Tales of the Cocktail has been celebrating the art of mixing (and drinking) cocktails in New Orleans for over a decade. The past few years, they've also brought their act on the road to Vancouver, but this year, TOTC headed south to Buenos Aires, Argentina to soak up local cocktail culture and bring a little NOLA to South America.
Argentina is well-known for its wines, but the Buenos Aires cocktail scene is coming into its own, with a focus on cocktails made with bitter liqueurs and aperitifs as well as making mixed drinks with wine. Fernet Branca and Campari rule the bars, and a lot of Buenos Aires bartenders are bringing that Italian element to classic American cocktails like the Manhattan, Mint Julep and Old Fashioned.
The event was half educational conference and half party, with bartenders from Buenos Aires, spirits brands, cocktail writers, and specially chosen cocktail bar apprentices from the US and Argentina sharing cocktails and knowledge. So one day it was a traditional Argentine barbecue on a ranch with folk dancers and bitter cocktails, and another it was a New Orleans jazz brunch with Ramos Gin Fizzes and Sazeracs. I wish the event also included seminars on Buenos Aires cocktail culture. But with mostly locals from Buenos Aires attending, I can see how there was demand for information on trends and products from the States.
About the Author: Marcia Simmons is the co-author of DIY Cocktails: A Simple Guide to Creating Your Own Signature Drinks. She also shares cocktail recipes and tips on the DIY Cocktails blog and on Twitter @DIYCocktails.