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A variety of eats from our generous food partners at the Austin Food Magazine Friendsmas Party.
December means the end of the year, holidays and for me, catching up with good friends and taking in some of the fun stuff going on around town. So many memories made, pictures taken and cocktails indulged.

I kicked off the holidays with an impromptu road trip with a girlfriend to New Orleans the week after Thanksgiving. We had no set agenda but did know that we wanted to go to places and see things that we hadn't done before. Our hotel was perfect and located on the edge of the French Quarter. Our first night we went to Celebration in the Oaks where we had Jingle Juice, rode the carousel and ferris wheel (which we could not stop laughing on) and took advantage of the numerous photo opps. We ended up at various bars dancing our way over to Frenchman Street. The next fews days were filled with wonderful food as we explored Magazine Street, shopped on Royal and spent the evening admiring the view from Hot Tin and chatting about spirits with the bar manager at Bayou Bar downstairs. We ended up at secret bars and ate at little dive places and experienced some of the best food and drink ever. 

The following week was our Annual HoHo lunch and caught up on each others lives over gift exchanges, Chinese food and yummy cocktails. Repeal Day celebrating followed the next day where I spend time with my industry friends and fellow bloggers at the preview of DuMont's Whiskey bar and singing karaoke at The Highball over Jack Daniels cocktails. 

Week Two we were treated to The Wine Sled - a limo full of girls decked out in our Christmas hats and attire while we visited hill country wineries and bonded over wine, Jingle Juice and much laughter. After a quick trip to San Antonio, I returned in time for our Dress-Up Girls Night Out. We started with bubbles and bites at The Driskill Hotel (which has a FAB happy hour) then went over to The W Hotel to their Grinchmas Bar. We had reservations at the hottest secret bar in downtown Austin and ended with my favorite cocktail there topped with a dehydrated pineapple - tasty and beautiful! 

The weekend was low key hanging out with My YaYa's - a group of women I've known and loved as family for almost 20 years. We've been through everything together. There's never a dull moment with us and we had a blast at a local winery with the most amazing lake and sunset view, sipping cocktails by the outdoor fireplace snuggled in Christmas jammies and warm blankets, doing the white elephant gift exchange and slumber party. They are my life! 

I left the YaYa's and went straight to a Women who Whiskey Brunch with some lovely industry gal pals headed by Ms Jen who had a stunning table setting spread, awesome welcome punch and Jack Daniels cocktails paired with scrumptious brunch indulges. Afterwards I checked in to the beautiful Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin hotel and got ready for the annual Austin Food Magazine Friendsmas Party. This is where my fellow bloggers and influencers come together for food, fun and lots of libations. Held in a Hospitality Suite, the food and drink spread was all you would expect with contributions from local eateries, breweries and spirits. There was no shortage of any. Dessert was  out on the rooftop deck where we had sweets in a Merry cabana, followed by the after party in the Presidential Suite. Thank you to the J.W. Marriott for their hospitality again this year.

Met up with friends who were in town the next day and spent all day doing the holiday pop-ups. We visited Nickel City for Sippin' Santa, The Roosevelt Room and then next door to Miracle on 5th Street. A quick stop in at Academia resulted in another cocktail and preview of their new cocktail menu (More on that shortly!).

Week Three I decided I was staying in for a few days until I had to work promos over the weekend. It was crazy with people buying last minute gifts and stocking up their bars for the holidays, but I got to chat with so many cool people who shared their holiday plans with me. Believe it or not, working promos is very rewarding for me - I love meeting new people.

Christmas was spent with family. No other way I'd like to spend it. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to spend so much time with my loved ones consisting of family and friends. I'm looking forward to a quiet New Year's Eve ... only because I'll be resting up for a whirlwind 2019.

See photos of these events, food and drinks on my Instagram or Facebook page.

How did you spend your month? Wishing you the happiest of remaining 2018 and may your 2019 be all you imagine and desire it to be. Cheers!
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I was invited to media/blogger night at The Art of Ice Cream Experience. We were one of the first ones there and upon first glance I wondered how we would spend the entire time here. Little did we know that we were in for so much fun and act like a kid again. 

Keep in mind, this is a pop-up that is set up for photo opportunities, so be sure to take your camera or have your cell charged up. It is NOT an ice cream event - although there are ice cream snacks available. Of course, we had to have some, because ... ice cream.

