Cocktail Events and Exhibits
Drink & Learn: The Cocktail Tour. Culinary historian and Louisiana native Elizabeth Pearce leads a deeply informative two-hour walking tour dedicated to the city's cocktail culture. The $50 ticket includes four drinks. French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana. 504/207–4532; www.drinkandlearn.com.
New Orleans Original Cocktail Tour. This Gray Line walking tour leads you through the saloons and wine cellars of the French Quarter. Frequent stops for libations along the route guarantee that you'll get firsthand experience of the city's best drinks. The 2½-hour tours cost $29 and depart daily at 4 pm from the Lighthouse ticket office at Toulouse Street and the Mississippi River. Warehouse District, New Orleans, Louisiana. 504/569–1401; www.graylineneworleans.com/cocktail-tour.html.
New Orleans Wine and Food Experience. Serious wine drinkers skip the beach for this four-day celebration of Bacchus over Memorial Day weekend. Popular events include a series of vintner dinners at local restaurants, a wine-fueled stroll through the shops of Royal Street, and the two-day Grand Tasting, where nearly 75 restaurants serve food and 1,000 different wines are poured. New Orleans, Louisiana. 504/934–1474 ; www.nowfe.com.
NOLA Brewing Tour. Every Friday, hundreds of people show up at New Orleans's only craft brewery (the name stands for "New Orleans Lager and Ale") to learn how beer gets made. The unlimited free suds might also be a draw. The 90-minute free tour starts at 2 pm (gates open at 1:45 pm). 3001 Tchoupitoulas St., Garden District, New Orleans, Louisiana, 70115. 407/222–0449; www.nolabrewing.com.
Old New Orleans Rum Distillery. Founded in 1995, this craft distillery is the oldest maker of rum in the continental United States. Tours ($10) start with a cocktail and end with a tasting of four different rums. Complimentary transportation from the French Quarter is available during the week—make reservations for it in advance. 2815 Frenchmen St., Gentilly, New Orleans, Louisiana, 70122. 504/945–9400; www.oldneworleansrum.com.
Tales of the Cocktail. Each July, the annual Tales of the Cocktail, billed as "the most spirited event of the summer," brings thousands of experts and enthusiasts together for an internationally acclaimed, five-day celebration dedicated to the artistry and science of making drinks. In addition to enjoying some of "the best cocktails ever made," attendees participate in dinners, demonstrations, tastings, competitions, seminars, book signings, tours, and parties. New Orleans, Louisiana. 504/948–0511; www.talesofthecocktail.com.
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