleon XO in the US. Thanks to a house full of bloggers, there are now two.
- When everyone in your row is passing around a bottle of Laird’s Applejack for the duration of a seminar, you will get funny looks.
- Chartreuse Swizzles are best-prepared at 2am in a glass vase to be shared by 6 people.