There are multiple rooms throughout the venue. Each is a different theme. You can climb on, climb in, jump on, jump in, sit on, or sit in any of the cool features available. I could explain each, or I could just show you. Check out the gallery here or head over to my Instagram to see more. I promise you won't be disappointed. However, there are only a few days left to get to this activation as they will be closing down (rumored to set up a new activation just in time for SXSW).

The Art of Ice Cream Experience is located at 3208 South Congress Avenue and tickets should be pre-purchased. They are only open THIS Thursday - Sunday, Dec 27th-30th. For more info go to artoficecreamexperience.com

You'll have so much fun, you'll scream for ice cream. And go have a vodka after. Cheers! 
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Still looking for the perfect holiday gift? How about giving a gift that keeps on giving? Consider a monthly alcohol subscription for your loved ones (or yourself!). Whether you want to try new brands, create your own cocktails or explore and enjoy sought-after bottles, these subscription boxes and clubs are the way to go!

RACKHOUSE WHISKEY CLUB
Focusing primarily on whiskey boxes, this bi-monthly (every 60 days) subscription box differs from others by not only including information on the product, but specializes in telling the story of the distillery through recipe cards, brand accessories (swag), full bottles(s) of product - sometimes 2 per shipping, private Facebook group, a podcast and videos of interviews with the master distillers and distillery team. “It’s a way to visit the distillery without actually being there” says CEO/Co-founder Dannie Strable. Choose from subscription box or single box.

TASTERS CLUB
A vodka club? Say what?? Choose from whiskey, bourbon, scotch, tequila, gin, rum, vodka, bubbly or stock the bar. Each come with product history, tasting notes and distillery information. 3, 6 or 12 month gift memberships available as well as monthly subscriptions.​ 11 different clubs to choose from.  

FLAVIAR
The place to discover and taste fine spirits curated from over 15,000 bottles of whiskey, rum, cognac, bourbon and gin. Monthly memberships start at $20/month

AMERICAN COCKTAIL CLUB
Be your own mixologist! Choose from two options: Everything but the Booze or alcohol included. Come with everything you need, like mixes and juices to make up to 4 servings. Cocktails range from classics to specialty drinks and feature all natural, quality and unique ingredients...All in the comfort of your own home. Ships monthly. Join as a monthly subscription or buy a featured past box individually.

SALOON BOX
Learn how to make 2 different cocktails for 2 people with ingredients and instruction from expert bartenders. One-time kits also available. Easy to follow recipe cards and trial size product that allows you  to try before you buy. Purchase monthly subscription or 3, 6, 12-month prepaid options with shipping included.

Would this be something you'd subscribe to? Let me know which one and how it works for you!
​CHEERS!
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I was invited to a complimentary media screening of SECOND ACT starring Jennifer Lopez, Leah Remini, Vanessa Hudgens, Treat Williams and Milo Ventimiglia; Written by Justin Zackham & Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Directed by Peter Segal.

This movie is perfect for a Girl’s Night Out!  I had the opportunity to preview it at The Alamo Drafthouse Mueller - a really cool venue complete with a spaceship photo opp upstairs and the Barrel O’Fun cocktail lounge downstairs.  As with all Alamo Drafthouses, food and drinks can be ordered and enjoyed in the theater. I was looking for something light so opted for a non-alcoholic drink: PINEAPPLE CUCUMBER FIZZ: Pineapple Juice, Cucumber, Lime, Tonic and YES! I added vodka. Was extremely refreshing.

So about this movie:
Release Date: December 21st, 2018
SECOND ACT is an inspirational comedy starring Jennifer Lopez as Maya, a 40-year-old woman struggling with frustrations of not having achieved more in life. As an experienced, quickwitted, perceptive employee, she is passed over for a promotion solely because she doesn’t have a college degree. Until, that is, she gets the chance to prove that street smarts are as valuable as book smarts, and that it is never too late for a Second Act.

Review: I absolutely LOVED IT! Leah Remini plays the supportive co-worker that encourages her to take a chance and make a change.  Jennifer Lopez brings back Jenny from the block vibes and is loveable and funny as Maya. And can we talk about her wardrobe? I left feeling empowered and thankful that I've taken my Second Act. There’s a great message at the end and this is THE feel good movie of the season.

Grab some gal pals and head over to see SECOND ACT. Share your thoughts using #SecondAct
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Photo credit: Nickel City FB Page
'Tis the season for holiday cocktailing and true to it's mantra, Keeping It Weird, Austin has some cool, weird places for you to take in a libation or two this Christmas. Many of these are also great photo opps if you're in it for the 'Gram. I'm sure to run into you at one of these, so say hello and let's partake of some holiday cheer ... otherwise know as Vodka! 

