Posts Tagged ‘Paul Tuennerman’

ROCKS STARS: PROFILES IN CUBAGE – ANN TUENNERMAN

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

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

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ROCKS STARS – TALES OF THE COCKTAIL 2011

Friday, August 19th, 2011

A Few Of My Favorite Things
By David Ransom

Photo by Charles Steadman

Once again this past July in New Orleans, Mrs. And Mr. Cocktail (aka Ann & Paul Tuennerman) put on what those of us in the business have affectionately come to consider the triathlon of liver survival (drink-filled seminars, drink-filled tasting rooms, and drink-filled dinners and parties… not to mention the obligatory night-ending swing through Old Absinthe House on Rue Bourbon every night just to prove you didn’t expire during the course of the day) that is Tales of the Cocktail (www.talesofthecocktail.com).

Having just completed its ninth year, Tales has grown from a tiny industry-focused event that brought the nation’s top bartenders together for a few days of camaraderie, events, and parties, into a truly international symposium, complete with a “Spirited Awards” program (like the movie industry’s Oscars) that hands out honors to establishments and industry leaders from around the world, and now brings in professionals and consumers from all over the globe to celebrate the world of cocktails in the city that created them.

Rocks Stars and I feel honored to be given the chance to attend each year, and as always, I’m thrilled to be able to share some of my experiences…now that I have recovered enough to be able to write again…

So without further ado, here are a few of my favorite things from this year’s Tales, both good and bad, but really all good, as nothing that includes having a well-crafted drink could ever really be bad… and in no particular order:

Best Hosts Under Pressure: Ann & Paul Tuennerman. Nine years into it, Tales could probably have run itself, but Ann and Paul were everywhere. Every event. Every day. Every night. What amazes me about this is that Paul was recovering from a health scare and had just spent time in the hospital. I have to tip my hat to these two intrepid souls for not staying in the background and recuperating at home while “their baby” was staged. Quite to the contrary, they were all over the place from Tuesday’s Media Welcome Party at Arnaud’s French 75 bar (beautifully run by Chris Hannah, one of NOLA’s finest drinks-smiths – www.arnaudsrestaurant.com),to the final Sunday Brunch with Mr. & Mrs. Cocktail, and everywhere in between. I even ran into Paul solo, visibly tired yet surely on the mend, at the Suntory Suite (www.suntory.com) one afternoon where we chatted on the balcony overlooking Bourbon Street while enjoying a glass of Japan’s finest single malt.

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SPIRITED STUDY. SUBSIDIZED.

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Eight Tales of the Cocktail Apprentices Receive Scholarships

In 2010, Tales of the Cocktail®, the world’s premier cocktail festival held annually in New Orleans, announced a new, $25,000 scholarship program developed exclusively for former cocktail apprentices. After an intensive judging process, eight former apprentices from across the country were selected to receive funding for everything from advanced bartending courses to develop a universal language for describing cocktails and spirits.

“It was inspiring to review the scholarship applications,” said Charlotte Voisey, a member of the scholarship selection committee. “We are very grateful for this opportunity to further our mission, by providing unique, educational opportunities to such talented industry professionals” said Paul G. Tuennerman.

The Cocktail Apprentice Scholarship Program is the latest piece of the ever-growing Cocktail Apprentice Program (CAP). The program was founded in 2008 through a partnership between Tales of the Cocktail®, Cointreau and the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation (NOCCPS) to give up-and-coming cocktail professionals the opportunity to learn from the world’s most influential mixologists while at Tales of the Cocktail®.

Twenty-nine former Cocktail Apprentices submitted applications for a wide range of topics and programs across several different categories. Applications required a detailed explanation of course of study and presentation of findings, as well as a pre-established mentor in the field of study. A scholarship selection committee made up of key apprentice leaders, NOCCPS members and the Tales of the Cocktail team reviewed all the applications in a multi-step process.

The first two rounds were reviewed on a variety of criteria with absolutely no applicant information visible to reviewers. In the third round, the selection committee took into account the applicants’ credentials, places of employment and years of experience with Tales of the Cocktail. The final round was a discussion format that focused on the scores, not just within each category, but also as whole. With this, the selection committee considered the amount of potential impact each proposed project could have on the industry.

Two of the scholarship winners are members of the 2010 Cocktail Apprentice leadership team and thus on the selection committee. These two members of the selection committee were not permitted to review applications in their initial categories, had limited participation in the discussion of fund allocation in different categories and even sacrificed some of the funds available to them in order to see more applicants awarded scholarships. They also did not have advance notice of review criteria and other applications.

Applicants who did not receive scholarships this year are encouraged to apply next year, as this program is an on-going initiative of Tales of the Cocktail®. The selection committee is eager to see the results of these projects, as well as, collaborating with one of this year’s winners to choose the grants in 2011.

