New Orleans in July, Southerners say “is as hot as the Devil’s Doors.” No better way to refresh oneself as the locals- with some Iced Tea or Southern Lemonade. Firefly Distillery of Wadmalaw Island South Carolina fortunately has infused both flavors into vodkas. We’ve always been a fan of their Tea Vodka line, and their Firefly Sweet Tea Bourbon. The Firefly Iced Tea Bar attracted neophytes as well as lovers of their product. This was one of Tales of the Cocktail’s excellent complimentary events at Hotel Monteleone making the chance to sample Taste of the Cocktail available to many. I was pleased to find that their Master Distiller, Jim Irvin, was from my neck of the woods- literally, my neighborhood. The flavors were there, with no off-putting nuances of additives. I was quite impressed, to say the least.
I knew I liked them folks when I laid eyes upon them. BourbonBlog.com will be bringing you our video coverage from the Firefly Iced Tea Bar soon!
One of the grand tastings and yet another complimentary event at Tales of the Cocktail was called “On the Rocks.” It filled Ballrooms C and D of Hotel Monteleone with a variety of different spirits producers. BourbonBlog.com was pleased to see a strong showing by the bourbon industry and whiskies in general including Four Roses Bourbon, Heaven Hill Distilleries, Sazerac and Buffalo Trace, and Bulleit Bourbon. Four Roses Master Distiller Jim Rutledge was applying temporary tattoos to the faithful. Josh Durr of Hawthorne Beverage placed his own flourish with Bulleit Bourbon Also of note was Coole Swan, the world’s first super-premium dairy cream liqueur by The Coole Quay Liqueur Company of Ireland. Be watching BourbonBlog.com for our interview with Coole Swan’s creator Adrian Walker from On the Rocks.
That event was so voluminous; one had to pace themselves- else suffer the embarrassment of overindulgence. We are professionals, after all – even though I felt like a kid in a candy store.
We followed Four Roses Bourbon from the Hotel Montelone to The Mixoloseum where we joined Jim Rand the fine gentleman of 732 Social, Gabriel Szasko of CocktailNerd.com and Matt Robold of Rumdood.com Mixoloseum hosted a take-no-prisoners consortium of bartenders. Hundreds of spirits, mixers, fruits and supplies were available for mixing and everybody was encouraged to join in on the fun. The centerpiece of the evening was the 400 year-old glacier ice from Alaska being carved into spheres to serve with Four Roses Bourbon. About as good as it gets gentlemen, very well done! WatchBourbonBlog.com for our forthcoming video episode from The Mixoloseum with Four Roses Bourbon.
On this particular evening, we all retired for the night simply struck be the sheer depth, diversity and passion of our industry. Every person has their own approach and every person is an integral part of the greater whole- a constantly evolving zeitgeist of people who absolutely love what they do.
To you I raise my glass!
Article by BourbonBlog.com‘s Mixologist and Beverage Consultant Stephen Dennison