“Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Livers!”

With that challenge, Kevin Brauch (the reporter on Iron Chef America who is not Alton Brown, thank Gawd) opened up Tales of the Cocktail.

But first things first. Today’s kick-off event was Toast to Tales of the Cocktail in the Riverview Room of the Hotel Montleone. NOLA blogger Loki of Humid City and the Krewe of Chartreuse offered up the first ceremonial toast of the day, which was dedicated to the Sazerac cocktail’s enshrinement as New Orleans’ official cocktail.

Ann Teunnerman, founder of the New Orleans culinary and cocktail event, spoke this afternoon and went over some of the highlights of the five-day celebration. When Ann announced Tale’s revival of the Green Hour and return of absinthe to America, the crowd went wild.

I have been assigned to write a story about absinthe and New Orleans, so my attendance at the various Tales of the Cocktail events will be centered around those featuring the spirit. There are many, many other events taking place: seminars, symposia, luncheons, dinners, tours and tastings. Here is the listing and ticket information.

Today’s event was tasting of absinthes offered by Lucid, Marteau and La Fee.

That’s the money shot of the day: absinthe being prepared the old-fashioned way with an ice water drip from a fountain.

The Absinthe Museum of America, opening this Saturday, is located at 823 Royal Street and hosted today’s event. Many absinthe artifacts—absinthia to the collector—will be on display, including this still, the fountain and glasses below, and many spoons, old bottles and artwork.

Ted Breaux, a New Orleans native and a driving force behind absinthe’s return to America was on hand. He is the also the creator of Lucid and several other varieties at Jade Liqueurs, overseeing its production at the Combier distillery in France’s Loire valley.

Marteau is made by Gwydion Stone, founder of the Wormwood Society, which is dedicated to bringing absinthe back to its rightful place in cocktail culture.

A number of bloggers/twitterers were there this afternoon. Loki, John Martin of Off-Focus, Leisa, Mr. Gunn and Robert Peyton of Appetites braved the afternoon heat to attend. Here’s a photo of John, Mr. Gunn and Loki, I’m sorry I had to leave for dinner with my folks and didn’t get more people in the picture.

More from Tales later this week. There is another absinthe event Friday at the Montleone’s Carousel Bar. I’ll attend that and make another report.

12 Responses to “Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Livers!”

  1. Stacey on July 17, 2008 at 7:38 am

    sounds like a fantastic time. I thought about going down, but just couldn’t muster up the energy. Now I wish I had!

    What was the best Absinthe?

  2. Nola on July 17, 2008 at 8:18 am

    Great pics. Green with envy. Green. Envy. Hehehehe. Hope to make it down Friday.

  3. dial_m on July 17, 2008 at 8:46 am

    KoC, represent!

  4. Pete on July 17, 2008 at 9:21 am

    Stacey, I’m not going to pick a winner until all my research is complete. So much absinthe, so little time.

  5. Robert on July 17, 2008 at 9:45 am

    What those pictures cannot show is the brutal, unrelenting heat. All worth it, however, for the opportunity to meet folks in person I’m following on Twitter.

  6. Ryan on July 17, 2008 at 9:57 am

    What Nola said.

    BTW, now that you have tried even more absinthe, which do you favor?

  7. Loki on July 17, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    The Marteau was my personal pick. Thanks for inflicting my ugly mug upon your readers, I hope you don’t lose too much traffic for doing that .

    We had a great time and it was terrific meeting some of the Twitter crowd in person. The Completely Mystick Order of The Krewe of Chartreuse salutes you!

  8. […] Comments « “Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Livers!” […]

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

  10. […] year absinthe made the biggest splash. This year, I think the handcrafted (and legal) moonshines are running neck-and-neck with cachaça […]

  11. […] Supermarket was carrying it in November of 2007. That was my first exposure to the spirit. By July 2008, when Tales took place, there were eight or so brands available legally here. During Tales of the […]

  12. […] a time, there was the Maison d’Absinthe and the Absinthe Museum of America which opened on Royal Street in 2008. I heard rumors last fall that it was closing (sad) and then, […]

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