MY Tales of the Cocktail: Pt. Two

Up Next: Ruth’s Chris & Bulleit New Fashioned 1965-Style Luncheon
Where: Vieux Carre Room in Hotel Monteleone
When: 12:30pm – 2:30pm
What: Helen Mackey, VP of Menu Strategy and Innovation for New Orleans born Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Tom Bulleit, Founder of Bulleit Distilling Co.hosted a Ruth’s Chris catered lunch featuring the New Fashioned Cocktail with Bulleit Rye.

Shades for Breakfast

Shades for Breakfast


Whoopie!

Whoopie!

No lie, after a night out at the house party, the last thing I wanted to do was even look at another cocktail, let alone taste one. So, let’s just say I took it very easy. The Hangover Brunch lunch featured lobster mac n cheese, sliders, fruit, cheese, and sweet treats. My faves were the parting gifts: sunglasses (that came in handy AT the lunch), sugar babies (idk the last time I ate one of these), and nice Whiskey glasses accompanied with cherry garnishes.

This post is short and sweet, just like my time at the luncheon, lol. I couldn’t do it, but it was definitely put a nice ending to cocktail-filled weekend!

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MY Tales of the Cocktail: Pt. One

If you know me, you know I live for a good cocktail. So it should be no surprise that Tales of the Cocktail is one of my favorite times of year. If you’ve been out of the loop, let me give you a little back story of what TOTC truly is:

Tales of the Cocktail® is the world’s premier cocktail festival, bringing together the international spirits community for five days of what’s now, what’s new and what’s next in bartending. Held annually in New Orleans, Tales of the Cocktail® has something for bartenders and spirits professionals with opportunities to mix and mingle with the brightest minds in mixology during an always-spirited schedule of seminars, dinners, competitions, tasting rooms and new product launches. Join us in New Orleans July 16-20 for the 12th Annual Tales of the Cocktail® where for five days the cocktail reigns supreme. All Hail the Cocktail!

via TOTC

Thanks to my good friends over at Taylor Marketing, I was privileged to hit up a couple of TOTC hot spots, and I must say that I got my life!

Chee Weez

Chee Weez

First up: Diageo World Class House Party
Where: Contemporary Arts Center (high-five on that!)
When: 9pm – 12am

What: With grass (felt), trailers in the “backyard,” and a band, it was really set up like a true old-fashioned house party. Chee Weez performed some of my faves, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win,” Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” and more on the “Living Room” stage.

Now, I’ve been to a few TOTC parties, and they’ve all been grand; this one was no different. In true fashion, I arrived an hour and 30 late (ya know, just enough time to get the party rollin’), and the line was ridic! Like, where were all of these people? Clearly we were the party people. So, we got our bands and proceeded. Man, listen…the only bad thing (to some) about these types of parties is that there’s soooo much liquor to choose from! You legit get confused. So much goes into nights like this: “Am I gonna do brown or white?,” “Liquor or wine? Or beer?!” “Which drink am I gonna try first?,” “Should I try those shots??” There’s a lot of work to be put into a night of tasting and drinking, especially when choosing from Tanqueray, Don Julio Tequila, Bulleit, and George Dickel. It’s work!

Honey Whiskey + Pineapple Popsicles. Yum! #ThePopsParlor

Honey Whiskey + Pineapple Popsicles. Yum! #ThePopsParlor

Once I figured it out, I frequented the brown sections. Whiskey’s my thing. I’m straight on Vodka, CANNOT deal with Tequila, Rum isn’t enough, and Gin is not in. So, Bulleit, George Dickel and I were just fine. Oh, and Red Stripe. There was plenty Red Stripe. I don’t know if it was the timing of us getting there, but there wasn’t an overflow of food, and you KNOW I was looking for that good ol’ NOLA cuisine. All I was able to snatch was a bowl (a very small bowl) of red beans. Yum. -__-

Cocktail'd Out

Cocktail’d Out

The night ended at midnight and the party moved to the streets. But before leaving, I had to snatch Honey Whiskey + Pineapple and HW + Pomegranate popsicles. Everyone was walking around with yellow and red pops, so I dabbled and they were amazing! And I am not a fan of honey. Who knew! My night ended with on Frenchmen St. at Dat Dog, but I was too pooped to enjoy my Crawfish Etouffee dog. =/  Hey, #nojudging!

Essence Fest — The Whole Shebang.

