Day Four (Four, right?) UPDATED

As I sit here, calmly reflecting in a bloggy reverie, the events of yesterday for your consumption today, I am filled with a mellow wistfulness. Tales of the Cocktail wraps up today and (much) later tonight I shall be found abed in my own, er, bed.

For all intents and purposes -- and the absolute best way imaginable -- yesterday was more of the same. Well, almost.

Let's start at the end.

One of the new traditions at TotC is the "assassination" of a drink. That done, it is treated to a full on New Orleans Jazz Funeral.

This all started in 2008 -- back then TotC was much more of a professional's event, and not as filled with dipsomaniacal arrivistes (hi!) as it is now -- when the For Real Industry Professionals were grumbling about what drinks were so awful and trendy they should be forever banished.

In 2008, the inaugural dishonor fell to the Appletini. 2009, the Redheaded Slut and for 2010 it was Sex On The Beach. (Speaking editorially, I'm somewhat suprised the Amaretto Sour or the Blue Hawaii are not in there, I think either of the latter to be infinitely worse than either of the former. But I digress.)

I think it's a capital idea. I may have some quibbles with the choice of victim, but this just gives me additional incentive to make it back to New Orleans next year. (Pretty much same time, next year. For those of you who might be enticed to come over, it's July 20-24, 2011.)

Of course, it wouldn't be New Orleans unless some sort of natural calamity threatening and in this case it was TS Bonnie. Not an all-out hurricane, but New Orleans' big worry is more the rain than the ferocious winds. (It was the "after-rain" from Hurricane Katrina that breached the levees, not the winds.)

So, naturally, there was some...y'know...edginess. Those who had grumbled at being stuck at the Hotel Monteleone's 833rd floor (hi!) were feeling rather smug (hi!) about it all.


At 11:30pm, rain or no, there was man's work to be done. It is Sex On The Beach's fate to be dead and buried. So the assembled throng, uh, assembled at the nearby Hotel Roosevelt at more or less the appointed time and proceeded. It would be something of an exaggeration on my part to state with absolute certainty that all of those in the processsion were fully cognizant of the circumstances. It certainly is well within the realm of possibility that several of them just noticed a crowd holding rather jovial beverages -- Aussie readers, be proud of your delegation, as they do not stint in voicing their joy -- and a largeish assembly of people with musical instruments and allowed themselves to be enveloped and carried by the zeitgeist du jour, as it were.

It must also be said there are some people whose energy is, and there's no way around it, flagging badly. By the time (near midnight) the Jazz Funeral is going on, people have been "carryin' on" for the better part of four days straight, and long days at that. Not everyone has my foresight to find a lull in the schedule about halfway through the thing in order to execute a well engineered short-term comatose state power nap, arising refreshed and renewed.

It also helps if, say, your energies are flagging badly, to be in your hotel room. You pop on your PJs and execute a well engineered short-term comatose state power nap. The further afield from this desired situation, the greater the potential to afford your fellow man some welcome comic relief, so needed in these dark times. I won't name names but someone who is known as "Simon" was resting amiably in the cool that is the marble flooring of the Hotel Monteleone's lobby by the time I was proceeding to attend to the matter of my slumber.

Being an ardent libertarian, I refused to interrupt the man's rest. That said, should I have been apprised, at very first light, "Dude! There was a dead guy in the lobby ALL NIGHT LONG!" it would have only surprised me very little.

[It is at this point I had to break off. There was a MASSIVE French Toast breakfast put on by the Sherry importers. I wrote "Can't possibly miss. Ta." and buggered off. This will be explained in the Day Five entry.]

Day Four, as previously stated was More Of The Same. What's interesting is that after a while, at least on my case, your body adjusts. It's very weird to spend hour-upon-hour-upon-hour just slightly Not Sober. "Crafting the buzz" is the term thrown around. Well, I can be a craftsperson.

Something else struck me, and that is that, unlike most of these events (I assume), there were a LOT of heavily tattooed women. There were some men equally inked, but in percentage terms the women sported, by far, the greater proportion of tattoos. Don't really know what that all means, but I'm just saying.


