By David Ransom
There’s one thing that Ann Tuennerman, aka Mrs. Cocktail, says she doesn’t do that simply makes no sense to me. Then again, her publicist roots run deep, so maybe that’s just the spin on the story that she wants us to believe… More on what it is, later.
On paper, Ann is probably the unlikeliest choice for a Rocks Star to grace this column since its inception a few years ago, as she has never actually worked in a bar, and her restaurant experience is limited to working at Wendy’s while in high school and college. Yet, at the same time, she is probably one of the most deserving recipients of that moniker, as it is she who has created and developed the most influential cocktail and bartending conference in the world, Tales of the Cocktail (www.talesofthecocktail.com), which is held each July in New Orleans, and will mark its tenth anniversary this year.
Although she was born in Louisville, Kentucky, Ann does not remember a life other than the one she’s lived in New Orleans, as she arrived in the Crescent City at the age of three months, and considers that city her true home. It is in New Orleans, that Ann grew up, went to high school and college for a marketing degree, and then started out on her professional career; first in public relations working for local legend Malcolm Ehrhardt (whose Ehrhardt Group actually donated office space to Ann to help get Tales up and running in its early years), and then working in communications for various radio and TV stations in the area, including WEZB and the WB Network.
She did leave New Orleans once, for three months, to live in New York, but that was not by choice. That was due to the arrival in town of a very angry woman named Katrina, and as soon as it was possible for her to return, Ann did just that. “New Orleans may not be in my DNA, but it’s definitely in my blood,” she says. “I can’t even think of living anywhere else.” Good for us, she wasn’t smitten by New York, as Tales of the Cocktail had only been up and running for three years when Katrina hit, and it could easily have become yet another of the tragic losses endured in the wake of that awful storm by the city that invented the cocktail.
Ann’s commitment to the New Orleans, and more importantly its historically significant thread in the fabric of the world’s culinary heritage, is what keeps her constantly striving to find ways to show off the city she loves. Along with Tales of the Cocktail, she’s also started the city’s first Continue Reading…