EMF 1'4

If you live in New Orleans, then you know the Essence Music Festival is, if not the largest, one of the largest festivals to hit the city. Tons of celebrities and tourists invaded my city this past Fourth of July weekend. Usually, I anticipate the Monday after (when everyone leaves) but this year was a little different — I joined in the fun! Well, not all of the fun, just fun that truly mattered: I was blessed to get my hands on floor tickets for each concert night. I. had. a. blast.

Nile x Prince

Friday Night: Janelle Monae. Nile Rodgers. PRINCE.

I was super excited about this night. Yes, Janelle is nice, and was excited for Nile Rodgers to bring the funk and play my jam, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” BUT I was super ecstatic to witness the man, the legend, the Prince. He gave us a few surprise pop ups during Janelle and Nile’s set, but when it was time for his show, he lit the stage up — literally. All of your faves, “Little Red Corvette,” “When Doves Cry,” “Purple Rain,” and more were shouted by fans from the bottom of the dome to the top. He broke my lil’ heart when I realized he wasn’t going to perform “Diamonds and Pearls,” “Darling Nikki,” “The Beautiful Ones,” and especially “I Would Die 4 U.” But I dealt with what was given because it was awesome. Now I can finally say I got to see Prince perform. *Scratches that off the list*

Little T x EMF '14

Saturday Night: Ledisi. TEVIN CAMPBELL. The Roots. Jill Scott. Mary J. Blige

Listen. Even though I had tickets for all three nights, I honestly didn’t pay attention to who was on the bill all three nights. But I soon found out and wasn’t upset at all. Ledisi was on the main stage, Tevin Campbell was in one of the Super Lounges. It wasn’t rocket science for me to decide on who I wanted to see the most, so you best believe I was front and center, crooning with Little T. Man, oh, man.. Man!! Watching that boy on stage brought me all the way back to ’91 – ’96. To this day, I will NEVER get tired of listening to any of his songs. It’s been a minute since he’s been mainstream, but his performance definitely stamped that he’s ready for his comeback as he stated, “I may not be on the main stage tonight, but next year, look for me!” I missed the beginning of The Roots’ performance due to my flashback of “Can We Talk.” When I finally got to my seat, I literally was unable to sit down because The Roots brought out Common, Nelly, NAUGHTY BY NATURE (by this time, I experienced heart palpitations), and Biz Markie. Man, they truly reminded us what true hip-hop really is. I died!

Up next, Miss Jilly from Philly. During The Roots’ set, I was anticipating her gracing us alongside them, but… it was just a dream. She did her thing, tho and gave me exactly what I needed with “Crown Royal,” and the fave, “He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat). Now before I get into the Queen, let me just say that sometimes I have blond moments where I don’t realize I love something so much until it’s in front of me, i.e., Miss MJB, y’all. So, I prepped myself for the lineup, knowing she was a part of it. But what I didn’t realize is that I’ve been rocking with MJ since the beginning of time, What’s the 411. Once she got on stage, my butt never touched the seat. She sang everything! All of her hits from ’92 to now. But, I felt some type of way when she never performed “Without You,” but that didn’t take away from anything. She showed up and showed the hell out. I loved how she first came out in all white, with sneakers while performing hits from What’s the 411. When it was time to get grown, she switched to stilettos. Yes ma’am! Two outfit changes, and she danced, too!

