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Tales Highlights, Part III

Probably my favorite thing about having a media credential for Tales of the Cocktail is breakfast. And of course lunch, but a good breakfast is essential. There’s a super-secret room where presenters, media and VIPs get to tie on the feedbag. Each meal has a different sponsor, usually a distiller. Cocktails are served, of course, and the food complements or incorporates the featured spirits. For example, the Bulleit lunch included salad with bourbon vinaigrette, bourbon glazed chicken, bourbon braised brisket, potatoes with bourbon gravy, and bread pudding with bourbon sauce. Get the idea? I also met Hollis Bulleit, and from Tom Bulleit I learned that their new rye is made in Indiana. I made sure to pick up some Bulleit Rye soon after Tales ended. Good stuff.

That was a delicious meal, but my favorite of all was the breakfast sponsored by Pisco Portón. I had ceviche, quail, andouille and potatoes, coffee, pisco smoothie.

Snapper Ceviche

I’ve been making ceviche for a year now, as I’ve mentioned recently. But this was the first time I got to taste some I didn’t make myself. (Well, except for that Canton ceviche I tasted at Tales back in 2009, but that was in a very different style.) I felt extremely validated, as it tasted more or less like mine. Conclusion: I must be doing it right.

Strangely enough I also ran into Judy Walker of the Times-Picayune. It was her column that got me crazed for ceviche in the first place.

I had a little gap in my schedule and so found myself unexpectedly gawking as Jon Santer cut through a 300 lbs. block of ice.

Anu Apte and Andrew Bohrer can be seen catching snow for juleps. Madness! Andrew described this as the “least philosophical seminar” at Tales: “It’s using a tool to cut a thing.” Andrew’s posted more videos and his slides. His blog is really quite a lot of fun, so check it out. See especially Ten Rules of Drinking Like a Man.

Did you know that Pierre Ferrand launched their 1840 Original Formula Cognac at Tales this year?

Pierre Ferrand 1840

It should be available around the country by now, but they started in the New Orleans market. According to Kevin Gray, this style of Cognac is well suited to mixing in cocktails. Cognac was once a very popular cocktail ingredient, and it seems to be resurgent, which is fine by me. Brandy is my favorite spirit. I’ve got a couple of these 1840 sample bottles which I hope to revisit when the time is right.

More to come.

Published inFood & DrinxPix


  1. Mike Paxson (featuring Susie) Mike Paxson (featuring Susie)

    Actually, Bart, a serving of ceviche Florida style (the way you made it at Vero Beach featuring cilantro) sounds fantastic right now as the sole side dish/salad to an entree of, possibly, steak or game fowl. I really liked it, but didn’t think I would be in the mood for more a few weeks later.

  2. Love ceviche, my favorite type is scallop, absolutely delicious. From the picture I must say the fish seems to be to finely chopped, but what do I know I’m a bartender!?!

  3. According to Kevin Gray??? I’m sorry did you mean Degroff, or Regan, or Kevin Smith? According to “Ted Schmultz”, you may use wine in your cocktails, NK!

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