Tag Archives: The Varnish

Rookie moves to avoid at Tales!

In 2011 my boyfriend FutureGreg and I went to Tales of the Cocktail (TOTC) in New Orleans, Louisiana. We had heard about it, read about it and finally decided to see it for ourselves.

This has to be the best cocktail convention in the World.  Thousands of the most influential and talented members of the cocktail community from all across the globe meet in the sticky heat of New Orleans and spend 5 days experiencing Tastings, Seminars, Parties and Competitions.

Having never been before we really didn’t know what to expect, so we jumped in head first.  By the time we came up for air it was Sunday and we were leaving in a taxi to the airport, looking at a sign (below) and wondering ‘What the hell just happened?!’

Tales happened.

Our good friend Giovanni Martinez arrived a day after we did, took one look at my drunk boyfriend and said: “Oh my God, you guys are screwed.”

I proceeded to ask him “Why?”, to which he explained how getting drunk that early was a “Rookie move we would regret”

And so began my list of things to avoid.  This year is the 10 year anniversary of TOTC and there will be even more people heading out to Louisiana and many more newbies.  Here is the best I can think of to prepare for the trip. I suggest you heed my warning if you want to enjoy your time…

(All the photos in this post were taken from our trip to Tales of the Cocktail 2011)

Rookie move: Drink everything you see

Solution: Never finish the drink your holding!

This is a big one, you’re going to be tasting some of the best spirits and cocktail/mixed drinks in the World. If you finished every drink offered, you would die.  I’m serious.

The number of full glasses I had to put down was so upsetting but a friend reminded me that I was supposed to be tasting the drinks also, so think of it as similar to a wine tasting. Obviously you can drink some of your favorites, but pace yourself.   On our first visit we were wasted by 2pm on day one and struggled to get through the week…this year we know better.

Rookie Move: Play all day, Dance all night

Solution: Get some sleep, if only for an hour.

The events on offer are immense and run from 9am to 2am daily with a variety of after parties, after after parties and 5am meet ups at Absinthe house! You will often find yourself thinking ‘When the hell can I go to bed?!’ However take in to account that a lot of the events (especially tastings and seminars) are repeated throughout the week.  Listen to your body, when you feel you need to crash, do it.

Rookie Move: Who needs water, give me Gin.

Solution: Drink NON-Alcoholic drinks too

It is hot as hell in New Orleans during July so make sure you have a bottle of water or pedialyte close by to keep you refreshed. Coconut water was the beverage of choice last year.

All the alcohol will dehydrate you, add that to the sticky heat and it creates a pretty dangerous environment for your body if you don’t take it seriously. Trust me, you’ll thank me later!

Rookie Move: “It’s weird how i’m not hungry”

Solution: For Gods sake, eat something!

I don’t remember much of Tales 2011, and even less about the food.  Some events will have snacks to nibble on but these aren’t exactly a meal so don’t rely on them alone.  There are some great restaurants and places to grab a Po-boy or grits in New Orleans so make an effort to head there.

The beignets at Cafe Du Monde are a definite must. We ate them daily! People always say ‘Don’t drink on an empty stomach’ so as you’ll be constantly drinking it makes sense that you should make time to go eat something decent.

Rookie Move: 3am and your missing. Again.

Before we lost Dane…                                After we found him…

   

Solution: Charge your phone & Keep it close

I can’t tell you how many times we lost people who stumbled off, particularly our friend Dane (pictured above).  You may not be back in your hotel room very often, but try if you can to charge your phone between outings.  Yes the French Quarter is pretty safe, but this is still a big city and has big city dangers.

You will meet lots of new people, exchange plenty of business cards but it’s always safe to be able to contact your friends (or the police!) so keep your phone charged and easily accessible. Having a means of contact will also mean you can find out about the next secret party location…there are several!

Rookie Move: Do something crazy!

Solution: What happens in Tales… Goes on Facebook!

This isn’t Vegas, there are no ‘codes of conduct’ or rules of what can and cannot be written about.  If you talk to a blogger/journalist be sure to say the words ‘Off the record’ when divulging company secrets!

