Absinthe and Applejack and Sazeracs Oh My! (Part 1)

I’ve decided to break this Tales of the Cocktail post into a few non-linear small parts. This part covers the first and last happenings of the day, the absinthe seminar and end-of-day cocktails at the Carousel Bar (below).

I continued on my quest at Tales of the Cocktail to learn all there is to know about absinthe and New Orleans. Nola came to see what all the Tales fuss is about and get back some of her blogging mojo lost in the summer doldrums.

I learned a little bit more today about absinthe at the seminar entitled “Cocktails with a Kick: Absinthe Returns to America.” Basically, it’s still so new on the scene no one knows what to do with it other than mix it with sugar and water. Panelists Paul Clarke and Gwydion Stone went through a lot of information. Although it’s predominate flavor is licorice, absinthes are made with a variety of herbs that give a multi-layered flavor profile that mixes well with many different cocktails. One of which, of course, is the original Sazerac; bartenders making them had to switch to other aromatic spirits like Herbsaint in the wake of absinthe’s ban. Here’s the Carousel Bar’s Sazerac, perched next to an Old Fashioned.

When we got to the Carousel Bar Friday evening, we spotted Chef John Besh hanging out waiting to give a presentation. Walking past him through the crowd looking for a place to sit, Nola said, “I just brushed up against John Besh’s ass.” Thoroughly impressed with her brush with greatness’ ass, I asked her if she wanted a picture with him. My day job magazine had featured his house in Pearl River after the storm, so I had an opening to talk to him. I spoke with him briefly about it, he was very nice and gracious and said he’d be happy to have his picture taken.

Chef Besh was very pleased to learn Lüke was Nola’s favorite restaurant, saying “Keep going. Please! I’ve still got to pay for it!” This was after some Philistine women hogged his attention for a picture for about 5 minutes. Very awkward, saying things like, “You’re almost as cute as my son,” or something like that.

So, everyone who wants to know what Nola looks like, here she is, cute as a button and with a real big smile, and not necessarily touching John Besh’s ass.

While spinning around on the Carousel Bar drinking our NOLA themed libations, I also spotted Kevin Brauch hanging out, and felt compelled (by the day’s booze?) to tell him I borrowed his line, “Ladies and gentlemen, start your livers!” as the title of Wednesday’s post. He liked the idea, and said he was almost hesitant to say it, not sure whether it would be offensive. We assured him it was not, but in fact, it was a very NOLA-appropriate thing to say. He talked to us for a few minutes about Tales, where it’s been (calling last year “magical”) and where it might go given how much attendance (and attention) has grown.

So many celebrities, so little time.

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3 Responses to Absinthe and Applejack and Sazeracs Oh My! (Part 1)

  1. Nola on July 19, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Grinning ear to ear was I in the glow of my favorite chef. Good at cooking and oh, so easy on the eyes. Definitely a good way to end the day. :)

  2. […] and cocktail festival held each summer here in New Orleans.  (Previous posts on Tales here, here, here and […]

  3. […] Montleone, one of New Orleans’ historic hotels, is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its Carousel Bar. The Royal Street landmark is famous for its literary […]

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