Tales of Absolut: Sharing Iconic Stories at Famous New Orleans Industry Event

The weeklong spirits event Tales of the Cocktail will take place in New Orleans from 21 to 26 July. Absolut will host three themed experience rooms on-site, showcasing the brand’s cultural impact, community, and sustainability efforts through a drink experience hosted by leading bartenders.

Portrait of Kresan Naidu

Beyond that, Absolut will also team up with one of the best chefs in the US. We talked with Kresan Naidu, Global Brand Manager of Education and Trade Advocacy, to learn more about this year’s event.

What do you look forward to when visiting the 22nd annual Tales of the Cocktail?

– I’m looking forward to three things: first, Absolut’s two-day Edutainment activation. Second, I want to catch up on the latest industry trends. Third, I want to connect with the hospitality community by reconnecting with old industry friends and making new ones.

Our team of Absolut hosts and bartenders will take guests on a journey through three experience rooms

Last year, Absolut made a real splash at the event by hosting a pool party filled with star bartenders and colourful drag shows. What do you plan to do this year?

– This year’s theme for Tales of the Cocktail is “Inspire,” and we have created an edutainment experience with the hopes of leaving guests inspired, not just with Absolut but all aspects of hospitality. Tales of Absolut is set to share stories from bartending legends from the 80s till today with the aspiration to inspire today’s hospitality professionals. Our team of Absolut hosts and bartenders will take guests on a journey through three experience rooms. We are sharing stories of the brand and cocktails inspired by those stories of real human connection created by our Absolut bar team. This year’s event will be a timed, guided experience & guests will need to sign up for a time slot beforehand and be sure to arrive on time.

Can you describe these experience rooms in more detail and explain what the visitors can expect?

The first room celebrates cultural pioneers and iconic moments of enduring creativity that have earned Absolut a place in pop culture, cocktail culture and beyond. The second room celebrates the power of community as we inspire a global community of bartenders with a superb, high-quality vodka made entirely and only by our one community in the small village of Åhus, Sweden, to the global bar community who create cocktails with Absolut, we are a community made vodka. The third is based on sustainability, dramatizing Absolut’s sustainable practices focusing on waste management and future innovation, such as the Absolut paper bottle.

Tales of the Cocktail is regarded as the Oscars of the cocktail industry

You have also partnered with several high-level bartenders to act as hosts for the guests through the experience rooms and serve fitting cocktails. Can you tell us who they are?

– The guests will be guided by some real Absolut legends from the 80s and 90s in the first experience room: bartenders Ben Reed and Toby Cecchini. In the second room, guests will meet bartenders Hampus Thunholm and Kelsey Ramage, who have been part of the Absolut family for years. They have been working on many different projects and are known for contributing to the bar community in different ways. Room three will be featured by bartenders Luke Whearty and Matt Whiley, who are advocates of sustainable and circular bartending. 

Absolut will also have a convivial zone at the event. What will you offer the guests there?

– The convivial zone will be a place for guests to network, socialize and enjoy delicious drinks from our extended bar team next to the pool. We will also have a pop-up restaurant serving food deeply rooted in the community with locally sourced ingredients to support the New Orleans community. 

How big is Tales of the Cocktail for the industry?

– Tales of the Cocktail is regarded as the Oscars of the cocktail industry, serving not just as an awards show but as a pivotal gathering for industry professionals with a focus on building and strengthening the industry through education, advancement programs with professional networking and community building opportunities for the global industry. To some, it may be seen as a big party. However, it is what you make of it. The event offers numerous experiences that provide substantial educational value. Bartenders and hospitality professionals of all levels attend to learn, network, and meet industry icons.