Leading names from UK set to talk at Tales of the Cocktail

Tales of the Cocktail talk

Leading names from Britain’s bar and drinks industry are set to join experts from around the world for seminars at this year’s international Tales of the Cocktail festival in New Orleans.

They are part of a newly announced line-up of speakers and brands taking part in over 200 seminars, tastings and other events from July 19 to 24.

Ryan Chetiyawardana of London bars White Lyan and Dandelyan will be part of a panel with bartender Jim Meehan, formerly of PDT in Manhattan, in a session on developing the talents of bar staff to build a bar business, moderated by Ian McLaren, formerly a bartender in his native Scotland and now director of trade advocacy and training for Bacardi USA.

Edmund Weil, co-founder of London’s Nightjar and Oriole bars, will join Alan Moss, co-owner of absinthe specialist Artemisia Distribution, and Arun Mirchandani of the Drunken Munkey and the Royal Munkey in New York City, on how social media can help grow a bar business.

Alastair Burgess, owner of Happiness Forgets and Original Sin bars in London, will be part of a panel looking at “elevating” the dive bar, alongside Michael Neff of Holiday Cocktail Lounge in New York City.

Raj Nagra, global ambassador for Bombay Sapphire, will lead a discussion on the current gin category, with bar owner Jake Burger of London’s Portobello Road Gin, UK-born Mikey Enright of The Barber Shop in Sydney, New York Distilling Company co-founder Allen Katz, and Bombay Sapphire’s master distiller Nik Fordham.

Jake, who heads Jake’s Bar in Leeds and Portobello Star in London, will also join bartender and drinks writer Tristan Stephenson, co-owner of The Worship Street Whistling Shop and Black Rock in London, for “Liquipedia” where they promise to answer 90 questions on booze in 90 minutes.

Italian spirits specialist Giuseppe Gallo of Bar8 at Gastrovino in London will lead a seminar on Italian amari with Francesco Lafranconi, executive director of mixology and spirits educator at Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada.

British bartender Tom Walker, formerly at the American Bar at The Savoy in London and now at Attaboy in New York City, will be part of a discussion on how to create a modern classic cocktail to put a bar on the map, alongside bartender Naren Young of NYC’s Caffe Dante and Jacob Briars, advocacy director at Bacardi.

The American Bar’s head bartender Erik Lorincz will join Jacob Briars on a panel on the special qualities of hotel bars past and present alongside Chris Lowder, head bartender at the Four Seasons in Seoul, Josh Wagner, director of culture and entertainment for the Miami Beach Edition hotel, and Simon Ford, co-founder of premium spirits producer The 86 Co.

A session on how bars and brands can work together will be moderated by Dushan Zaric of The 86 Co with speakers including Bacardi’s northern European brand ambassador Shervene Shahbazkhani and Michael Vachon, head of brand development for UK distributor Maverick Drinks.

The #SEDTalks – Tales of the Cocktail’s version of TED Talks but around Spirits, Education & Development – return, with a series of 15-minute talks featuring the likes of Rebekkah Dooley, head of bar communications at the London Edition hotel on mapping the trends of London bars.

The state of vodka will be discussed in a session moderated by Grey Goose global ambassador Joe McCanta, with speakers including Sipsmith master distiller Jared Brown, Claire Smith-Warner of Belvedere Vodka and Audrey Saunders, co-owner and beverage director of New York City’s Pegu Club.

Jared Brown will also be part of two sessions on gin, Juniper Ascending, along with the likes of Beefeater master distiller Desmond Payne.

Joe McCanta will also join Giuseppe Gallo and Tristan Stephenson for a session on what bartenders can learn from coffee-making, alongside Samuel Lewontin of Everyman Espresso in New York City. Tristan will appear again, this time with Claire Smith-Warner for a “cosmic” session on the science of making cocktails in space.

International rum ambassador Ian Burrell of Cotton’s Rhum Shack in London will lead a discussion on what makes an authentic rum, with speakers including Richard Seale of Foursquare Rum Distillery in Barbados and Roberto Serralles of Destileria Serralles in Puerto Rico.

With moderator Becky Paskin of Scotchwhisky.com, a session on whisky cask finishes from Scotland, Ireland and the USA will feature The Balvenie ambassador Jonathan Wingo, Teeling Whiskey Company global brand ambassador Kevin Hurley and Wes Henderson, co-founder of Louisville Distilling Company and Angel’s Envy Bourbon.

Spirits writer Dave Broom will lead a comparative tasting of three blended scotch whiskies at “benchmark” periods over the last century, the 1960s-70s, 1980s-90s, and today, with Ewan Morgan, national director for Diageo Masters of Whisky, and Dr Nicholas Morgan, head of whisky outreach at Diageo, plus Gregor Cattanach, director of whisky education for the Masters of Whisky.

Dave Broom will also run a session with Ryan Chetiyawardana on spirits ageing including the flavour profile of “rancio”.

Collaborative distilling and bespoke gins will be presented by Olivier Ward and Emile Ward of UK-based gin specialist Gin Foundry with Cameron MacKenzie, founder and distiller at Australia’s Four Pillars Distillery.

Other speakers from the UK will include Iain Griffiths of White Lyan and Dandelyan in London, Belfast bartender Nathan O’Neill of Nomad Bar at New York’s Nomad Hotel, Jack McGarry of The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog in New York, and Belvedere brand ambassador Ali Dedianko.

Many other familiar names from the bar and drinks world will also be involved such as Scott Baird of Trick Dog in San Francisco, Jeff Bell of PDT, tiki specialist Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Alexadre Gabriel of Cognac Ferrand, Charles Joly of Crafthouse Cocktails, Ivy Mix of Leyenda in Brooklyn, Julie Reiner of Leyenda and Clover Club in Brooklyn, Tess Posthumus of Door 74 in Amsterdam, and Danil Nevsky of Tales & Spirits in Amsterdam, to name only a few.

For a full list of events, visit https://talesofthecocktail.com/events/tales-cocktail-new-orleans/.

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