Here in Spirits

Where’s the heat!? Where’s the humidity!? With temperatures only in the low 90’s and the humidity in check, a big part of the Tales experience is missing this year. No two people could possibly have the same track in a day filled with seminars, events, cocktails and “Hey how are yous” but the mild suffering and moderate misery the weather causes usually bands us all sweatily together.

I almost want one day of it just so everyone who is here for the first time will see what I was going on about. Almost…

Being able to enjoy being outside really paid off last night. Had it been a typical sticky night I would have not ventured outside of the William Grant & Son’s Swinging 40’s Shore Leave Ball held at the National WWII museum.

And, had I not I would have missed the live cow that was keeping a watchful eye on the Hendrick’s gin Shaker Boys. Even with the dozen pairs of hands shaking away, their delicious Ramos Gin Fizzes flew off the bar and a few even ended up with a float of fresh cow milk straight from the surely nonplussed heifer. Uh, different, and kind of cool, but weird. I’m hoping this does not start a new trend.

To say that this party was amazing does not do it justice. I have not been to an event where even jaded bartenders (and most of us are pretty jaded) were talking about how cool everything was. Of course the drinks were excellent, and each spirit was brilliantly showcased with a unique theme. Every area of the museum and the grounds featured a different brand in the William Grant & Son’s portfolio and all featured a 40’s theme from Soda jerk to Tiki to shore leave tattoo parlor. It was hard to know where to begin – Gabriel Erenzo’s (from Tuthilltown Spirits) delicious Hudson Whiskey Highballs? Julie Reiner’s Tiki Bar upstairs? Some Glenfiddich in the Stag Lounge? Or how about a shot of ice-cold Stoli and some freshly shucked oysters followed by a dram of Balvenie from a tea-cup served by a very handsome Naval officer standing in front of a vintage Roadster?

The place was kept hoping by an incredible performance by an Andrew Sisters-esque trio.

Tales of the Cocktail - William Grant and Sons

We walked the long walk (why not it was almost balmy) to the Monteleone to meet up with friends and head over to Cure, one of the top cocktail bars in the city. However, (just to keep my track record of trying to get there and missing it at a perfect 7-0) we ended up running into Joe Fee from Fee Brother’s bitters instead.

To know Joe is to love him. Every year he comes to Tales with the newest (top secret) bitters in their line-up in his pocket. Giddy with glee he will let you shake some out onto your hand or even straight into your mouth (we trust him) without him first revealing the flavor. It’s all part of the game. Now guess. Those who guess right might be able to take their own bottle home with them to be the envy of all until the new flavor makes its way through distribution. I’m not spilling the nuts, oops I mean the beans, but let me just say, this one might be their best one yet.

So the night ended up with another weird animal moment. Fried pickles and Estonian beer in a dive bar where a pit bull had his own seat at the bar. Only at Tales. Okay, maybe not only at Tales, but if you add in that it was with the legendary Joe Fee, then yes… ONLY at Tales.

At least I was in good company. And I wasn’t sweating.

Today is the Zu Bison Riding block party in front of the Old Absinthe House, right after the USBG’s annual midnight gathering; the Celebration of 250 years of Bombay being held at the House of Blues and the Drambuie Nail or Fail Cocktail quiz show. All of this is after the DIAGEO Happy hour held at the Presbytere, which is one of my favorite events each year. And the Berentzen tasting room, the Sandeman contest, the Angostura lunch, the Oxley Gin Breakfast. Breakfast!! Got to run.

Stay tuned…