It was the 15th anniversary of Tales of the Cocktail this year and there was a lot to celebrate! Founded in 2002 by Ann Tuennerman, this gathering of cocktail lovers has grown into the world’s premier cocktail festival for the liquor industry and enthusiasts alike. The festival brings together spirit professionals from all over the world in historic New Orleans, and Seattle’s presence is always strong.

This year was another exciting round-up of competitions, awards, seminars and, best of all, lots of cocktails shared among friends. Hundreds of spirit professionals, including Robert Hess, Audrey Sanders and several Seattle superstars were seen sipping and dining around the city in style.

Sanders also played a huge role at the festival alongside her long-time mentor Dale DeGroff. Sanders, founder of New York’s award-winning Pegu Club, and DeGroff, who is widely known as the “King of Cocktails,” were honored with a special award as the official 2017 Tales of the Cocktail Ambassadors. The two are true cocktail legends who have had a sizable impact on the resurgence of cocktails around the world.

Kate Perry of Seattle’s Rumba — a Tales first-timer — seemed to be everywhere. She even competed in the Ti’Punch Cup USA Finals sponsored by Rhum Clement, coming in a solid second place. As the festival carried on, Seattle had more reasons to celebrate. Canon: Whiskey and Bitters Emporium took the prestigious award for World’s Best Spirits Selection. 50 bartenders and booze representatives from the Northwest erupted into cheers when Canon was named the winner. Read more about it in the Seattle Times here.

And of course there were the cocktails: the Emoji Bar menu at the Elyx House was incredible, the cocktails were delivered on a tiny train to boot.

Seattle’s Andrew Friedman was a seminar and panel machine. Proprietor of Liberty Bar and Scout Spirits, Friedman is a tireless small business champion and hospitality industry mentor. He shared his wisdom during four presentations from the new business models for bars to sessions on understanding intellectual property law in “cocktail land.”

And of course, there were late night shenanigans. Local Brazilian cachaça importer Novo Fogo enjoyed a few “Negroni’s” based on their spirit before the sun came up.

And we can’t forget about our Portland neighbors: legendary barman and New York transplant Jim Meehan hosted the BANKS Rum spirited dinner for a group of Tales attendees.

All in all, another Tales of the Cocktail for the books!