Influencers at Tales of the Cocktail

by James Stevenson

For the third consecutive year Beautiful Booze made the trip down south to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail. We were overloaded with the amount of wonderful people we were able to meet again; from people who have influenced this industry in ways big and small, to company representatives we correspond with digitally but don’t get to meet in person except for this one event in New Orleans every 12 months. We couldn’t possibly write about everyone but here are a few people.

, Influencers at Tales of the Cocktail

Marvin Allen, Chief Bartender at the Carousel Bar, New Orleans:

“While at work I am the center of the universe, the world literally revolves around me”.

Before things got crazy we made an appointment to go in and speak with the man behind the success of the Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone. Marvin was not always behind the bar, but once he found his calling he made sure he was the best he could be. Quickly moving his way up in the local industry, when he talked with management of the Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone he jumped at the opportunity to take this New Orleans icon to the next level. If you have visited New Orleans then I hope you made a trip to this amazing bar and can attest that Marvin has done a tremendous job with the venue space and cocktail program. What you may not know is that he had a hand in re-designing the space around the bar himself, expanding the seating area and allowing more people to come and enjoy a few relaxing libations. Here is a great article about Marvin and his new book.

, Influencers at Tales of the Cocktail

Stu Gregor, owner at Four Pillars Gin, Australia:

This year was Stu’s first visit to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail and he made the best of it. Stu and his partner made their way over from Australia to spread the word about their wonderful Four Pillars Gin in person. Stu also has a lot on his plate when he isn’t out and about promoting his own brand; he is also the founder of Liquid Ideas PR and has taken on the responsibility of being President of the Australian Distillers Association. He didn’t waste any time finding his base of operations in New Orleans, falling in love with the legendary Erin Rose bar in the French Quarter. When we met him there it felt more like catching up with an old friend over drinks than meeting a complete stranger for the first time. Stu has a lot on his plate but he doesn’t show it at all, he has a vibrant fun personality and can always be seen with a friendly smile on his face.

, Influencers at Tales of the Cocktail

Walter Meyenberg: Fortuna Mezcal, Hanky Panky & Huset, Mexico City:

Although Walter was in town celebrating his birthday and not representing his mezcal brand, we still appreciated the opportunity to catch up for some drinks. His business partner Chef Maycoll also accompanied him to check out all the fuss around New Orleans and Tales of the Cocktail for the first time. Walter is a very successful hospitality entrepreneur from Mexico City who has become one of our closest friends since meeting for the first time after Tales of the Cocktail on Tour this year in Mexico City. The guys are constantly opening new venues throughout Mexico City and will soon be undertaking their next venture in Los Angeles; his business concepts appear to gain traction and great success whenever he is involved. Walters primary venues, Hanky Panky Speakeasy and Huset are constantly receiving rave reviews and positive write ups in local and international publications for their creativity and ability to deliver quality above and beyond what most people expect to find in Mexico City.

, Influencers at Tales of the Cocktail

Kent Westmoreland, head mixologist at Windsor Court Hotel, New Orleans:

“Attending Tales of the Cocktail is a must for anyone wanting to improve their craft. The learning opportunities are phenomenal between the seminars and the networking with the world’s best bartenders”.

Kent’s story is another great example showing it’s never too late to find and chase your passions; he first began his career as a bartender in 2012, leaving the banking industry behind. Since then he has worked hard to learn all he can about the trade and has gained recognition and respect within the industry and more importantly from his peers at the Windsor Court Hotel where he has worked his way up to becoming the head mixologist and creative mind behind the great craft cocktails. Kent puts a lot of effort into his classic concoctions and takes great lengths in researching and reviving some long forgotten libations like the Queen’s Cousin which has a great story I’m sure Kent would love to tell you all about on your next visit.

, Influencers at Tales of the Cocktail

Rob Samuels, COO at Makers Mark Distillery, Kentucky:

“My family has been making whisky for 8 generations, it wasn’t always good whisky, but we’ve been around long enough to know a thing or two”.

After meeting Rob at dinner in New Orleans last year we were honored to have the opportunity to join him and his team again at Square Root in New Orleans and talk about the progression of Makers Mark. Rob is the COO of his families company and when he is not home taking care of business there he is on the road spreading the word about what’s going on in Kentucky. This year at Tales the Maker’s Mark team did something Beautiful Booze is all about and that was to collaborate with Coolhaus and create cocktail inspired ice-cream flavors which were offered to attendees to try and to the delight of everyone they were of course delicious. The best thing we learnt during dinner with Rob was that the company has finally implemented a Private Select program where consumers can finish fully-matured cask strength Maker’s Mark Bourbon with their own selection of oak staves in a single barrel; “making their own Maker’s” as Rob puts it.

, Influencers at Tales of the Cocktail

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