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Tales of the Cocktail almost here

Even the bottles get dressed up for Tales of the Cocktail.
©Alan Smason

Let the pouring begin! The 12th annual Tales of the Cocktail, the New Orleans gets underway officially this Wednesday afternoon in the front of the Monteleone Hotel. But for those that are in the know, the action will commence a day or so before as spirits industry leaders, sponsors, bartenders and enthusiasts hit the streets and prepare for the five days of seminars, spirited dinners, tastings and competitions.

The headquarters will be the opulent Monteleone Hotel, but several seminars will take place at other venues including the Omni Royal Sonesta as well as several restaurants, where sponsored "spirited" dinners will take place Thursday evening. In addition several other restaurants are opening up their regular clientele to opportunities to participate in "spirited" dinner they are sponsoring in addition to their regular menus. This way those that want to enjoy a taste of Tales of the Cocktail can do so without having to go to a venue with which they are unfamiliar. Not that that ever stopped anyone from enjoying a TOC event before.

Paul and Ann Tuennerman, affectionately known as Mr. and Mrs. Cocktail, are welcoming hundreds of participants, dozens of sponsors and a goodly number of worldwide media, who are covering the event.

The next several days will also mean several massive welcome parties put on by major spirits players will be cranking up to make everyone feel welcome and definitely satisfied. The Spare Room is presenting a night of bowling and drinking - a lethal combination - at the famous Rock 'N Bowl in the Pigeon Town area. Sponsors include Kahlua, Peroni Italia and Pernod Ricard USA. An Absolut welcome party with strict invitations to participants, sponsor and media kicks things off on Wednesday night with location to be determined. The pickup will be at the Saint Hotel, but only registered guests will be allowed to take transport to the secret venue.

This is a festival that makes other festivals jealous. Imagine all of the delicious drinks and sumptuous tastes associated with the cocktails industry distilled into just a few days. Nothing could be finer than to be in the Vieux Carré for this, the 12th annual Tales of the Cocktail.

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