Tales of the Cocktail was a mere legend to me before I actually got invited to go … if you are unaware for a week during the sexiest month of the summer in New Orleans, every label, bartentender, mixologist, club owner, and booze aficionado descends on the Crescent City to explore everything alcohol. It’s basically like the NAB of Booze and it is out of this world. I mean … just look at this insane schedule if you need convincing.

You will find new ways to make cocktails, new drinks, new everything. There are shows and competitions and every dark corner of the city is taken over by a pop-up of some boozy kind. Best of all there are parties, insane alcohol fueled parties where all the drinks are free. It’s a week long, and honestly it is a marathon and should be illegal because it is so much fun.

I got to go down there with the team lead by Gary Gruver of Marriott and Chris Adams of Ellis Adams Group to spotlight their premiere bar in the Ritz Carlton “All Kinds”. The event was a stunner, with a luxurious lounge inside that showcased local interactive art, caviar bumps, and a futuristic steam punk automatic pour of the world’s rarest brandy by our friends at Buffalo Trace. Out in the courtyard was full Mardi Gras with a champagne wall, floats, and crazy blue cocktails in the gazebo. I floated around with my camera, trying to capture the fernetic energy all around as best I could (while holding a drink with the other hand … so hard to pull focus with just one hand).

If you’re wondering how this magic all came to be, I was introduced to Gary through one of my best friends Olivier Rassinoux, when we did a few fun films for Marriott’s new Bourbon program. The rest was drink history.

If you love drinking or drink culture or just a great time, definitely keep an eye out for Tales of the Cocktail … anyone can buy tickets to the events and it’s beyond a good time. I’m still friends with the whole team there, they are really like one big family, and you know what they say … “the family that drinks together, stays together … but may not remember anyone’s birthday”.