Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tales of the Cocktail - Day 4

So Day 4 was finally upon me! This was it! Four months of preparation, endless mails, heartaches, thankful gestures to outright neglect and to a very annoying and highly painful logistics company (you might want to avoid) called FedEx, my seminar on native Indian spirits was about an hour away!  I joined Keebler and Julia Bell, my seminar coordinators to prepare the batch of the feni cocktail for tasting and it turned out very well, thankfully! So we were tasting a grand total of three spirits – A Feni from Madame Rosa and Kazkar (available in the US) for the Cocktails and two herbs & spice liqueurs from Royal Heritage Liqueurs (Rajasthan) – Kesar Kasturi & Royal Mawalin.

Set up for the seminar

I had about 60 people for my spiel on our native brews and surprisingly they had more than just a  few questions. While everybody ‘said’ that the feni was ‘interesting’ & ‘different’ (I know what that one meant!) the cocktail with feni – The Goan Antidote – was actually very well received. But I guess every one was looking forward to the Royal Heritage Liqueurs and the Royal Mawalin was by far the hands down winner and the response to both the liqueurs was superb! Now I wish that I had smaller versions of these to hand out as gifts because people were filling up hip flasks with left overs from unused glasses as they wanted some to carry back for an after dinner digestif! Now any one who has tried these liqueurs would know that they are actually quite dry and the addition of sugar is just to offset the bitterness from the herbs, I feel. End of it all I was humbled by the response for the session and the products. Later I got Steven Olson, partner at Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR) one of the USA’s most exclusive and premier beverage training program providers and one of the experts on the panel of Bar Smarts USA , try the Royal Mawalin and in his opinion this is what might have NYC bartenders excited as they are always looking for new stuff! The same thought was echoed by Drink historians and authorities Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller who felt the flavours were brilliant with excellent mixing potential. And infact a few enterprising folks from my session had already tried a couple of recipes with exciting results! All of this obviously had me excited – My only hope was that the guys behind these brands would do something to address this potential. Sigh!

Saturday evening saw the entire fraternity come together for the Spirited Awards Ceremony at the Hyatt for this years awards in various categories ranging from best new bar to the best cocktail list to the best cocktail book. And these awards have become some the most sought after in the beverage world because for a change brand affinity doesn’t get you the returns here. Rather it’s your peer set that votes for you. If you’ve been good J

Took out time to hop across to MOTAC, Museum of the American Cocktail.

Pre 1900 exhibits on display. I wonder if any Indian bars would even have the essential modern day equivalent of these…

So this was my last evening in New Orleans before I headed off to Bourbon Country for an adventure to America’s distilling heartland. And tales is not surprisingly damn addictive. And all the mind wants is a re run! I am sure there are many who feel the same way and have kept coming back for the past 10 years.

With Ann Tuennerman, Founder of the Tales of the Cocktail

Untill next time then!




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