Back to the beginning -- if this is starting to seem like Tarantino with jet lag, sorry...may take a few days to regain the customary clarity of thought -- which brings us to breakfast. A little bit of research clued me in to the fact the Absolut Bloody Mary thing (at the Carrousel Bar!) started at 9am, but...the Kahlua Coffee Bar opened up at 8:30am. You see where I am going with this, right?

So, by 10am-ish, without any material amount of effort, one already has about a couple of drinks in one's system. And I haven't even hit a single seminar or tasting event.

There were a few events events scheduled for the next block, and any rational person would have been torn by the options. Example? A seminar on bartending in the 40s-60s by a guy named Brian Rea. Mostly on the strength Brian Rea is 722 years old and --I'm just guessing here -- may have a story or two that might prove amusing. However, my choice was for a brunch hosted by Laird's Applejack. I figure food to nestle in my system alongside any Kahlua coffees and Absolut Bloody Marys may also give my liver me a respite, as it doesn't seem to be a sampling-intensive sort of thing. Which it wasn't, really, although there were a few tipples to be had. But let's just say the combination of artisanal cured porcine excellentness, paired with apple distillates is well worth inspecting.

At this point, my body clock has been jettisoned entirely. Sleeping too little, then sleeping overlong, not breakfasting at ALL but brunching pretty regally, skipping lunch and having a spectacular dinnah or skipping dinnah after a very impressive lunch, or just grazing freely all throws your rhythm off.

But, dear reader, this is precisely what I undertake as a service for you.

(Another option - and there were several more - was a tasting session hosted by Hendrick's Gin, but much as I love and respect gin in general and Hendrick's in 10:30am? Even I have my limits.)

Now, part of the reason for my wanting nutritional fortification is that there was one seminar at 12:30pm which I was loath to miss, sacrificing my Spirited Luncheon opportunity. This was the "Tiki" seminar hosted by a guy named Blair "Trader Tiki" Reynolds. I won't write too much about that because I have it from the Very Highest Sources this seminar would be available online. (There may be a prize for whoever spots me in the audience.) It was tailor made for my very own enjoyment. That's all I'll say for now.

(Here's my fave cocktail of the whole thing:

Occam’s Second Thought by Blair Reynolds

Bols Genever
Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
Trader Tiki vanilla syrup
FRESH lemon juice
muddled crushed Thai chili pepper)

That led to a Sazerac tasting (for those of you who enjoy a Manhattan, you may want to consider a bottle of Sazerac Rye...just sayin') and that led to a choice between a Pernod Absinthe tasting and Coole Swan Irish Cream tasting.

Here's the dilemma. I cannot stand licorice. Other than in cooking with anise-flavored spirits. I can appreciate and enjoy a serving of pastis/absinthe/etc. in context but not two. Still, absinthe has a service procedure that is so arcane and riddled with esoteric equipment so cumbersome and utterly useless for anything else that it makes for fascinating viewing. But Coole Swan is something I hadn't tasted before and its marketing implies it's going to cost a bundle (someone at Coole Swan may want to look at the business news to ascertain the wisdom of launching a "superpremium" anything these days) and that was enough to tip the scales in its favor.

Would you look at the time? 6pm!

At various rooms, there are fully functioning bars set up. No. You didn't grasp what I said. There are hotel rooms, regular hotel rooms, in a perfectly normal hotel where the guests assigned to that room have taken over the space and PUT IN A BAR. And not just one or two of these. Oh no.

How do you choose which of these extracurricular Happy Hours to attend? Easy. Go for the one with food the aroma of which lures you in. Why? Well, if the food smells like something you like, then the chances are good the beverages will also entice.

The problem with that is that you, should you find more than one of these, wind up hopping from room to room and next thing you know it's 11pm and where has the evening gone?

[More photos just as soon as I can find the camera wire thingy.]



Badger said…
My first and only experience with Sex on the Beach (I AM talking about the cocktail, so hush) was in the fall of 1988. It cannot be put to death swiftly enough for me. Dear God, I'm still trying to get the taste out of my mouth.

(My wvw this time is lushillu. I swear I am not making these up.)
Joke said…
My money is on the Chocolatini next year.

PS If you think mixological snobs have issues w. vodka, you should hear the ABUSE reserved for "flair" bartending. You'd stand a better chance being a crack ho in Iran.

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