Holiday Gift Guide


Ok so here goes the beginning of an effort may prove fruitless and waning. Today's the first official day of Tales of the Cocktail, the biggest mixology fete/conference in the world, and my earnest plan is to provide daily updates for folks who couldn't be here to witness it in person. There's no substitute for the real thing, but hopefully, in conjunction with tweets that I'll send to @Umamimart, you'll get a semblance of how closely I'm riding the fine line separating celebration and mayhem. Unlike previous Happy Hours, however, there will be less prettyfied photography and more play-by-play, so to speak.

Today, however, the celebration's been on this side of tepid, having attended two professional seminars that most folks would consider snoozers: "Intellectual Property" and "The Fine Art of Negotiating a Deal." I find it fitting however that I kicked off Tales with two seminars moderated by attorneys--every time I try to get out, they keep pulling me back in.

The first seminar dealt with ways that bartenders can protect themselves when crafting cocktails and recipes for big spirit companies and restaurants, as well as the rights they give up when they publish their recipes on blogs such as this. Essentially, the take back is that recipes are not protected intellectual property, meaning you can't copyright them, and trademark law will only apply to the name, not the recipe. There are pros and cons to the law being this way, with the major pro being that creativity goes unhampered, and the drawback being that people can copy your creations without due credit (something bloggers are both familiar with and guilty of ).

The second seminar was sort of a spinoff of the first, but with a more acute focus on, in the words of KRS-ONE, "how not to get jerked when you do hard work," i.e., when getting hired to consult for restaurants, bars, hotels, and spirit companies. It was more tricks of the trade tips than actual nuts and bolts negotiation techniques. Nonetheless it was an interesting glimpse into how far the cocktail arts have come in catching up with the culinary arts, and how far yet it has to go, with a special focus on the power that modern star chefs have been able to wield in negotiations, and how modern mixologists can translate that into their success.

Yeah yeah I know, what a party right? First off, keep in mind that the afternoon's only half over, and I'm barely half sober, as drinks are endlessly passed around like a blunt at a Cypress Hill concert.

So consider this the midday report. And although I have every intention of doing an end of the night report, you can pretty much consider that as likely as HIV curing itself, because I'll probably be plastered beyond comprehension.

Time to sign off now, as I have some kitchen time reserved in the Hotel Monteleone to brew a shitload of oolong tea for tomorrow's cocktail competition. Cheers!

Check in intermittently for updates on the goings on at this year's Tales of the Cocktail whenever I can muster enough mental capacity to accomplish such a feat.

*Got a cocktail question? Hit me on twitter @paystyle, email me at payman(at)lifesacocktail(dot)com, or simply drop me a comment below.