1. MIRACLE ON 5TH STREET
Last year' pop-up was a huge success so of course, we want more! Located at The Eleanor (next door to The Roosevelt Room), this Miracle of a cocktail adventure is THE place to be. You can be sure these cocktails will be all you want on your wish list. 
Opening on November 23rd, this Christmas-themed pop-up will run through December 29th from 4pm - 2am. Check the site for private parties as they will be closed to the public during those times. Feel free to wear your Ugly Christmas Sweaters and crazy hats. There will also be donation boxes for their two partner charities for those of you with hearts that grow two sizes and drive you to give.

2. SIPPIN' SANTA
If you're looking for a more casual way to sip on cocktails, head over to Nickel City for Tiki-Themed cocktails. From the same folks bringing you Miracle, Sippin' Santa will offer Saturday Luaus, tiki-themed cocktails and I'm sure lots of surprises in store from 2pm-2am on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations will be taken.  Sippin' Santa launches on November 23rd at 5pm and you can bet this pop-up will be an instant hit. With it running through December, you'll have plenty of time to try it out and don't forget to visit the food truck for your doing pleasure.

3. LALA'S LITTLE NUGGET
Affectionately known as LaLa's, this year-round dive bar has that vintage Christmas feel we all love. Claiming to be where The North Pole meet Central Texas, you can be sure to there's going to be a BIG BASH in December.  Regular hours week days is 4pm - 2am, Happy hour is from 4-7pm and they open at 11am on weekends with plenty of Bloody Mary's and Mimosas. Check out their roof - you'll find Santa and reindeer welcoming you in. Enjoy BBQ on their newly constructed patio while partakng of some Reindeer Water or Santa's Irish Coffee.

4. LIFE-SIZE GINGERBREAD HOUSE
Located in the lobby of the Westin Hotel, this scrumptious dining area can seat up to 12 people for a unique holiday experience. While this is more of a dining thing, you can order cocktails from the Stella San Jac bar. Reservations are required as spots for this are limited. Enjoy prix fixe menus for breakfast, brunch or between a 3 or 4-course dinner in this fun, appetizing room. Don't forget about the interactive photobooth and you'll be helping Back on My Feet, a local non-profit that combats homelessness through the power of running, community support, and essential employment and housing resources.

​5. WINTER WONDERLAND
The Circuit of the Americas transforms into a spectacular Winter Wonderland complete with a Chinese Latern Festival. Indulge in camel rides and the life-size maze. A petting zoo, skating rink, train, ferris wheel and singing trees keep the little one entertained while you visit the concession stands filled with Christmas Cheer. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate (upgraded parking available for $10). The Karting area will also be open during these hours and is available for an additional charge. (Appropriate for all ages)

6. TIKI-THURSDAY AT THE CAVALIER ATX
Rumor has it that The Cavalier will be doing Tiki Thursday during the month of December. No details yet, other than that, so stay tuned to their Facebook Page to find out more.

7. 12 BARS OF CHRISTMAS CRAWL
Pull out those onesies and ugly sweaters, grab your HoHo's and get ready to party downtown from 12-8pm. Tickets can be purchased online and registration is between 12noon-4pm. You must pick up all your stuff in order to participate. Your ticket includes a 16-oz Santa Stadium Cup, Santa hat and  wristband good for food/drink specials
Don't be a Grinch - Arrange for safe transportation home. 
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Houston, Texas was the setting for this year's TPSA show and there was vodka a'plenty! Many brands that have been in the market for awhile and have new offerings and many new to the market vodkas. 
​Needless to say, I had to try them all! Are any of these your favorites? Which are you excited to learn more about and/or try? Leave a comment to let me know and maybe we can share it together!
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Texas Tiki Week may be over but you can keep the Tiki going all year long with these cocktails featuring Monkey Shoulder. Which will be your favorite? 

Number 23
1.5 parts Monkey Shoulder
1part Silence Tea-Infused Vermouth*
.75 part Lemon Juice
.5 part Mango Nectar or Juice
.5 part Cinnamon Syrup
2 dashes Regan's or Bitter Truth orange bitters
3 drops of saline 
Method:
Carbonate entire cocktail in a draft system. Serve over pellet ice in a Collins, Pilsner or Tiki Mug
Garnish: Hibiscus bud OR Orchid flower
 
*Silence Tea-Infused Vermouth
1/2 part Silence Rooibos Tea (We will bring this with us)
1 btl (750ml) of Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1 Tea Bag
1 Lemon Peel
Method:
Place tea in bag. Take 8 oz. of vermouth, isolate in a mixing tin and place teabag inside. Steam using the espresso machine wand until steaming hot. Add Lemon Peel. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes before straining contents back into bottle. Will keep indefinitely.
 