The 2011 Cocktail Apprentice Scholarship recipients are:

Mike Ryan (Head Bartender, Sable Bar and Restaurant – Chicago)
Class of 2009 and 2010 CAP Team Leader

$3500.00 to attend the Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR) class in New York City
BAR is an independent organization comprised of six of the world’s leading spirits and cocktail authorities dedicated to educating, guiding and propagating the healthy, enlightened and responsible use of beverage alcohol products. Students study in-depth bartending techniques, base spirit production, tasting and usage as well as the history of the craft in an intensive five-day spirituous equivalent to a Master Sommelier course.

Navarro Carr (Bartender, The Sound Table – Atlanta)
Class of 2010

$1500.00 for “A Journey Into the World of Rhum Agricole”
“A Journey into the World of Rhum Agricole” is an educational excursion to Martinique-French West Indies to visit a variety of rum distilleries. The overall objective is to gain a better understanding of how Rhum Agricole is produced from sugar cane harvest to bottling. Navarro will have the rare opportunity to travel to an A.O.C. designated region and experience how terroir, cane selection, harvest methods, fermentation, distillation and maturation play a role in producing specific Rhum Agricoles. Upon returning to the states, Navarro will present his research to several bartending education organizations.

Thomas Klus (Bartender, Teardrop Cocktail Lounge – Portland)
Class of 2010

$2500.00 for “A Bridge to Islay”
Tommy will be partaking in an immersion internship primarily with Master Distiller
Jim McEwan at Bruichladdich Distillery in Islay, Scotland as well as several other regional distilleries with the goals of learning the complete distillation process as well as creating a bond between the U.S. and Islay to help preserve the traditions and culture of the island. Thomas will become an Islay Ambassador upon return, working not only to educate the U.S. on Islay, but continuing to work with the distillers there to help them understand and adapt to the needs and desires of bartenders working with their product.

Nicholas Jarrett and Brad Farran (Bartenders, Clover Club – Brooklyn)
Class of 2009 and 2010

$5,000.00 to create a green, zero-impact bar to be used in future bar designs
Working with a green industrial designer, Nicolas and Brad will develop the logistical infrastructure to assemble a functioning bar system with zero impact, one that recycles or reuses all byproducts of daily operation from materials to discarded garnish to grey water. This design will be put to the test in one of the most grueling event spaces, Burning Man 2012. From there the techniques used will be refined and made available for others to incorporate into their pop up bar setups at events throughout the world as well as into permanent bars.

Rhiannon Enlil (Bartender, Cure – New Orleans)
Class of 2008

$3,000.00 for a Cocktail Timeline Website
Rhiannon will create a web-based, visually-organized encyclopedic timeline of cocktails. This historic reference guide will start with eight key New Orleans cocktails and expand from there, giving users a single readable line with more in depth information available at their choosing depending on their desired topic of study. This site will not be a narrative, rather a user driven research tool based solely on factual references which will be archived into the site, not only making original source material easily viewable to all researchers, but also preserving it in one easily searchable location.

Don Lee (Bartender and Consultant, New York)
CAP Team Leader for Class of 2008, 2009 and 2010

$5,000.00 to study Descriptive Language of Spirits and Cocktails
Working with one of the industry’s foremost sensory analysts, Don Lee will create a collaborative project to develop a universal scientific language to describe the flavor profiles of every major spirit category and basic cocktail family. The project will start by using a series of planned blind tastings with groups across the country to amass descriptive data. Once a comprehensive language of general taste perceptions is created, a more formal panel of trained tasting experts will be selected to analyze and describe specific bottlings and cocktails with this new language. The new language will not favor or endorse any one brand but help the industry as a whole to better describe and understand spirits and cocktails in a way understood by all. All non-discriminatory, non-competitive, non-brand specific information will be shared freely on a website for the benefit of the community.

Sharon Floyd (Bartender, Iris – New Orleans)
Class of 2010

$2,500.00 to study “The Botanical Bar”
The shared histories of the apothecary, bartender and the medicinal properties of alcohol are familiar to most today, but much understanding is lacking where the specific plants are concerned. Sharon will embark with an Ayurvedic medicinal practitioner on a comprehensive study of herbs and plants most used in the cocktail world. Their research will ultimately result in a comprehensive reference work of herbal medicine as it relates to spirits and cocktail creation allowing for further creative collaboration between these two worlds.

Sudeep Rangi (Bartender, Smuggler’s Cove – San Francisco)
Class of 2010

$2,000.00 to study a “General Theory on Drunkenness”
Drawing upon his degree in Neuroscience, Behavioral Biology and Philosophy from Emory University, Sudeep will examine how we can attempt to understand drunkenness not as a temporary form of lawlessness, but as a necessary biological and social function. Expanding on the works of Mikhail Bakhtin, Sudeep will attempt to answer the question of what social function do bars and the consumption of alcohol play throughout history and across societies. He will also examine how this function is a part of the natural human condition by examining the tension between the lawlessness drunkenness produces in the mind and societies attempt to simultaneously regulate individuals. Ultimately his goal is to synthesize the work into a book and his future legal work.