Ritual Drinking at Tales of the Cocktail 2013

Bone Luge. Pickleback. Menu Backing. Mixologists do some weird things. Come try them with us — me, Jason Littrell, and Daniel de Oliveira — at our Spirited Dinner sponsored by Altos Tequila at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail:

The rebirth of the cocktail has given us exquisitely balanced, complex drinks. It has also given us some very strange drinking rituals. From the Pickleback to Menu Backing to the Bone Luge, odd drinking trends have a way of spreading virally and bringing friends together. Popularizers of these trends — Jason Littrell from New York, Daniel de Oliveira from Chicago, and Jacob Grier from Portland — bring them to the Spirited Dinner table along with some of their favorite craft cocktails, featuring the blanco and reposado expressions of Altos Tequila and food pairings from Sylvain.

Attendees at this dinner will not only enjoy multiple courses of food and cocktails, they’ll also have fun taking part in unusual drinking trends and gaining an understanding of why they spread.

Sylvain is one of my favorite restaurants in New Orleans, so I know the food is going to be great and I’m thrilled that we’re able to work with them. The dinner menu is at the link, with cocktail and drinking ritual menu coming soon. There are only 30 seats and reservations are $100. I hope to see you there on July 18th.

[Pictured: Original Bone Luger Danny Ronen.]


Behind the scenes at a Spirited Dinner


What does it take to put on a cocktail pairing dinner of four courses for sixty guests with 140 eggs? A lot of shaking, help from friends, and one very powerful blender. My latest post at The Drink Nation goes behind the scenes at our Brewing Up Cocktails Spirited Dinner in New Orleans and includes the recipe for our decadent closing cocktail, the Chocolate Stout Flip.


Wit-ty Flip


Here’s one more preview of the cocktails Ezra Johnson-Greenough and I will be serving at our Brewing Up Cocktails Spirited Dinner at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. Because we’re gluttons for punishment, we’re serving not one but two flips during our dinner. That means that if all 70 seats sell out, we’ll be shaking up 140 flips in the course of an evening in addition to 140 other drinks. Our arms will be feeling it the next day.

New Orleans in summer doesn’t exactly scream flips, but this one bucks the reputation flips have as heavy, wintertime indulgences. The four ounces of Belgian-style witbier used in this drink lightens and carbonates the cocktail, making it suitable for hotter weather. The orange peel and coriander often used in witbier also make a nice complement to the spice and herbal notes in Drambuie:

1 1/2 oz Drambuie
3/4 oz lemon juice
2 dashes orange bitters
2 dashes allspice dram
1 whole egg
4 oz witbier
nutmeg, for garnish

Pour the beer into a pilsner or wine glass. Shake all the other ingredients hard with ice. Fine strain back into the mixing glass and then pour into the beer. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg. (Pouring the heavier flip mixture into the beer rather than the other way around ensures that it mixes thoroughly.)

If this drinks sound weird, you don’t have to take my word for its tastiness: A version of it took third place in the Drambuie Nail or Fail cocktail competition earlier this year.

Tickets for our Spirited Dinner, happening this Thursday, are on sale here. It’s at Emeril’s Delmonic Steakhouse and is sponsored by Drambuie and El Dorado rum.

[Photo via the Drambuie Facebook page.]


New Orleans bound

I’m headed out to New Orleans this morning for a return trip to Tales of the Cocktail along with the rest of the Bols team. Obviously this isn’t the most conducive environment to blogging — not the sort of blogging for which I’d to be remembered anyway — so this may be the last post of the week. I’ll be twittering while there though, and if you’re also in town for Tales let’s be sure to grab a drink at the Carousel bar.


MxMo New Orleans

Green devil

This week’s Mixology Monday was supposed to happen last week, the day after dozens of cocktail bloggers descended on New Orleans for a long weekend of drinking and socializing at Tales of the Cocktail. The idea was that we’d all write about one of favorite drinks from the weekend, or about a cocktail inspired by New Orleans. A great plan, except that by Monday the lot of us were traveling, recovering, or shaking in fear at the smell of alcohol. So our fearless leader and MxMo founder Paul Clarke pushed things back to today, giving us all a week to catch up.

My cocktail for the month is Stephen Beaumont’s Green Devil, from his seminar on “How to View Beer as an Ingredient Rather than as the Drink Unto Itself.” Since I love beer possibly even more than cocktails (as do most other Americans), this was one of my favorite events of the weekend. The Green Devil’s also an apt drink for this MxMo. It uses absinthe, a classic New Orleans cocktail ingredient. The star of the show is the Belgian ale Duvel, which would have been perfect for our original MxMo date of July 21, Belgian independence day. And most importantly, Duvel threw in a free glass, and I’m a sucker for glassware giveaways.

Anyway, time is short as I have a ton of packing to do, so let’s go straight to the ingredients:

rinse of absinthe
1 oz gin (Beaumont recommends Martin Miller’s)
1 bottle Duvel

Rinse your glass with the absinthe and add the gin. Pour in the Duvel, aiming for a big, foamy head. The absinthe adds a nice anise aroma, just don’t add too much. It’s big, it’s tasty, it’s good — perfect for when an 8.5% abv ale just isn’t strong enough on its own.

[Gallup link via Sullivan]


Remember to drink lots of water

Early Thursday morning I’ll be catching a flight to New Orleans to join bartenders, distillers, and cocktail enthusiasts from around the world for Tales of the Cocktail, a five day cocktail extravaganza. There will be classes, cocktail dinners, parties, happy hours, competitions, and a tasting room that opens at 10:30 am, so you’ll understand if my blogging gets a little off schedule and/or incomprehensible this week.

This is my first chance to meet up with lots of cocktail bloggers I currently know only online. If you’re reading this, let’s get a drink! And for those of you not going to New Orleans, I welcome recommendations for what to do there. It’s my first time in the city, and while I won’t have a lot of free time, I’d like to try out some of the local favorites.

Here’s what I’m registered for at Tales so far:

First on Thursday, assuming my flight isn’t delayed, is Molecular Mixology with Jamie Boudreau, followed by The Scented Trail: Techniques on How to Develop Aroma in Your Cocktails and Artisan Still Design and Construction. For the spirited dinner I’m headed to Palace Cafe for what sounds like an amazing menu from Ben Thibodeaux, Paul Clarke, and James Meehan.

On Friday I’m taking things easier with just two classes, How To View Beer As An Ingredient Rather Than The Drink Unto Itself and Cocktails Of Old Raj: East Meets West at India’s Bar, followed by the Tiki Block Party and then whatever debauchery continues into the evening. Saturday I’ll be back in class for Making Your Own Cocktail Ingredients, and from then on the weekend is open for tasting, exploring, signing up for additional seminars, or trying to make the throbbing in my head go away.