Road to Zion
1.5 part Monkey Shoulder
.75 part Lemon Juice
.75 part Pineapple Juice
.5 part Ginger Syrup
.5 part Simple Syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Pinch of mint
Method:
Combine all ingredients, shake and double-strain over cubed ice in a Rocks Glass.
Garnish: Grated cinnamon and a crown of mint

Almost There
1.5 part Monkey Shoulder
.75 part Apricot Liqueur 
.75 part Lime Juice
.5 part Simple Syrup
Pinch of Mint
1 Demitasse-Spoon Sugar
Splash Soda 
Method:
Swizzle all ingredients with pellet ice in a Collins or Tiki Mug
Garnish: Angostura Bitters and Mint Top
 
Thunder in Paradise
1.5 part Monkey Shoulder
.5 part Gonzalez Alfonso Oloroso Sherry
.5 part Orgeat Syrup
.75 part Fresh Lime Juice
.75 part Coco Lopez
Method:
Combine all ingredients into Slushy Machine. Serve into Collins or Tiki Mug.
Garnish: Dashes of Peychaud's Bitters, Little Umbrella, Brandied Cherry

For more recipes, follow Monkey Shoulder on social media:
Facebook: @MonkeyShoulderUS
Instagram: @MonkeyShoulder
#MonkeyShoulder 
#TikiMeetsCheeky 
#EmployeesOnly
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Menu melds classic Italian dishes with a Southern touch

I love a good Italian food restaurant so was excited to here of La Volpe's opening. The menu sounds amazing along with craft cocktails to please any palate. Happy Hour info and official press release below. Hope to see you there soon!
​---------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Longtime local restaurateurs Steve and Heather Potts, the owners of the city’s beloved Cedar Door, are bringing a Southern take on Italian to Austin with the opening of La Volpe. At this chic space, located in Austin's Central Business District, executive chef Will Eason blends traditional Italian with ultra-fresh ingredients and Southern flavors. Nestled right next door to the Cedar Door on Brazos Street, La Volpe opened to the public Friday, September 21
 
“We have a very talented team and everyone was ready to expand on their cullinary expertise,” said Steve PottsLeading the new restaurant venture—Executive Chef Eason, sous chef Josh Wilson, pastry chef Amanda Neber, bar manager Kristen “KK” Kleypas. “This is a great opportunity to show what we could do from a different perspective,” said Steve Potts. “La Volpe is all about the food and the experience in a very intimate setting.”  
 
Eason has created a smart, food-forward menu that melds his Southern background with the traditional flavors of Italy. Eason’s culinary career began at Revival Grill in Greensboro, North Carolina, under the tutelage of Chef Robert Pearse, who had lived and trained in Italy. Eason landed his first executive chef position at Poe’s Tavern in Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. He then moved to Austin in 2013 and worked at Second Bar + Kitchen before taking the helm at the Cedar Door in 2014. At La Volpe, Eason is sourcing as much as possible from local purveyors—cheeses from Antonelli’s, microgreens from Bella Verdi Farms, nose to tail pork from Tender Belly, to name a few. 
 
The menu includes starters such as fried baby artichoke with shaved fennel and limoncello crema; an assorted cheese board with honeycomb from Kelley’s Honey Farms; and chicken liver mousse with fried house-made focaccia and pickled carrot; and entrées like white truffle lasagne with porcini mushrooms and nearly 15 sheets of thin handmade pasta; HeartBrand ribeye with Texas cabernet compound butter; and grilled Heluka pork chop with femur jus; and small plates such as charred okra with smoked tomato and mustard green purée; and seared scallop with pork caramel and goat cheese. 
 
Neber graduated from the University of Texas at Austin then attended the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. She has honed her skills in kitchens all over Austin, notably at Olive & June and Foreign & Domestic. For La Volpe, she has put a Southern twist on her desserts, creating interpretations of classics, such as charred corn panna cotta with cinnamon cornbread croutons; lavender and goat cheese semifreddo atop lemon balsamic cake; and sweet tea tiramisù.
 
