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ROCKS STARS: TOASTING TALES AT TEN

August 22, 2012

By David Ransom

This year, Tales of the Cocktail celebrated its tenth birthday by doing what it does best: throwing a conference for the spirits industry that is unrivaled in its scope and size, and unmatched in its dedication to providing the bar industry with a forum to share ideas, learn from its legends, try new products, and move itself forward.

I could wax poetic about the program, which under the close supervision of founder Ann Tuennerman (aka: Mrs. Cocktail) has grown in ten years from being a one-day happy hour and dinner to a six-day extravaganza of seminars, tasting rooms, awards programs, meet and greets, parties, and more parties. But we all know that, and there are plenty of other columns that can tell you what seminars were new this year, what products were launched, and who won what award.

Instead, I’d just like to let you know what I considered to be the most interesting experiences and trends at Tales this year. So let’s get to it…

Most interesting spirits trend: Anything white. Whether it was white whiskey or moonshine, Pisco (either kind, see below), grappa, white rum, gin, or some new vodka made from a particular type of grain grown only on Mars, white spirits seems to be all the rage this year with the mixologist set, who are using it to create wonderfully crafted, clean, well thought-out cocktails. Cheers to that!

Honorable mention should go out to the liqueur category. Four wonderful products stormed Tales this year: Mandarine Napoléon was re-introduced, Cognac Ferrand’s Dry Orange Curacao, which made its debut earlier this year, won best new product at the Awards, Lillet’s delightful Lillet Rose made a big splash (and was also runner-up to Ferrand’s Dry Curacao), and Marie Brizard showcased it’s new Essence line of liqueurs during its U.S. Cocktail Competition Finals on Friday, at which, I am honored to say, I was a judge.

Marie Brizard winner Robert Montero and his Sunny Crusta

Most interesting seminar: Without a doubt, the most interesting, and also most entertaining, seminar I attended was The Pisco Wars: Peru vs. Chile since 1613. These two countries have been vying for Pisco dominance and authenticity for generations, and that all came to a head in Continue Reading…