If I learnt anything about last year it’s that the photos taken (however terrible) end up on all the public forums. Bloggers, friends and work colleagues will happily tweet about your projectile vomit episode or instagram a snap of you with way too little clothing on, so be prepared for that to happen.

And if you’re the person taking the photos, try not to put the worst ones up…some of these men have wives back home!!! In all seriousness think before you do something you might regret and if you’re too drunk to think? Well, screw it. Don’t be mad at the person who found your behavior funny enough to post.

Tales 2012 runs from 24th July to 29th July this year. FutureGreg and I will be there again, hopefully no longer making these classic rookie moves.

Just so you know, this year there are many great Los Angeles bars, bartenders and writers up for nomination. The LA bars nominated are Harvard & Stone, La Descarga, The Varnish and Spare Room. It’s a really great time to represent LA and I wish everyone the best of luck in their category.  For those of you coming with us, see you in NOLA!

For more information on seminars, tickets etc head to their website www.TalesoftheCocktail.com.  I will be blogging and tweeting throughout the week so be sure to follow me on twitter @TheFussyOne1, on Instagram TheFussyOne and my boyfriend too @FutureGreg

See you in New Orleans…

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Interview with a Bartender: Jaymee Mandeville

This week I am pleased to be putting up an interview with one of the successful female Bartenders here in Los Angeles.  If you find yourself in Downtown LA any time soon, I recommend you head in to Drago Centro (Review coming soon) and check out the bar program put together by Jaymee Mandeville. This vibrant and talented lady has created an interesting and well executed drinks list with unusual ingredients such as Dill Meringue and Squid Ink Syrup.  Head in any night other than Tuesday or Sunday and you can enjoy a drink made by Jaymee herself.

Jaymee Mandeville

Official Job Title: Bar Manager
Born: South Korea, adopted at 16 mos. Grew up in Orange County, CA
Currently Resides:  Los Angeles, CA
Current Work locations:  Drago Centro Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri & Sat nights
Touring 2012 with Cari Hah (Neat Bar) “Lil’ Twisted Sangrita Tour”
May 29 Las Perlas
June 24 City Tavern
 

 *****

Q & A

Where was the first bar you worked at, and what was your position there?
At age 19 I worked as a beverage cart girl in college….(they thought I was 21) so I made Manhattans at 6 am with mini-bottles of Martini Rossi and Jim Beam on the golf course.
 
Who is/was your mentor? Who do you feel trained you in your area of expertise?
Michael Shearin has been a huge inspiration to me in wine and spirits, and continues to be a close friend.
 
Are you a fussy eater or picky drinker? If so, what WON’T you try?
I don’t think so.  I think I am open to trying anything. I just dislike all creamy salad dressings, most white condiments (i.e. mayonnaise, aioli,  Alfredo sauce, hollandaise (to name a few)…..actually we should open it up to most condiments, ketchup, mustard, relish.  1000 dressing is my worst nightmare. Oh and I don’t like sweets…I don’t hate them, but I could definitely live without them.
 
What is the most unusual dish or ingredient you’ve ever tasted?
Worm salt  (so weird, but surprisingly good, it tastes like sea salt and pepper combined.) I think Cari and I will be using it in one of our upcoming sangritas.
 
What is your favorite “Classic” Drink/Cocktail?
Negroni
 
As a female bartender have you ever felt like you’re not being taken as seriously by the male dominating Cocktail community?
Honestly, no, but I always welcome any challenge. I think the females in this city are very strong.  We just started a LUPEC chapter here in LA and it has given me the opportunity to meet some amazing and talented females in our industry.
 
What is the best thing about what you do? 
Making drinks…..I love it….I love creating, imbibing, and sharing the love with others
 
What is the Worst thing about what you do?
Evenings…I feel like I never really have an evening off to do silly things like take a sunset hike or cook a normal dinner
 
If you couldn’t do what you do now, what would you do instead?
I really wanted to be a super model and travel the world….unfortunately my height topped out at 5’2
 
Do you see yourself bartending forever or are there other career avenues you plan to explore?
I feel that bartending is a great creative and social outlet, I don’t see myself doing it forever, but I do see myself using this skill set in many ways moving forward.  I love traveling…if I could be like the jet-setter Angus Winchester, that would be amazing.
 