The bar—a focal point of the restaurant with its dynamic floor-to-ceiling shelving housing exotic finds and cleverly positioned lighting that emulates the face of a fox (La Volpe means “fox” in Italian)--features Italian and Texas wines, craft beers, and handcrafted cocktails infused with fresh herbs and spices. Vintage Italian ties are showcased in a custom-built frame with the Italian phrase “legare uno su,” which means “tie one on.” 
 
The same level of attention to detail is seen throughout the space, which was designed by Jennifer Long, who also did the interiors of C’ Boys Heart & Soul nightclub in Austin and Otra Vez Cantina in Denver. A film and set designer by trade, Long’s sexy style adds a note of playfulness throughout the restaurant, which features intimate dining nooks, exposed brick and beams, a vintage teardrop chandelier from Italy, and an outdoor courtyard lush with olive trees. The vibe is smart and sophisticated yet local and welcoming. 
 
La Volpe is located at 201 Brazos Street, Building B, in downtown Austin. Dinner is served from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; and from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Happy hour is offered Tuesday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., with $2 off select cocktails, beer and wine. Sunday brunch is coming soon. For more information about La Volpe, call (512) 501-6713 or go to www.lavolpeaustin.com
Visit La Volpe on social media:
Facebook: Facebook.com/lavolpeaustin
Instagram: @lavolpeaustin
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William Grant & Sons Highlights Responsible Consumption at this Year’s Tales of the Cocktail

​YES, You read that right. This year, one of the biggest portfolio companies has made the decision to support the backbone of the industry, the bartender, in what will surely be the most unexpected twist on the biggest party at Tales of the Cocktail this July.
Each year, I look forward to the WG&S Portfolio Party because you never know what will happen or what you will see. From The Giant Cucumber Slicer to Brand Ambassadors throwing out giant vodka soaked Swedish fish or dancing up on the indoor chalet rooftop. The sights, sounds and of course, creative cocktails are always over the top. It's one of the most entertaining and memorable events of the conference. With or without alcohol, I have no doubt, it will be yet again.
But not to worry. There will be plenty of opportunity to partake of the WG&S portfolio throughout Tales. Official press release is below. I'll see you at the Reyka Pool Party! 
----------------------------
William Grant & Sons guarantees a truly unforgettable experience at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail festival – kicking off the week with a spirited, yet spirit-free, portfolio party. Getting back to the roots of education and focusing on responsible consumption for the bartender community, the independent family-owned Scottish distiller will throw a party with all its expected revelry and signature high-concept experiences – without serving alcohol.

This will be the first time a major spirits company will host an event of this nature at the industry’s largest annual event. As Tales of the Cocktail evolves and re-sets under new ownership, William Grant & Sons is planning a week of events to celebrate what makes the industry special and the very people who are the heart & soul of the industry – the bartenders.

“This is something new for us, and I’m excited to be a part of an organization that looks at the big picture and sets trends,” William Grant & Sons Director of Brand Advocacy Charlotte Voisey said. “It’s important for us to give bartenders – the backbone of the industry – a night before their seminars and social gatherings where the pressure to imbibe is lifted and meaningful conversations and relationships are forged.”

Beyond the portfolio party, attendees can still enjoy the creative, engaging events they’ve come to know and love from William Grant throughout the week – including after parties and a portfolio tasting room offering creative, trend-inspired cocktails and creative new plays on flavor. There will also be six Ambassador-led seminars to inspire, educate and challenge bartenders to continue pushing their craft and hospitality to new heights. Wrapping up the biggest week of the year, guests can relax in the “back-by-popular-demand” Hendrick’s Gin Departure Lounge.

“We see a big opportunity for a fresh beginning with Tales of the Cocktail this year, and we’re ready to truly focus on what’s important to us – access to proper education, the welfare and wellbeing of bartenders and the importance of responsible consumption,” said Neal Bodenheimer, Tales of the Cocktail Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors. “We can think of no better partner than William Grant & Sons to join us in this effort, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us in New Orleans this year.”

