“Had the strangest dream that we were on a limo bus with tattooed, hairless cats and they were serving crappy vodka! Then I woke up with a killer headache……hmmm” ~My friend Jennifer on her Facebook wall this past Sunday~

I am so fortunate that: I met Ann Tuennerman (Mrs. Cocktail) when we had back to back radio shows (I’m off air now – sniff sniff), that Ann and I have become friends (and she is so awesome to my kids), that that my husband’s family reunion moved weekends, & that my anniversary falls around Tales of the Cocktail (TOTC). This was only my second time at the actual Tales of The Cocktail festival, but I’m happy to say I have attended many other events put on by Tales throughout the year. Every event touched by TOTC is put on with love, class and magic – seriously! With Ann at the helm, leading her crew of trusty “Cocktail Angels” and co-pilot husband Paul (Mr. Cocktail), everything is done first class all the way!!!

It is unfortunate we could not attend the entire week of events and the spirited dining event (dang life, work & kids) – maybe next year. Seriously, guests come from all over the United States – take that back – the world to attend this festival/educational spirit-based week. There are free sampling events all week long too – something for everybody! We met so many people: a group of women who meet once a year to do a “girl’s week,” couples from all over, alcohol distributors, bartenders and brand ambassadors, and journalists. I booked the Hotel Montleone early this year, to assure my spot. That is home base of Tales, so there was no doubt I wanted to be where the action was. Besides that, the Carousel Bar is my favorite bar in New Orleans (waving to Marv & Michael). My favorite part of Tales – is the people! LOVE the eclectic and energetic crowd!!! So here is a little summary….

Friday: After checking into our room, we were off for some revolutions at the Carousel Bar (wonder how many I completed – but I do know is it about 14:47 seconds to complete). We headed to an early dinner at K-Paul’s (not on the TOTC schedule – but yum) and then off to the USBG Milagro Tequila Margarita competition for 7:30 at the NOLA Board of Trade. 15 bartenders competed for the best Margarita while using the same tequila, Milagro. The venue was extravagant inside and out – simply beautiful with cascading cobalt blue curtains around the columns, outdoor seating in the courtyard was sprinkled with perfect lighting. Indoors did not disappoint either – just beautiful (there was even a movie playing on the ceiling). The alcohol… well….the welcome Margarita were very good. The theme was “spice” and many of the competitors went for super spicy. UGH! S not for me. The decent Margaritas and the the winners of people’s choice and the competition were not spicy. SOh ya – part of the fun is to try them all and score your favorite for the people’s choice. The music was great, the company was great, fun to meet people and see people I know and a good time was had by all. Sorry Milagro – just not loving the tequila.

Saturday: We woke up to enjoy complimentary Bloody Mary’s at the Carousel Bar. This was followed by a complimentary Kahlua coffee bar. Hubby and I played in the French Quarter, shopping and eating and I did some super silly Twitter hunt at the Hotel (ended up winning a free night’s stay). We then rode the carousel some more and we were off to The Sugar Mill for the World Cocktail Excursion with a group of friends. What a fantabulous event! The venue was divided into several countries & cities that you visited via curtain partitions. They each had furniture, their own style and furniture and unique drinks to try. We spent a lot of time in Mexico and then Holland with our fave drinks (at least Jen & I liked those the best – while the others in or group were more into the Bourbon and Whiskey types – blech) by Effen Vodka (so fun to say!) We also adored the bartender Trevor. (below is Jennifer and I with Trevor)

Ya – on to the mystery bus! So our party of 7 was pretty much well…we drank a little and only had light snacks there…and we were all feeling good. And there it was…outside the event, a bus offering us a ride back to the hotel. Sure – we all hopped on. There they were, 2 hairless kitties and we were being served drinks from Double Cross Vodka. And the kitties had brands of the alcohol logo on them. We drove around New Orleans, drank drinks served to us on the bis and somehow with a wink and a nod from the guy managing the party on the bus, ended up in front of our hotel with a bottle of vodka taking a picture with the awesome doorman! The night was then filled with Lucky Dogs, Old Absinthe House and the Sazerac Bar and some Carousel in there too. We had soooo much fun. How I woke up feeling fine the next day is still a mystery to me.
(below, Greg & Jacki with a hairless cat on the mystery bus. I have picture evidence so I know it happened)

Sunday: Hubby and I attended the breakfast put on by Mr. & Mrs. cocktail and it was fantab. Then, yours truly had to catch a flight to San Antonio. I ended up sitting next to a couple from Austin who are opening a bar and said they learned so much at Tales.

See you at Tales next year! Hubby and I will gladly celebrate another anniversary that way. See you at the Carousel Bar!

My posts about Tales from 2009 here