Tales of the Cocktail explores Big Easy's 'spirits'

NEW ORLEANS -- The Big Easy boasts its share of "spirits," from those hinted at on "eerie" walking tours of the historic French Quarter to the libationary kind.

After a tour of a New Orleans cemetery where decayed ruins barely conceal human remains, one might be ready for a little of the latter. Two days exploring New Orleans' dining and drinking culture should do it.

Tales of the Cocktail, new last year, is a two-day event that features an afternoon cocktail hour with a literary twist -- cocktail book authors will be available for signings -- followed by a "spirited dinner" at one of 12 New Orleans restaurants, prepared, in part, by a cocktail book author. The dates are Aug. 19 and 20.

Menus created by one of the 23 participating authors and a chef complement selected cocktails and spirits.

Restaurants hosting the dinners are Antoine's, Arnaud's, Brennan's, Broussard's, Cafe Giovanni, French Quarter Bar Restaurant, Galatoire's, Girod's Bistro at Napoleon House, the Hunt Room Grill at the Hotel Monteleone, Louis XVI Restaurant, Muriel's Jackson Square and Tujague's.

Tales of the Cocktail was created by Southern Comfort Cocktail Tour, whose claim to fame is a walking tour of the French Quarter that examines the history of the famous bars and restaurants of New Orleans.

Participants have the option of signing up for a VIP Southern Comfort Cocktail Tour, slated for Aug. 21 at 4 p.m., at an additional cost of $24 per person.

On hand for the VIP tour will be Kerri McCaffety, author of "Obituary Cocktail," the book about the New Orleans dining and drinking establishments that inspired the tour.

The host hotel, the Hotel Monteleone on Royal Street, is offering a package from Aug. 17 to 22, with the client's choice of any three nights.

Priced at $155 per person, double, it includes three nights' accommodations; a welcome cocktail in the hotel's revolving Carousel Piano Bar and Lounge; and the Tales of the Cocktail two-hour "cocktail hour" followed by the dinner on Aug. 19. During the cocktail hour, guests have the opportunity to buy autographed books.

For more on Tales of the Cocktail or accommodations for the event, visit www.talesofthecocktail.com or e-mail [email protected] and ask for or enter the code COCKTAIL. For information on the scary type of New Orleans spirit tours, call (866) 314-1224 or visit www.neworleanstours.net.

To contact Destinations Editor Margaret Myre, send e-mail to [email protected].

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