Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tales

I spent the last few days attending the fifth Tales of the Cocktail, an annual event celebrating spirits, their history and exploring what is new in the cocktail world. There were seminars on the influence of women in spirit's history, the impact of ice and refrigeration, matching music and drinks, and many more. As with any event in New Orleans, there was plenty of great food as well. But what stood out most in my mind from these past 4 days was the response I would get when I asked people why they were here. Everyone from journalists to distributers all said they had heard it was professionally a great place to be. If you wanted to meet everyone in the industry, this was one of the top five events in the western world. As someone who is used to walking or driving through my city and seeing what I call the "T-Shirts", those volunteers who cme from all over the country to help rebuild my city, this answer was suprising and heartening. While there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done here, I was glad to hear that most people's motivations to come for this conference were the old reasons: I'm here for work and I'm here to have a good time. Not one word about support or recovery. And that was nice.

Inspite of most attendees' motivations to visit, it was still reassuring to know that the city's rebuilding process has not been forgotten. Absolut Vodka held a press conference the first day of the conference and announced the release of a new vodka: Absolut New Orleans. All of the proceeds of the sale will benefit 5 Gulf Coast charities, including the Tipatina's Musician's Fund and Habitat for Humanity. I always suspected that liquor would rebuild this city. It certainly has a more reliably productive presence here than the government...