Tales of the Cocktail; New Orleans’ Citywide Open Bar

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This past week, for the 15th year in a row, the global bar industry descended upon New Orleans to help the city do what it does best… drink!  New Orleans is always a party, but when thousands of passionate cocktail drinkers converge it is a sight to behold.

Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans

What is Tales of the Cocktail?

Tales of the Cocktail is the premier gathering of bar industry professionals (bartenders, brand reps., distillers, mixologists, and everyone else worth knowing).  There are a number of seminars on everything from gins of the world to bartending robots, tasting rooms full of unique and inspired spirits, and the odd celebrity guest.

A special appearance by Snoop Dogg for this years Tales of the Cocktail

It takes place every Summer in New Orleans, and in a different city every year with Tales on Tour.  This year’s city was Edinburgh and though there’s no official announcement, there are some strong rumors surrounding Cuba 2018!

Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans

Why You Should Attend?

I am not what one might call an “industry professional” (though I do make a mean mojito), but there’s still plenty to be gained.  As a self proclaimed cocktail aficionado, being around that much booze certainly has it’s appeal.  Attending Tales as a cocktail fan is a great way to rub elbows cocktail royalty and discover some new favorites.  In fact, Tales of the Cocktail is where I discovered Gin Mare, a gin with olives and rosemary that makes a pretty mean Red Snapper.

As a traveler, attending Tales of the Cocktail is seeing New Orleans at its best.  Cocktails and hospitality are where New Orleans shines and that’s true tenfold during Tales.  New Orleans is widely attributed with the birth, or at least perfection, of the cocktail. There are plenty of amazing spots to grab a drink year round, but during Tales every imaginable space turns into a bar.  Ever want to drink Hennessy in a gas light factory?  Now you can!

Benvolo Gas Light Hennessy Pop Up Bar durng Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans

As a red blooded American, I love swag!  get ready to take home 1000 hats, tee shirts, and sunglasses (and maybe a few bottles if you play your cards right).

Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans

How to Make the Most of Your Time at Tales.

The tickets to Tales are all sold a la carte.  Spend $150 in individual tickets to seminars and special events on the Tales of the Cocktail website, and that will get you a nifty wristband that will get you into all of the tasting rooms, where you can sample cocktails and spirits to your hearts content.  Of course, the wristbands are cloth and you’ll dunk them into every bowl of gumbo, but I guess that’s a fair trade off.

The first of many gumbos the Tales of the Cocktail wristband would absorb

The best part of Tales of the Cocktail are the invite only parties!  I won’t lie, that sweet pink media wristband opens a lot of doors, but there are other ways to make your way onto those exclusive lists.  The smartest way is to just be awesome to everyone you meet.  The brand reps are everywhere handing out invites to various parties around town.  Another great way to stay abreast of the extra curriculars is the Tales Attendees Facebook group.  There are many events listed there that don’t even make it to the official schedule.  It’s also a great resource to ask for a contact if there’s a particular event that’s been alluding you.

Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans

Don’t Be That Guy

There are no shortages of good times to be had at Tales and everyone partakes, but it’s important to remember that this is first and foremost a meeting of industry minds and networking event.  These are professionals eager to share their passion with the world, not college kids pouring shots of fireball.  If you’re ready to party like it’s Spring Break, this is not the event for you.  If you want to party like it’s Spring Break, but now you’re in your 30s and have a taste for the good stuff but you know how much it hurts when you overdo it at this stage in the game.. this is the party for you.  The cocktails will be flowing from 9am on through the next morning, this takes a certain level of maturity.  You don’t have to finish everything (I still struggle with that one) and you can’t try it all.  The spirit is willing, but the liver is weak.

Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans

The dates for next year’s Tales have just been announced, July 17-22, 2018.  Tickets are not yet on sale, but it’s never too early to start training your liver.

*Dislclosure* As credentialed media I was given a free wristband in exchange for coverage, but all opinions are always my own.






26 thoughts on “Tales of the Cocktail; New Orleans’ Citywide Open Bar

  1. Wow! It seems a very atractive reason to visit New Orleans. I guess t should be a tour with friends only (no family) to get more fun with unlimited cocktail flow. And it seems the Tales Attendees Facebook group is increasing more members. I am coming!

  2. This event looked like so much fun… and Snoop Dogg as a bonus! It would be cool to see an event like that in Cuba next year. I bet the variation of mojitos will be spectacular!

  3. I am not a drinker but maybe they could teach me some amazing mocktail recipes! That is the new thing going around and I just love it! Looks fun!
    Victoria recently posted…5 Reasons To Stay At The JW Marriott Las Vegas For Your Next GetawayMy Profile

  4. Well that does look like a high octane event. Not for me, wine tasting events are about as wild as I get but maybe fly on the wall would be fun.

  5. This would definitely be my kind of event! Thx for sharing.

  6. OK, so I’m starting my training this afternoon at my friend’s BBQ – I’d love to go – it looks amazingly good fun

  7. What a great event to attend and New Orleans is a great place to host for sure! Trying to imagine a bartending robot…

  8. I don’t drink so I guess this is not really for me.But still, I’m curious and would love to see bartending robots at work!

  9. Sounds like a great event to go to especially in New Orleans! Its a party already with out all the extra fan faire so it must of been epic!

  10. Thanks for the introduction, the cocktail bar looks great, and I wonder if there’s anything cool to see in town? @ knycx.journeying

  11. Quite informative and interesting reasons to visit New Orleans. Definitely, will give a try! 😀

  12. Not sure I’d be up for this type of event, but it sounds like fun and you’d for sure have to pace yourself and drink lots of water.

  13. What a fun event – will need to add Tales of the Cocktail to the wishlist. New Orleans is only a quick driving trip from Dallas 🙂

  14. Shannon

    You had me at open bar!! This looks like so much fun. I’ve been meaning to make a trip back to New Orleans. Definitely adding this to the list for when I do.

  15. What an awesome event! I agree that it can be really hard to not finish things, especially when they’re free/already paid for, but this is an event where moderation is important! I’d love to give this a go sometime!

  16. Laughing at ideas how to train my liver LOL! I make a mean unforgettable mojito too. Wish i can visit in July 2018.

  17. Great tips for experiencing this event, and I like how you stress moderation. This wouldn’t be for me, but it sounds like a great event and you enjoyed the experience.

  18. We aren’t drinkers, but this looks like a fun event. I like that you make a point about moderation. There are so many alcohol-related accidents and deaths that it really is a serious problem.

    • Mags

      Safety is important. This is a fun event, but it’s also full of industry professional and no one wants to see anyone get hurt!

  19. Ummmm…. why am I just learning about Tales now?? C’mon, Mags – I thought we were friends! Oh, see ya there next year.

    • Mags

      You will see me there next year indeed. I just wanted to do a trail run and to make sure I could survive it!

  20. Wow, what a fabulous industry event for cocktail lovers! I’ve never heard of Tales before, but now it’s on my To Do list, cocktail-lover than I am. 😉 What was your favorite cocktail?

    • Mags

      It’s such a fun event! My go to cocktail is usually the Old Fashioned, but I just discovered some great new ones to try.

  21. Almost 24 hours of overflowing cocktails!? It must be really fun in New Orleans!!!

  22. I am heading to New Orleans next year and am glad to hear the night life is thriving! Will check this out.

  23. I just want to say that I don’t drink so I guess this is not really for me.But still, I’m curious and would love to see bartending robots at work!

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