A Pre-Tales Q&A with panel moderator Paul Clarke
Print, despite much trumpeting to the contrary, isn’t dead yet. That is especially true in the area of food and cocktails, where there has been an explosion of interest in recent years, particularly in online writing for newspapers, magazines and blogs. Paul Clarke, spirits journalist and blogging maestro of The Cocktail Chronicles, is certainly the man to moderate a discussion on the topic.
A contributing editor at Imbibe magazine, Paul has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, Wine & Spirits, Entrepreneur and Edible Seattle, contributed to the New York Times’ Proof blog and Serious Eats, and was just named one of Imbibe magazine’s “People Who Have Changed How We Drink.” Some days, it feels like he’s showing off. For this seminar, Paul has rounded up some of the best-known cocktail and spirits writers working today with an eye toward discussing the spirits industry from the viewpoint of its professional journalists.
Tales Blog: What prompted you to develop a seminar about cocktail & spirits writers?
Paul: I make my living by writing about booze. I spend my days reading, talking and thinking about drinks (and not a few evenings consuming them), and over the years I’ve really come to appreciate the extraordinary knowledge and skills of my predecessors and colleagues. I thought it’d be a lot of fun to spend time at Tales talking about some of my favorite writing about cocktails and spirits, in the company of a couple of gentlemen who share my interest as well as my occupation, and to hopefully provide some insight to other people in the drinks industry as to how we do our jobs, and how we can best work together.
Tales Blog: Who else is going to be on your panel?
Paul: Part of the appeal in putting this session together is that I’ll have the opportunity to share a dais with two of my all-time favorite drinks writers and Tales of the Cocktail presenters: David Wondrich and Wayne Curtis. I’ve known these guys for years, but this is my first time presenting with either of them at Tales, and I’m really looking forward to it.
Tales Blog: What do you hope attendees in your seminar will come away with?
Paul: You mean aside from a slight buzz? While we’re going to spend time talking about some of our favorite writing on drinks—by people who’ve inspired us and provided amusement and insight, such as Kingsley Amis, Herbert Asbury and of course, Charles H. Baker, Jr.—we want to cover the contemporary world of drinks journalism and provide participants with some practical information, as well. We’ll talk about how we do our jobs and how PR professionals, bar owners and other people in the drinks industry can best engage with drinks journalists and provide us with information we can actually use; and we’ll also look at how online media is changing the dynamic, and talk about how bloggers and aspiring journalists can more effectively cover the booze beat.
Tales Blog: Which cocktails will be featured in your seminar?
Paul: Drinking on Deadline is sponsored by Pisco Porton, a new Mosto Verde pisco from Peru. For drinks, we’re serving a classic Pisco Punch, which has a lengthy pedigree in print; and a Pisco Apricot Tropical, from Charles H. Baker’s “The South American Gentleman’s Companion” (though since Baker’s recipes can be kinda meh, we’re using the improved formulation developed by Erik Adkins, served at Slanted Door and Heaven’s Dog in San Francisco and which Mr. Adkins has very kindly shared with us).
Tales Blog: What is your favorite part of Tales of the Cocktail?
Paul: Tales of the Cocktail gives me the opportunity to spend one week every summer with some of my favorite people in one of my favorite cities. Whether I’m talking about the history of aperitifs, learning some deep background on mezcal, or just hanging out and drinking beer or Sazeracs in a bar somewhere around town, Tales of the Cocktail (and its host city of New Orleans) lets me indulge the cocktail geek side of my personality while offering pretty much any kind of fun and amusement I could wish for, all in the company of good friends.
Purchase your Tales passes to participate in “Drinking on Deadline” on Saturday, July 23 from 3:30–5 PM in the Grand Ballroom North at The Royal Sonesta Hotel, 300 Bourbon Street, New Orleans.