GSN Blogging Tales 2014: Prelude to Adventure

TOTC-2014-BloggingTales of the Cocktail is always an adventure, but even getting there this year was an unexpected adventure.

Based on previous visits to New Orleans, I decided that this time I would arrive a day early and leave the day after the TOTC festival took place. So, on a Tuesday morning I got a flight from Syracuse, NY to Washington DC to catch my connecting flight to NOLA. All went well, in spite of having only a few minutes to get from one gate to another to board the second plane. They were actually boarding as I arrived at the gate. In my seat, I was looking forward to having a cocktail in anticipation of a fairly long flight. We taxied away from the terminal, and then proceeded to drive around the entire airport for the next 20 minutes. The pilot then said that they had been told to change the original direction of take-off, and we were in line. Ten minutes later, he said there was a severe storm front coming in and no planes could take off or land. A half an hour later he said that the entire airport was shut down due to lightning. So, we sat on the plane for another hour. After then storm, the pilot then announced that due to Federal regulations, he and the crew were unable to fly us to New Orleans as they would go over their allotted amount of air time for the day. So, we headed back to the terminal to await another flight.

In the meantime, I texted my wife what had been happening, and as soon as she heard about the cancelled flight, she booked me a sleeper car on Amtrak from DC to NOLA. It was to leave from Union Station at 6:30pm. So, I avoided all the lines of frustrated flyers trying to book other flights, and took a cab to the train station. Of course, it was rush hour in DC by this point and it took a while to get there. All the while, I still hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast or had anything to drink other than a glass of water on the plane. So, after making sure my train ticket was good to go, I sat down at a restaurant in the middle of the station and ordered a dinner of a charcuterie platter (huge!) and a few local beers.

Finally sated, I made my way to the platform only to hear that my train was delayed due to equipment problems. And it continued to be delayed every fifteen minutes for the next few hours. Finally at 9:15pm, I boarded my sleeper car and relaxed. After another beer and a few shots from a bottle of Bushmill’s I bought at the station, I called it a night and slept until 7:00am the next day.

Well, slept isn’t really quite the word. If you’ve never tried to sleep on a train, it’s quite different. Speeding up, slowing down, loud clanking noises from the tracks, conductors making announcements of upcoming stations, etc… woke me up several times during the night. But, it was better than having to sleep in coach or in an airport terminal!

Anyway, the rest of the journey was pleasant, and I got to talk with a few folks at breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining car. One woman is from New Orleans and knew all about Tales of the Cocktail. She told me all kinds of insider information on life in the Crescent City and why she loves it. Another gentlemen had just quit his job to move to New Orleans from Washington DC and be near his son and grandchildren. Turns out that his son is a clarinetist who plays a weekly Saturday night gig at The Spotted Cat on Frenchman St.  Check them out at http://panoramajazzband.com/

I finally arrived at 10:15pm, took a cab to my hotel and even before I unpacked, walked up to the local Compac store and bought myself an Abita Restoration Ale. Believe me, I need restoring after traveling for nearly 36 hours! I was finally in my second home. Lovely and welcoming New Orleans… #totc

GSN Alert: Tales of the Cocktail on Tour in Buenos Aires 2013

April 28-30, 2013, the world’s premier cocktail festival is taking its  show south of the equator to Buenos Aires for a mini-festival of seminars, events and more.

NEW ORLEANS, LA – December 19, 2012 – After two successful years in Vancouver, Tales of the Cocktail® on Tour, Tales of the Cocktail’s annual international satellite festival, is heading to Buenos Aires. In April 2013, Argentine and other South American cocktail lovers will have a taste of what Tales of the Cocktail® is all about with a curated schedule of seminars, events and more.

“Vancouver will always be a special place for Tales of the Cocktail®. For two years the people of Vancouver welcomed us with open arms sharing their city and their intense passion for cocktails with us,” said Ann Tuennerman, Founder of Tales of the Cocktail®. “As much as we wanted to continue in Vancouver, Tales of the Cocktail® on Tour was always meant to be a traveling event and it was time to take Tales of the Cocktail® to other parts of the world.”

“It has been our utmost pleasure and honor to help build, host and participate in the Tales of the Cocktail® on Tour program during it’s two-year cycle in Vancouver,” said Lauren Mote, Events Director of the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association. “ As we waive goodbye with a happy send-off, we are excited to move forward in the Vancouver cocktail landscape and Canadian cocktail industry with some new, inspired events.”

Tales of the Cocktail® on Tour was developed in 2011 to take a little bit of the industry’s premier cocktail event around the world. Next year’s festival in Buenos Aires will feature seminars from some of the world’s top mixologists, tastings of new spirits, special events and more. As was the case in Vancouver, Tales of the Cocktail® on Tour will also dive into the local spirits culture, celebrating the unique flavor that has put Buenos Aires on the cocktail map.

“I am so excited that Tales on Tour is making its next stop in Buenos Aires,” said Charlotte Voisey, Portfolio Ambassador for William Grant & Sons USA and a founding partner of Tales of the Cocktail® on Tour. “The undeniable European connections that Buenos Aires has provide an obvious tie to New Orleans, not least as a culture of Bon Vivants who hold high the priorities of eating well and drinking together through good times and bad. As Tales on Tour heads south to spread the cocktail gospel, I have no doubt that its new host city will have plenty to teach in return.”

“Angels Share has been working for some months now to act as a catalyst to the exploding Argentine cocktail scene,” said Charles Munat, Founder of Angels Share, Buenos Aires. “One of our biggest goals has been to bring Tales of the Cocktail®, the world’s premier cocktail event, here to Buenos Aires. Today, that goal is realized. Look out, world. Here we come.”

“Buenos Aires is the cocktail capital of South America as New Orleans is one of the most important in North America,” said Martin Auzmendi, Cocktail and Spirits Journalist.  “Tales coming to Buenos Aires is the chance to share experiences and show to the world how big the cocktail culture here.”

For the latest updates on dates, events and tickets to Tales of the Cocktail® on Tour Buenos Aires, visit TalesoftheCocktail.com.