Embrace an icy cold refreshing jump into a pool to raise funds for the Museum of the American Cocktail
By Francine Cohen

You’ve been known to prattle on about ice and the various merits of its size, shape and quality. You can wax poetic about pellet ice, clear 1 x 1 cubes, crushed, avoiding bubbles, hand chipped ice, etc. and will, when given the chance. Now, at 4:00 PM on July 26th during Tales of the Cocktail, you can channel your inner polar bear and put your money where your mouth is, all by taking part in the Macallan Ice Ball Plunge — a refreshing way to raise some much needed funds for The Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC – www.museumoftheamericancocktail.org).

Why jump into a cold pool in the name of scotch and a museum? Well, besides the fact that it’s going to be warm in New Orleans and a quick dip will sure feel nice, you’ll be doing some good for the cocktail community and culinary history aficionados everywhere. MOTAC, which is currently housed within the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (www.southernfood.org) in New Orleans’ Riverwalk complex, is about to move to a more permanent home and needs your help to do so.

Laura McMillian, Managing Director, Museum of the American Cocktail explains, “The museum has to move December 2012 to a new location. The fundraising is to finance the move itself and the build out. The Southern Food and Beverage Museum, our partner, has purchased a historically significant building in the Faubourg Lafayette which was the old Dryades Market. The new museum will be on the corner of Oretha Castle Haley and Martin Luther King Blvd in a 39,000 square feet facility. This area will be the Culinary Corridor of New Orleans and it is only three blocks off of the St. Charles streetcar line. It is in one of the four corridors New Orleans has slated for growth and federal funding and grants.”

While the federal government is contributing some funding to assist in MOTAC’s development they won’t underwrite everything, thereby giving you a hands-on chance to support a piece of American history and help rebuild a city. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity you’ll cherish; hopefully as much as we cherish the memory of our private tour of the museum just a week before it officially opened in 2008.

Our memorable experience began as we alighted from a cab at a fairly barren parking area of New Orleans’ Riverwalk- the river side mall and promenade that was built with the hope of revitalizing this part of town with new shopping, dining and cultural experiences. Searching the building we discovered that tucked in a far corner of the upper level, well beyond the strangely quiet food court, was the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. Quietly we wandered through the collection, astounded at the immense display of cocktail instruments, photographs, books, historical information and more that filled the rooms and opened up a view into American history from a whole new perspective unseen before.

Like DC’s Smithsonians, the British Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and countless other priceless repositories of our world’s greatest examples of art, culture and society, MOTAC’s permanent collection is deserving of equal attention. Nowhere else in the United States will you find a collection that holds dear Americana that defines our world in such a delicious light.

Jill DeGroff, MOTAC’s Vice President, sheds light on the fact that the almost $7400 which has been raised to date to move this collection to its new home is vastly to the credit of Karlyn Monroe, Manager – Trade Outreach & Program Development Rémy Cointreau. DeGroff comments, “The person who came up with the idea for this fundraising event was Karlyn Monroe, someone dear to our heart, as she has been supporting the Museum since we first opened the exhibit in 2005.”

Monroe’s support for the museum runs deep, but she won’t take all the credit. Monroe explains, “The concept of the Polar Plunge was actually Duane Sylvester’s – my friend and an amazingly talented bartender in DC – it was his brilliant idea and we all just made it happen. She continues to applaud the efforts of her team, headed by Lauren Ryan, Associate Brand Manager, The Macallan, and Gene Song, Brand Director, The Macallan, both of whom Monroe credits with being a major driving force behind this event and exceedingly supportive of the fundraising efforts , “We’ve been hard at work developing a fun and unique event to take place during 2012 Tales of the Cocktail… to benefit The Museum of the American Cocktail. Their lease at the Riverwalk Marketplace in New Orleans is ending, and the Museum must move its exhibit to a new location, and fast. They need all of our help securing a new home. To begin the much needed fund-raising process, The Macallan Single Malt Scotch-Whisky is producing a large event during Tales, The Macallan Ice Ball Plunge. Members of the industry will take a bone chilling plunge into an icy pool, inspired by the signature Macallan Ice Ball. The Macallan is proud to produce this very special event and 100% of the proceeds will benefit the Museum! We hope you can join us!”

To join in the fun (and fundraising) start, join or donate to a plunge team today – www.crowdrise.com/TheMacallanIceBallPlunge. After bartenders from around the globe unite for the inaugural ‘Macallan Ice Ball Plunge’ and take a bone chilling plunge into an icy pool inspired by the signature Macallan Ice Ball, jumpers, their teams and supporters are welcome to warm up in The Macallan Ice Ball lounge with the world’s most precious single malt Scotch (www.themacallan.com).

Looking forward to seeing you there (Location: 528 Chartres Street, Thursday, July 26th, 4-6PM, RSVP@MacallanIceBall.com).