Chicago goes to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail

The Aviary’s Charles Joly was named American Bartender of the Year, Sable’s Alex Renshaw is a “bartender to watch” and we drank mint juleps for breakfast.

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Photograph: John Sturdy

If you drank a cocktail at a bar in the last week in Chicago, it may have seemed like something was missing. And it was—tons of Chicago bartenders were in New Orleans for the annual Tales of the Cocktail convention, a raucous gathering that includes tasting not-yet-released products, taking classes on Advanced Sherry and Airport Bars, and drinking way, way, way too much, starting at breakfast. When bartenders weren't drinking, they were winning awards—the Aviary’s Charles Joly was named American Bartender of the Year and Sable’s Alex Renshaw was named one of 10 bartenders to watch in the country.


After giving everyone a few days to recover—seriously, we drank a lot—I talked to five bartenders about their visit to New Orleans and what they brought back to Chicago.


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