The Story Behind Premier Cocktail Festival, Tales of the Cocktail

Tales of the Cocktail is committed to the growth of the cocktail industry through providing a week of seminars, tastings, networking events, and more, and is specifically designed for bartenders, mixologists, distillers, and other spirits professionals around the globe. This annual meeting place to share new techniques, products, and ideas seems like a huge endeavor — but how did it first stir up? In this episode of "On Foodable Weekly," we get the inside sip with co-founders Ann and Paul Tuennerman.

The concept began in 2002, but was originally a walking tour where a small gathering of cocktail lovers explored bars and restaurants across New Orleans.

"So, I started this walking tour to tell the story of all the famous drinks invented in New Orleans, all the famous spirits invented here...to take people behind the scenes who really didn't know or understand this information," Ann said.

In the days before Facebook and other social media platforms, Ann had to hit the phones and pavement. During its first year, she managed to got 10 top mixologists to share their insights and it has only evolved since then.

"There hasn't been a meeting place for folks from around the world — the most influential of the industry — to gather and share...best practices and what's on the forefront, and learn from one another, and really just get energized and continue that rolling innovation that's taking place now," Paul said.

But more than the seminars and exchange of knowledge, attendees are able to celebrate personal connections and find other professionals with the same passion, whether they are from Ghana, New Zealand, or in the United States. It's all about connecting, not networking. And this premier cocktail festival "makes it okay to be a bartender again," where like when a person says he or she is a chef, there is no follow-up question of "What else do you do?"

There are other events Tales of a Cocktail hosts each year — about 200 of them. There are walking tours in other cities and a membership program, but the most important element is education. 

"I think now our philosophy is as long as we're providing education, it really doesn't matter what form it's in," Ann said.

Watch the full episode to learn more!

3 Trends From Tales of the Cocktail 2015

3 Trends From Tales of the Cocktail 2015

By Natalie Migliarini, Foodable Contributor

Tales of the Cocktail brings thousands of people to New Orleans every July to learn about new happenings and trends in the cocktail industry. As the weather heats up, cocktails and spirits are flowing to beat the heat. I attended this year and am sharing my thoughts on everything from popular parties and seminars, to dinners trending in this industry.  

Creating a Healthy Balance of Wellness

One trend I noticed was a focus on incorporating a healthy lifestyle and wellness into the industry. There were several different events that helped promote and support a healthy lifestyle. These events varied from massages to organized runs, which allowed attendees to create a healthy balance. Mezcal El Silencio sponsored the Suite Silencio, which served a healthy cocktail made from coconut water, mezcal, and honeydew. The suite also offered a serene place for event goers to relax and unwind with a massage. Novo Fogo, a cachaça brand, held their annual Novo Fogo Miles: A 5k Dash of Balance. The first five finishers of the 5k received a $1,000 sponsorship from Novo Fogo to host an industry wellness event in their town. 

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3 Standouts: A Tales of the Cocktail Recap

3 Standouts: A Tales of the Cocktail Recap

By Natalie Migliarini, Foodable Contributor

Every year, bartenders, brand ambassadors, cocktail enthusiasts, and distillers come together in the wonderful culinary cocktail capital of New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail. Various places in city become the host for all things cocktail, including tasting rooms, seminars, pool parties, invite-only parties, spirited dinners, and the renowned Spirited Awards. Given the infamous drinks that have been created in New Orleans, it is the perfect place to host this amazing week-long event. I had the opportunity to attend for the first time this year as a “Tales Virgin,” and it did not disappoint. In appreciation for the event and the city of New Orleans, here are three of the top trends seen at this year’s “Tales.”

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