TAMAR x EMF '14

Sunday Night: TAMAR BRAXTON, Erykah Badu, Charlie Wilson, Lionel Richie

If ANYONE knows me, they can vouch for my love for Tamar. I have been a fan of ma’am since her ’98 single, “If You Don’t Wanna Love Me.” Even though her album Tamar is collecting dust in my cd case, it got a lot of play back in the day. So, you know I had to make it to the dome bright and early to witness her comeback. I was dead tired (and a tad hung over) from the night before, dancing all night to the sounds of DJs Questlove and Soul Sister at Tipitina’s in Uptown NOLA. And once again, I didn’t even think to look at the times of performances. I legit jumped out of bed at 6:15, dove in the bathtub, got dressed faster than I ever had and rushed to the dome, to be in my seat by 7pm. I actually made it at 7:08 — in just enough time to experience “Prettiest Girl,” “White Candle,” and her twerking while performing “Hot Sugar.” I lived!! Shortly, tho. She was only on stage for 30 minutes which felt like 5. But she proved that, that stage is where she belonged. Dave Chapelle “rose from the ashes,” onto the main stage to introduce his good friend, Miss Erykah. Side-note: I don’t know where he’s been all this time, but where ever he was, weights were definitely close by. He’s swole as hell! Ms. Badu came out, with her attitude (in a funny way). I never knew she was so funny, and I didn’t expect her to curse so much. Geez! But she was good, love her voice. She, too performed old and recent hits after testing her New Orleans fans with a very popular local, old school track, “I say trick, stop talkin’ that sh_t, and s__k a ni__a d__k for an outfit…” I wasn’t ready! In my opinion, it was too vulgar for the crowd. But in true, Mama Badu fashion, she didn’t give a shxt. I wasn’t at all surprised by Uncle Charlie’s performance, though he did take us to church during one segment, but the rest was the same act I witnessed earlier this year at Jazz Fest. Lastly, I’m sorry to inform you that I didn’t stay to witness sir Lionel Richie. I couldn’t do it! This year, I learned that attending EMF every night is a damn job. And working all three days? On Sunday, I had to clock out early. I really felt like I had missed out on something great — until I read on NOLA.com that me and thousands of others hit it on home. It would’ve been great to sway to “Easy Like Sunday Morning,” and dance to “All Night Long.” Ah, well.

All in all, I had THE time of the year at the 2014 Essence Fest. ‘Til next time…

My Little Dragon Experience

Little Dragon

So, usually, I’m in-the-know about super, cool music, but somehow I let this group slip through the cracks. I’ve always heard of Little Dragon, but never actually heard Little Dragon — until my good friend put me on. That was a wrap. I fell in love.

Little Dragon is a Swedish group consisting of Yukimi Nagano (vocals, percussion) and her close high school friends Erik Bodin (drums), Fredrik Källgren Wallin (bass) and Håkan Wirenstrand (keyboards). During recording seshs, Miss Yukimi would throw “fuming tantrums” so much that they nicknamed her Little Dragon. The group then determined that that would be the group’s name.Their sound is soothing and amazing, and I” had the pleasure of witnessing it firsthand.

The group performed in the city at Republic, last Tuesday. I was very surprised to see how packed it was on a weeknight, but then again, I forget how many cool, eclectic people fill these NOLA streets.

A Night Out with Crown XO and the NOLA Pelicans

A week or so ago, I was invited to an exclusive night out with Crown Royal XO and the New Orleans Pelicans. The VIP experience was held at Smoothie King Center (formerly New Orleans Arena) where Crown Royal treated a select group of guests to a number of extraordinary experiences inside the Owner’s Bunker Suite in the Chairman’s Club. There was also a private whisky tasting and Q&A, cocktails with special guests from the Pelicans organization, and other Crown Royal swag which lead up to a viewing of the Pelicans vs Clippers game from an exclusive suite.

I was treated very exclusively, if I do say so myself. Parking passes, being escorted to Mr. Benson’s Suite, cocktails overflowing throughout the night, the option to watch the game from ANYwhere in the arena (I chose the suite, of course) — it was everything! Not to mention the best part, receiving my personally embroidered Crown Royal XO bag (It’ll go well with my ANS embroidered original Crown Royal bag that served as party favors for my CR happy hour last year).

There were three superb cocktails featured throughout the night: The Jump Shot, Alley-Oop, and Triple Double. I’m a sucker for good whisky and ginger (particularly beer), so I was very partial to the Alley-Oop all night. If you’d like to put your mixology skills to the test, try one of these delish recipes at home!

The Jump Shot
· 1.5oz Crown Deluxe

· .5oz Sour Mix

· .25oz Grenadine

· Soda Water to top

Preparation: Combine all ingredients in the glass with ice, gently stir and serve.

Alley-Oop
· 1.5oz Crown XO

· Top with Ginger Ale

Preparation: Garnish with lime

Triple Double
· 1.5oz Crown Royal Black

· .75oz Simple Syrup

· .75oz Fresh Lemon Juice

Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake well and strain into the glass. Garnish and serve.

Shake it, stir it, sip it! Have a blast and drink responsibly, loves.

Special thanks to Kelly G, Christina K and the Taylor crew for inviting me to such a fab night out.

Check out some of the profesh photos from the night (below), including a few from my private (IG) collection.

Crown Royal XO is an ultra-premium, elegant whisky deliciously balanced with hints of vanilla, spice and rich dried fruit closing with an impeccably smooth finish. It is best enjoyed neat, on the rocks or as the key ingredient in a number of classic cocktail recipes.