Tales of the Cocktail Recap

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Tales of the Cocktail takes place once a year in the magical city of New Orleans, and the event is the equivalent to Christmas Day to the industry professionals in attendance. While some bars in the Southeast shut down their business to attend, others send representatives to show off their bartenders and creative talent. With 200+ annual events designed specifically for bartenders, distillers and spirits professionals, Tales of the Cocktail has become the industry’s leading meeting place for the exchange of new ideas, products and techniques.

Ryan Welliver, Charleston’s master of mixology at The Cocktail Club, attended this year’s five-day festival held Wednesday, July 15, through Sunday, July 19. In an attempt to get the inside scoop on Tales of the Cocktail, we sat down with Ryan to discuss his cocktail chronicles from the week.

Naturally, the first thing that came to mind was to ask what Ryan’s favorite drink was during the festival. His response? A tiki-styled cocktail from a bar in the French Quarter by the name of Tiki Tolteca. This tropical treat was made with a funky kind of rum that took it over the top, leading those who tasted it to believe this will jumpstart a “tiki craze” for the cocktail industry.

Aside from the actual beverages, Tales of the Cocktail is an opportunity to mix and mingle with some of the brightest minds in the beverage industry. Ryan had the opportunity to chat with a few brand ambassadors and various bartenders from around the country and specifically noted, “It was great to have so many passionate people from the cocktail world in the same city.” He went on to say, “Everybody bounced ideas off of each other and picked each other’s brains about cocktails, bartending and life behind the bar, which made for great collaboration.”

Ultimately, Ryan concluded “the whole place was awesome, filled with fun vibes without the uptight feel of actual work.” On top of the divine drink tastings, the festival overall was a remarkable learning experience. Inspired by a week of conversing and concocting, Ryan has a few ideas and techniques up his sleeve on how to prepare for the upcoming year in anticipation of Tales of the Cocktail 2016.

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