If you’ve never been to Tales of the Cocktail, you’re missing out on an incredible and educational experience.

Yes, it’s in New Orleans in July, and you might need a spatula to peel your sandals from the hot pavement, but you’ll have an endless supply of refreshing cocktails to cool you down. And water. Lots of water.

I have two seminars this year. It’s Bond: Bottled-in-Bond (Heaven Hill sponsor) is July 21 at 10 a.m., and The New Age of Bourbon (Angel’s Envy sponsor) is July 23 at 12:30 p.m. In Bottled-in-Bond, we’ll explore the history and taste of bottled-in-bond whiskey and brandy. The New Age of Bourbon shows who’s breaking the old school bourbon rules. Both will be edgy, fun and come with good drink.

Distillers pay big money to pour cocktails at Tales. So, they batch every cocktail and making it as tasty as possible.

Distillers pay big money to pour cocktails at Tales. So, they batch every cocktail and making it as tasty as possible.

Every drinks enthusiast should attend Tales at least once. You see where cocktail trends begin and might actually witness whiskey sourcing deals begin in the lobby of the Hotel Montleone. The Carousel Bar is a melting pot of international spirits managers, and some bring checkbooks and contracts. Seriously.

For bourbon lovers, you get an idea of the distillery’s on-premise business strategies. I remember five years ago Four Roses was “trying” to sell bartenders on their private barrel selection. Now, there’s a waiting list.

You also see what is the next big mixer, such as Canton, and anchor ingredient. This year, Amaro might be the leading non-base spirit leader. Whiskey and rum are strong contenders for the focus spirits, and Robert Burr has an interesting seminar American Rum Revolution.

You can see the whole schedule here.

If you come, let me know in advance. We’ll grab a drink!

Cheers!

Fred Minnick is the author of Bourbon Curious.