Tales of the Cocktail – Day 1

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The show is back. The twentieth edition of Tales of the Cocktail, the industry’s most renowned conference, opened on Monday through the bustling streets of New Orleans, Louisiana. The inaugural day and the warm-up weekend saw the first events that kicked off the convention in grand fashion, leading what is expected to be a loud comeback.

Tales of the Cocktail is happening live again, after two years of online activity, and will be focused on “Progress” as the main theme. All throughout the Big Easy’s venues and bars, a number of in-person education, tastings, networking, and awards programming are set to come alive, giving bar professionals from all over the world the chance to get in touch with the best that the drinking environment has to offer.

On Sunday, a full crowd saluted Jesse Pomerantz as the winner of the tenth edition of Speed Rack, surpassing the complete field of sixteen participants, coming from selections in each region during the last months. Brain-child of Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero, the much anticipated speed competition crowned the best up-and-coming female bartender in the US, supporting a noble cause in the process: all proceeds of the event are donated to charity associations involved in the fight against breast cancer. More than one million dollars has been raised over the years, showcasing Speed Rack’s commitment to the community, once again.

Surrounded by the two-story, wood and brick venue of Republic NOLA, Pomerantz, currently tending the bar at Smoked, in Columbia, bested Marina Holter from Blind Barber in Chicago, in the final round, serving four drinks in just over two minutes of adjusted time to the jury; Vance Henderson, Amanda Gunderson, Carina Soto Velàsquez and Campari Academy Creative Director Monica Berg were seated at the main table, challenging the competitors with hints and comments, and penalizing them with extra seconds in the event of mistakes.

Monday saw Campari Academy play the biggest role on stage: the third chapter of Perspectives docu-series was officially presented to the American community at Broussard’s, during an opportunity-packed afternoon. While the production was shown in a dedicated screening room, guests were offered tailor made drinks by Carly Rose Lacoste from Bar Marilou in New Orleans, Joy Figueroa and Zack Robinson from Herbs & Rye in Last Vegas, and Campari Academy Creative Director Monica Berg. And most importantly, they were introduced to the “Open Book”, a chance to dive into constructive conversation with eight esteemed mentors which Campari Academy selected through a variety of themes, from communication to spirit production. Seated at round tables and ready to discuss contemporary topics or geeky formulas, this was a precious occasion to learn how these past twenty years shaped the bar community, analyzed through a number of scopes and voices.

The afternoon moved then to Caffè Campari, at Curio, where Italian vibes started flowing in aperitivo style. Live jazz music, traditional snacks and classic bitter concoctions vibed all the way to the evening, when New Orleans’ porched alleys were eventually toured. It was time to “Bring the Band Back Together” at Latrobe’s; six of the most beloved bars of the United States, now permanently closed, gathered their teams for a special night. The iconic cocktails and bartenders from The NoMad (NYC & LA), Eastern Standard (Boston), Manifesto (KC), Nightcap (NYC), Existing Conditions (NYC) and Gladys (NYC) lived again for one more, spectacular, time only. Tales of the Cocktail is finally back, and we will be here to tell you all about it.