Tales of the Cocktail returns on tour to Edinburgh

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A look ahead at the return of Tales on Tour to Edinburgh in April

After a successful debut in 2017, Tales of the Cocktail on Tour returns to Edinburgh from April 7 to 10, with seminars featuring leading bar owners, bartenders and drinks industry figures. It is designed to educate, illuminate and entertain bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts, building on Tales of the Cocktail held in New Orleans every July.

The seminar programme will cover the techniques, history and business of making drinks, supported by brands such as Bacardí, Havana Club, El Guapo Bitters, Libbey Glassware, Aperitivo Select and Tipple Box.

Italian spirit expert Giuseppe Gallo, founder of the award-winning Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto aperitivo, will host a seminar on the Spritzer, from the Italian classic aperitivo to low-ABV cocktails, supported by Aperitivo Select.

Bacardí Global Brands is presenting “Breaking the Mould”, featuring bartenders Matt Whiley from Scout in London, Vasilis Kyritsis from The Clumsies in Athens, Mimi Lorandova from Proof & Co in Singapore and Joe Schofield from Tippling Club in Singapore, looking at some of the world’s most progressive and innovative beverage programmes.

Iain McPherson, founder of Edinburgh bars Panda & Sons and Hoot the Redeemer, will be joined in a seminar called “Ballin’ on a Budget” by Sullivan Doh of La Commune and Le Syndicat in Paris, Mia Johansson of Swift in London and Vasilis from The Clumsies to discuss raising your venue’s profile without a big PR budget.

Sullivan will also be part of a seminar, “The Dollars of Diversity”, with bartenders Hannah Lanfear, a Wine & Spirit Education Trust educator, and Monica Berg, moderated by cocktail specialist Elayne Duff. They will look at “boosting your bar’s bottom line by embracing inclusiveness”, from gender and race through to age, country of origin and social class, in both customers and workforce.

Jacob Briars, global advocacy director for Bacardí, will join Sly Augustin from Trailer Happiness in London and Bacardí’s UK brand ambassador Metinee Kongsrivilai to discuss “better bar music”. They will discuss the latest technology, how to promote your music offering, how to manage it, and what might be the best music to drink to.

Canadian whisky authority Davin de Kergommeaux will lead a seminar titled “Against the Grain”, with glassware expert Kevin Vollebregt. Presented by Libbey Glassware, it examines how grain translates into whisky flavours, including a tasting of newly distilled rye, wheat, barley and corn spirits.

Other events include Panda X Tales at Panda & Sons, featuring a collaboration with leading Amsterdam bar Tales & Spirits, with a range of serves with Banks Rums and a large bespoke ice sculpture taking centre stage. It runs at the Queen Street bar on Sunday April 8 from 5.30pm to 9.30pm. Jody Buchan and Sam Baxendale’s basement bar Kin in Barony Street will become home to Banks Rums through the festival from Saturday April 7 to Tuesday April 10, with a daily menu of punches and other cocktails, served in beautifully crafted pewter punch bowls.

Hi-Spirits is returning to Tales of the Cocktail on Tour with Southern Comfort, Buffalo Trace and Fernet-Branca hosting activity throughout the city. On Sunday April 8, it is running Toast to Tales, an official welcome sponsored by Southern Comfort, welcoming attendees from Edinburgh and beyond with some New Orleans hospitality, including Creole cuisine, New Orleans-inspired cocktails and a live brass band. It will be held at The Gallery Foyer in the Principal Charlotte Square hotel from 9.30pm, preceded by a welcome party hosted by Fernet-Branca at 99 Hanover Street.

As part of a day of events on Monday April 9 at Bryant & May, Fratelli Branca brand ambassador Nicola Olianas and Buffalo Trace ambassador Ian Melville are hosting the Antique meets Vintage Masterclass at 1.30pm. Click here to sign up. It will be followed at 4pm by a Buffalo Trace Distillery masterclass, including an opportunity to try expressions from the 2017 Antique Collection. Click here to sign up. From 7pm, Buffalo Trace and Fratelli Branca will present an evening of whiskey, Fernet-Branca, and vintage vermouth.

On Tuesday April 10, a basketball tournament between Fernet-Branca and Porters Gin will take place from 1pm at the Pleasance Sports Hall. Bartenders can email ianm@hi-spirits.com to join the team.

The festival will be centred around The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square hotel, where rooms are available at special rates with promotional code “TOTC”.

Tales on Tour is the first major event for Tales of the Cocktail after it was sold by founders Ann and Paul Tuennerman to the Solomon family, which owns theatres in the New Orleans area, in partnership with Neal Bodenheimer, co-owner of New Orleans bar Cure.

Seminar tickets are available via TalesoftheCocktail.com for $65 (£47) after the introduction of a per-seminar ticketing system.

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