Southern Hospitality is renowned around the world and it was something that this Irish blow-in to Dallas experienced at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail. What was hoped was to educate, taste and taste some more spirits. What was found was that there is spirit alive and kicking with the Texas service family.
For this eager traveler this was both a mixture of work and fun with the now legendary William Grant and Sons party on Wednesday night, with a movie, theme taking up the only time spent behind the stick. Texas was again represented in force with Carly Boord showcasing a cell with all the colors of the rainbow with Reyka. JP De Lora looked even more dapper than his usual fun self with slicked back hair and moustache with Milagro.
There was a typical Irish theme with Tullamore DEWs Mossie Power embracing his inner traveler dressed as Brad Pitt from the film Snatch and Glenfiddichs David Allardice representing prohibition times dressed as a character from the Untouchables. Texas service industry was also out in force represented by some of the city’s most acknowledged craft bartenders that included Brian McCullough, Charlie Pap, Julian Pagan, Charlie Moore, Mate Hartai, Mike Martensen, Josh Hendricks, Omar Yeefoon, Anthony Polo, and Brad Bowden.
Work complete it was time to enjoy Tales of the Cocktail for the first time. It was a rare seminar or bar that a Texas compatriot was not encountered, as this author can attest to when bumping into a lively Polo and Brad from the Peoples Last Stand while trying to navigate the streets of New Orleans for the first time and being informed that the party was in the opposite direction. Texas family to an Irishman’s rescue. The Absinthe House on Bourbon became the official point of reference, with other watering holes such as the Erin Rose, French 75 and of course the Hotel Monteleone’s Carousel Bar amongst a long list of favorite bars.
A highlight for this TOTC participant was the USBG toast attended by more service industry folk than the naked eye could count. Glasses up, each and all saluted the hard work that keeps every bar/restaurant/hotel running throughout the year. This was their time and I was humbled to be there to lift a glass in recognition.
NOLA was signed of early for this now weary reveler as the real world and work called in Austin. What was taken from away; the Texas bartending scene has some of the most colorful characters in the industry, drink water at regular intervals and the “spirit” of friendship is alive and well within the Texas bartending scene. The “craic” is an Irish word with no literal English translation but used to describe the fun Irish have when enjoying a drink with friends. Based on my short time spend living in Dallas I would translate it as Southern hospitality. Signing off I would simply like to say thank you Texas and see you next year Tales of the Cocktail.