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Top 10 Activities for Tales of the Cocktail Civilians

Even if you’re not attending Tales of the Cocktail, you can still get in on the spirit (see what we did there?) with these 10 events.

carousel bar cocktail
A cocktail from the famed Carousel Bar inside Hotel Monteleone (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

This month, cocktail experts and aficionados will swoop down on New Orleans to partake in the 17th annual Tales of the Cocktail (TOTC, or Tales, for short), from July 16 – 21.

These days, it’s a lot easier to pick and choose seminars, tasting rooms, and events a la carte so you don’t need to go all in, like in years past. However, if you so choose, you can go all in with the VIP Ticket Package ($550), or attend a single seminar for $65.

If you just can’t decide, we’ve rounded up out top 10 activities for the fest, which will be held July 16-21 this year. Whether you’re a hardcore Tales attendee or simply a cocktail enthusiast, you’re bound to enjoy yourself at one of these events.

Elegant, forward-thinking yet classic, and strong are all words I'd use to describe the cocktails from Abigail Gullo at Compere Lapin. She previously helmed the bar at SoBou in the French Quarter, and her new playground in the Warehouse District is firing on all cylinders with her ever-changing whimsical bar menu. Full disclosure: she's a personal friend. We had a fun movie night recently in a gorgeous hotel room at the Old No. 77 watching old movies on TCM. The hotel is dog friendly, too, so we brought along her best little friend Ronnie for the night.
Elegant, forward-thinking yet classic, and strong are all words to describe the cocktails from Abigail Gullo at Compere Lapin. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

10 Ways to Toast Tales of the Cocktail

1. Shop for cocktail books while tasting bitters

Throughout the event, the Royal Sonesta will have authors signing books during its “Shots of Inspiration Author Signings and Bitters Tastings.”

2. Toast to Tales

On Tuesday at 1 p.m., join the organizers and loyal fans of Tales of the Cocktail to raise a glass for the event’s 17th anniversary. It will be followed by the keynote State of the Trade address.

3. Celebrate Women in Whiskey

On Tuesday at 6 p.m., enjoy a spirited dinner while learning about women’s legacy in the whiskey industry from Founder of Women & Whiskey and Executive Bourbon Steward Brandalyn Tabor. The event will be held at Evangeline Restaurant in the French Quarter.

4. Go on a cocktail tour of New Orleans

There’s no better way to explore the rich cocktail history of the city than with a tour of the French Quarter. Join tour guide John Gendusa and his team for a quick lesson on cocktails in New Orleans at Napoleon House. Then, the group will head out to share tales of the famous bars, restaurants, people, and cocktails that made New Orleans such a famous place to have a drink. Cocktails will be available for purchase along the way. The tours are held Tuesday through Saturday of the festival from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

5. Taste the Tales

Get 5-days of unlimited access to taste products from 50+ brands throughout Tales 2019. YOu can purchase your Á La Carte Tasting Room Wristband for access to: Grab & Geaux, Tales Headliner Series, Morning Bar, Daily Tasting Rooms, Pool Side Lounges, Brand Educations, Bourbon Balcony Tastings, Corner Bar.

6. Get Moving at Tales with the Healthy Hospo Running Club

Join Healthy Hospo for a gentle, morning 5km (3 mile) run around New Orleans and start your day off strong. All grades of runners are welcome – as the group makes it clear that this is a social run, not a race.

7. Take on Tiki & Slow Jams 

If you want to slow groove at Tales of the Cocktail, join Tiki & Slow Jams for an inclusive and welcoming experience curated with tropical cocktails, nostalgic R&B and good vibes. Be a part of the multicultural bartender community to celebrate and collaborate at Dragon’s Den from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16.

8. Partake in the Spirited Dinner series

Explore the food & cocktail scene of New Orleans during Tales of the Cocktail 2019. Every year brands curate dining and drinking events – pairing the culinary & cocktail history of the Crescent City with your favorite spirits. Download the Tales of the Cocktail App or purchase tickets by selecting Spirited Dining & Drinking.

9. Learn about color in Spirit and Cocktails

At this seminar, you’ll learn about the options and pros and cons of using various natural colorings in your drinks at home and the bar. Discover the most popular natural coloring in the spirits world: caramel that’s used in rum, whisky, and tequila, and other spirits. Learn how to remove color from cocktails and spirits by charcoal filtration as is done with aged rum and cristalino tequilas. The seminar costs $65 and takes place on Saturday, July 20 from 12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m at the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

10. Save Your Seat at Poppy’s Pop-Up Drag Brunch

Close out Tales of the Cocktail and join local foodie Poppy Tooker for her three course, drag brunch at Tujague’s. The menu includes specialty items like tomato & watermelon salad with shaved sweet onions, crumbled feta, with a Pimm’s Cup vinaigrette and Grasshopper Panna Cotta. The brunch features bottomless mimosas, unlimited coffee and tea. Tickets are $75 and the brunch takes place Sunday, July 21st at 11 a.m.

Nora McGunnigle is a freelance beer, food and travel writer in New Orleans, where she focuses on the unique food and beer culture of Louisiana and the Gulf region. Her work can be found in publications like Beer Advocate, Thrillist, and Eater NOLA. You can often find her holding important meetings at the Avenue Pub or Turkey and the Wolf. Follow her on Twitter at @beerfoodtravels and keep up with her work at

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