PHOTO ESSAY

Tales of the Cocktail: A Mecca of History, Culture and Consumption

By Matthew Noel / Photography By Matthew Noel | July 15, 2014
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Josh Harris celebrates a win in 2010 at the first Cabana Cachaça Bartender Olympics.

Just as summer temperatures soar each year, thousands of bartenders, spirit professionals and avid enthusiasts make their pilgrimage to the Tales of the Cocktail conference, now in its 12th year. It stands as a mecca of cocktail history, culture and consumption. From insightful lectures to over-the-top parties, Tales has something for every connoisseur.

Last year alone, the five-day event attracted 22,770 attendees and generated a total economic impact of $14.1 million, its organizers say. It has also claimed more than a few good men and women to its intoxicating swirl of parties and tasting rooms.

As a six-year Tales vet I can only extend these words of wisdom: Tales is not a sprint, but a marathon to be enjoyed. Take it slow and drink plenty of water.

These photographs capture my Tales journey over the past few years.

Photo 1: Leblon takes the party to Royal St.
Photo 2: Hotel Monteleone hosts many Tales events and guests.
Photo 3: Pig & Punch is about pork, punch, and charity.
Photo 4: Guests competed at Ode to the Bowl 2010 at Rock ‘n’ Bowl.
Photo 1: Pisco Portón cocktails get a grate of nutmeg, 2010.
Photo 2: In 2012, Pig & Punch cooked nine whole pigs.
Photo 3: Masks were the dress code for Spirit of Italy.
Photo 4: Four Roses hosted a tasting room, 2010.
Photo 1: A Tales attendee makes a call near Preservation Hall.
Photo 2: Themed parties with elaborate costumes are common.
Photo 3: A reveler enjoys a respite from the rigors of cocktailing.

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