*****

If you would like to be considered for this segment of my site please send an email to pickydrinker@gmail.com with a little info on who you are and where you work.  If you don’t sound like a crazy person, I will happily send you a questionnaire to fill out.  If you work in Los Angeles I will almost certainly come in to see how good you are!Please note: I am looking for enthusiastic bartenders with a real passion for ‘Tending Bar”, Mixology or Classic drink making.  Those of you who think ‘Sweet and Sour Mix’ is a great product, bartend only for the joy of extra cash and have no interest in the cocktail community itself, need not apply!

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Interview with a Bartender: Daniel Parino

By the powers of photoshop I finally have a cover for this segment! Hooray!

Ok, so I thought it would be fun to interview Bartenders/Mixologists across the City in a really informal way.  In the past few weeks when I meet someone who interests me behind the bar, or I know of their talents through word of mouth etc I send a questionnaire of 14 questions (my lucky number) for them to answer at their leisure.  I won’t put up all the answers they give me, just a handful of my favorites.

I am so  grateful to everyone who replied so far, I will make sure you all make it to the website within the coming months.  This is the first one that arrived in my inbox and therefore gets to go before everyone else!  It comes from the ever so sweet and always friendly Daniel Parino… Enjoy!

Daniel Parino

Official Job Title: Bartender
Born: San Francisco, California
Currently resides: Los Angeles, California
Current Work locations:
Sadie: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Father’s Office: Tuesday and Sunday

*****

Q & A

Who would you say is your mentor/trained you in your area of expertise?

Giovanni Martinez and FutureGreg (Greg Bryson)

What is your favorite “Classic” Drink?

The Manhattan

What is your ‘go-to’ liquor of choice?

Tequila.  I like tequila because it wrestles alligators in the morning and takes the princess to the ball in the evening.  It can be as high or as low class as you want it.  It can punch you in the face, or massage out your smallest woe.

Are you a fussy eater or picky drinker? If so, what WON’T you try?

No, there’s pretty much nothing I won’t try.  I don’t like mushrooms and I really wish I did, ’cause everyone else seems to think they are so awesome.  I keep trying them and keep not liking them.  It’s sad.

What is the most unusual dish or food item you’ve ever tasted?

Fish head curry…or sweet and sour veal brains….. I don’t know, I grew up in Thailand, so to be honest, I’ve eaten a lot of things I’m pretty glad I don’t know what was in them.

What is the name of your favorite (current) Mixology bar in LA? and Why?

Sadie cause the bar staff is so handsome!!!!  Just kidding.  I would say either The Varnish, because they just do everything right, or MBPost, because everyone in LA is working on the classics, and then on their own creative ingredient focused drinks, and MBPost combines the two. 

Where can you usually be found on a Saturday night?

My Saturday night’s have a pretty big swing, I love a night of Old Tom Gin with cucumber/celery bitters and kumquats, but I also like a solid night of PBR and Jameson shots.  I think it’s important to be a well-rounded drinker, it makes it easier to serve the “Fussy Ones”

What is the best thing about what you do? 

Surprising people.  The look on their faces when they never realized a drink could taste like that is definitely the best part of the job.  Or tricking vodka drinkers into drinking gin, cause its funny and they should branch out.

What is the Worst thing about what you do?

“No, man, I’m sorry, we don’t use Red Bull here”

If you couldn’t do what you do now, what would you do instead?

Write the great American novel

*****
If you would like to be considered for this new segment send an email to pickydrinker@gmail.com with a little info on who you are and where you work.  If you don’t sound like a crazy person, I will happily send you a questionnaire to fill out.  If you work in Los Angeles I will almost certainly come in to see how good you are!  Please note, I am looking for enthusiastic bartenders with a real passion for ‘Tending Bar”, Mixology or Classic drink making.  Those of you who bartend just for extra cash but with no interest in the cocktail community  need not apply!

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