Tales of the Cocktail: Exploring the Unparties of TOTC 12

by Emily on August 2, 2012 · 0 comments

in Booze Without Borders,Food

While many of my compatriots from Tales of the Cocktail, the country’s largest festival/conference/TOTALLY NUTTY GATHERING OF THE COCKTAIL KINGDOM, are still recovering, I actually filed my first story on TOTC’s 10 Year Anniversary last weekend. Most of us returned from the five-day festival earlier this week, so I held off a few days on sharing the first of my recaps here. This first recap is about the “pop-ups” or one-time experiences that happened at Tales this year.

You can read my first post on the Underground Eats Blog.

Here’s are some details that didn’t make the Underground Eats post …

I snapped a photo of Employees Only co-owner Billy Gilroy getting his first tattoo (the EO logo, naturally) from the tattoo artist on hand at the party.

Employees Only Co-Owner Billy Gilroy gets his first tattoo at the EO Pop-Up Bar at 2012 Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.

Behind the Bar at the EO Pop Up at One Eyed Jack's

My barman for the evening at the Employees Only Pop-Up was Steve Schneider, Principal Bartender. Once we all recovered from the party the next day, Schneider said, “Setting up and executing this party with my 4 other fellow Employees Only Principal Bartenders was a dream come true. Being able to share our best in world’s number one cocktail city was something I’ll never forget. Some say it was a wild party. I say it was ‘Thursday.'”

Steve Schneider, Principal Bartender at EO, pours me a drink

I also need to give props to Burlesque star Calamity Chang for being drop-dead gorgeous the night of the Pop Up (link to NSFW pix at end of this post). She dances at the EO family of cocktail dens in NYC, so they were right to bring her as the experience wouldn’t have otherwise been complete. As you may know, Calamity danced at the June Midnight Brunch and I simply adore her.

Thanks to the founders of Brookyn Gin, my former neighborhood bartender Max Messier and the understated but phenomenal chef Daniel Burns (formerly of Noma, Fat Duck and former head of Momofuko’s test kitchen), this was my Friday night.

You mad bro? Brooklyn Gin Thank you dinner.

I mentioned in my UGE story that I wanted to steal the BULLDOG Gin pillows. Proof.

Me at the Bulldog Gin Cocktail Hour
Finally, we left off during the UGE post with me headed to Pig & Punch, an annual fundraiser that benefits the New Orleans community. Pig & Punch supports the New Orleans KIPP Charter Schools both financially (with all the donations from people who attend) and with the time bartenders and other industry people put into a community project the week before TOTC.

Josh Harris, founding partner of The Bon Vivants, feeds me pig at Pig & Punch 2012

A little person dressed as a king dances at Pig & Punch.

Getting my face painted at Pig & Punch 2012.

Last year, the event raised $6,000. This year, Pig & Punch raised over $14,000. That number comes in an email from Josh Harris (founding partner of Bon Vivants, the kickass crew who organizes the event along with many other folks), and they aren’t even done totaling the cash yet. So amazing.

As opposed to the past two years, when you had to hear from someone who heard from someone about the party … this year Pig & Punch was an official TOTC event. I’d feared that the party would be too crowded to have fun, or somehow not as good as when it was just a bunch of us hoodlums drinking trash barrels full of boozy punch and eating roast pig straight off the bone.


I really had nothing to worry about. The pig was delicious. I got to hug a bunch of people I only ever get to see at this picnic. And thanks to Josh and his crew, the hours between five p.m. to the time when I showed up at Juniperlooza (around 11:30 p.m.) are very hazy. We’ll get back to that (and all the other fun I had) in my next update.

  • For more photos from these UNParties, check out the Flickr set here.
  • If you want to tag these photos (and are either a person or a brand in one of the photos), friend me on Facebook.
  • To check out my coverage from Tales 2011, click here.


I love sharing details about upcoming tasty trips and adventures, so you won’t want to miss a bite. As always, please feel free to chat with me on Twitter, join our group on Facebook and keep up with new posts here by subscribing. Request an invite to future Midnight Brunch events here.


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