For the William Grant & Sons events, and full Tales schedule, please visit https://tickets.talesofthecocktail.org/p/schedule18
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Congrats!  You’re attending Tales of the Cocktail 2018. This will only be my third year to attend, but I have attended many other conferences and cocktail events over the years and the basics still apply.
I received media credentials my first year and tried to do everything - Interviews, client events, brand activations, seminars, tasting rooms and of course, the parties. I wore myself out! Running from place to place, trying to be everywhere was exhausting.
The second year, I was a little more organized and managed my time a little better. I still had a full plate, but focused on ‘work’ days and ‘free’ days. Still got off track on occasion, but it yielded such great things.
This year, we will see what happens, but I am hopeful I’ll master it eventually. :)
While I do not consider myself an expert, I have learned some things over the years that I’d like to share with you.
  1. HAVE A PLAN. Plan your day(s) so you have an idea of your time. I use a spreadsheet to keep me organized. Yes, I’m that person. If you are REALLY organized, sync it to your phone calendar and set reminder alerts.
  2. UTILIZE THE TALES APP. The Tales of the Cocktail App is your best friend. It lets you set your schedule and sends you notifications. The app is usually out a few weeks before the conference. It’s also the best place to check updates.
  3. BE FLEXIBLE. Your plan is timed perfectly! But things happen, so don’t freak if you have to revise it. Just go with the flow and don’t stress if your timing gets thrown off. Sometimes those end up being the best opportunities.
  4. VISIT APP/WEBSITE OFTEN. Last minute adds or changes can happen so be sure to check the app or website a few days prior to be sure your events are still on track.
  5. ATTEND SEMINARS. There is such a variety of education available to us at Tales. Grab your tickets early as many sell out quickly. Check out the free and brand seminars too.
  6. WHAT TO TAKE. It’s better to be prepared, than realize you should have packed the essentials. I recommend the following: sunscreen, lip balm, reusable water bottle, sunglasses, phone cord, power pack, granola/energy bars, mints, cushion insoles, light sweater/jacket (those seminar rooms can get cold!). And not to worry if you forget something, there’s a store directly across from the Hotel Monteleone, the host hotel. i also throw some bubble wrap in my suitcase in case I bring back bottles.
  7. SWAG BAGS. Gals, we like to use our tiny purses so we can have our hands for those cocktails! However, you will acquire things throughout the day that you may want to pack away, especially if you aren’t able to get it back to your room. Carry a tote or backpack with you. You’ll thank me later.
  8. RSVP. Some special events or parties will require an rsvp. Some are invite only. RSVP when required/requested to do so. With so many attendees at this conference, they DO at times adhere to a strict list. While Tales is primarily an industry-driven conference, many brands open the events to locals and understandably so, so be sure you are on ‘the list”.
  9. PRACTICE MODERATION. We will have many days full of cocktails, some days starting very early and going very late into the night. If you do the hangover prevention thing, I suggest you take precautions. Remember that this is not a sprint, but a marathon - pace yourself. I’ve learned it’s best to try small sips of things in the tasting rooms, then if it’s something you really want a full drink of, go back and get that. If you consume every full cocktail handed to you, you may be in for a short day or worse. And believe me, I’ve seen it happen and it’s not pretty. Just because it’s an open bar doesn’t mean you have to drink it all. Remember this is still a professional platform and you’ll need to face these people back home, the next day, or next year. Maintain your integrity.
  10. HYDRATE. Drink a full glass of water first thing in the morning and before you go to bed. (I know, it’s the Mom in me). Refill your water bottle regularly. It can get really hot walking around New Orleans in the middle of July, especially with alcohol in your system. There’s usually water in each seminar room, tasting rooms and in each hotel lobby, but just in case, it’s good to have your water bottle.
  11. REST. We may not be able to get a good full nights sleep, so take advantage of any down time you have to grab a quick cat nap or snooze by the pool. I experienced FOMO when I did this last year, but was so glad that I had those little naps to help get me through the rest of the night.
  12. NETWORK. You have the opportunity to meet people from all over the nation and the world: Brand Ambassadors, bartenders to bar owners, Distillers, Media and more! Take advantage of any time you have to chat. Exchange business cards or follow each other on social media.
  13. SMILE. Treat volunteers and workers with respect and offer a smile. As a volunteer for SXSW and F1/Circuit of the Americas, it’s refreshing when people say Thank You, smile or say they appreciate you. A little kindness goes a long way. Be sure to flash that smile in photos too. Snap, post and be sure to tag @totc on Twitter or @tales_of_the_cocktail on Instagram. Feel free to tag me too - I'm @vodkagirlatx on everything!
  14. TIP YOUR BARTENDER. We have to pay for almost nothing while at this conference and many of the bartenders working from around the country are volunteers. Be sure to tip your bartenders. Let’s support our industry co-workers.
  15. EXPLORE AND ENJOY! New Orleans has a rich history and some of the best bars and restaurants. Allow some downtime and discover all the area has to offer. Invite that new person you just met to go with you!
There you have it Tales Virgins. I’m sure I’ve left out something, but I hope this helps you a little get you through your first year of Tales. Hope to run into you and share a drink or two. Cheers to a great time!
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