Me, I don't loiter with people because we happen to share bonds of ethnicity, gender, hair color, diopter, etc.
I do things like this.
This is my first dispatch on the matter of the utter excellentness on Tales of the Cocktail, as I promised. Think of it as a "ComicCon" for people with civilized dipsomania.
There are people (and I really need to figure out how to be officially recognized among them, for reasons which shall become pellucidly clear) who are The Cocktail Bloggers. Which is fine, especially since they have been able to hang out in a house -- as opposed to the Hotel Monteleone, etc. as "the little people" must -- with a fully stocked bar sponsored by several major distillers. They also get goody bags which are likely to require pack animals for transport. (Expect an interesting array of boozy memorabilia on eBay next week, as some try to cash in on the free branded glassware, bar mats, etc.)
The main spot for all the ardent fans of even more ardent spirits is the aforesaid Hotel Monteleone. It is very nice, and the rates, even for such a popular event as Tales of the Cocktail, are infinitely more than reasonable. As people were checking in, a large church youth group was trying to check out. There were several eyebrows raised, but most people from either group had other things in their sights to provide much more entertainment beyond that.
They have what they call "tasting rooms." I can't (yet) say they all function a given way, but the first one up was the Kahlua Coffee Bar. It's a smallish reception room, where a given brand has various tables and each has a different cocktail. You could wind up having, say, four full cocktails in one room, and then stagger to the next. To start things off easy, there was only the Kahlua one on the first day. (Think "caffé corretto" with Kahlua in lieu of grappa.) The remainder of the days of TotC there many. For example, here is a random day's listing of tasting rooms:
Cointreau "Bar Star" Mix-Off
Kahlua Coffee Bar
Pernod Absinthe Green Hour
Rémy Cointreau USA
So, as you can see, even with only ONE drink at each, you could be really doing a number on yourself.
Another highlight: There are a LOT of men here with unusual facial hair, vests* and those silly little Rat Pack hats. They utterly despise 99% of all vodka cocktails. I think these are the manqué bartenders, but I cannot be sure. There are cocktail groupies in mufti (that'd be my group, really) and then there are the celebrity bartenders. Yes, there really is such a thing.
Yet one more highlight: "Spirited Lunches/Dinners." If you guessed these are meals at restaurants where each course is paired off with a corresponding cocktail, you'd be right. My first choice, for a number of reasons beyond the scope of this immediate post, would HAVE to be Arnaud's.
Arnaud's is the kind of restaurant that used to be found in most major cities, a grande-dame sort of place. Where the dishes were all named, as opposed to described. (Think "Tournedos Rossini" vs. "Medallions of seared Kobe beef on a Beaujolais reduction on a bed of Morel mushrooms and...")
To make things even more exciting this particular Grande Dame of a restaurant is showcasing itself with an EIGHT course meal. Surprisingly, the prices are VERY reasonable.
Leontine Aperitif and
Ti Punch Leblon
Selle d’Agneau and
Décolletage (a Dubonnet and tequila drink, surprisingly well recieved!)
Sorbet à l’Absinthe (meh, not a huge fan of licorice)
Salade Cresson avec Fromage Blanc
Café, Digestifs and Bon Bons
(They even feature a "Service d’Absinthe" for those doing that whole Green Muse trip...not I.)
Next report: Tasting rooms and "Fun"damentals -- hey, I don't make up these names -- of Bartending.