Saturday, June 4

MOAC - June 2005 Seminars

The Museum of the American Cocktail (MOAC) put on three seminars this past week that were absolutely amazing. My wife and I attended all three events and we loved every minute of it.

The museum is a nonprofit organization that celebrates one of America's most influential beverages, the American Cocktail. The cocktail has influenced everything from music, theater, art, film, and politics around the world during its two-century-old history. (2)

The history of the American Cocktail is rich with great stories and events that significantly impacted our culture and way of life. Most of this history is not even mentioned in history books and has a chance of becoming lost without the existence of the MOAC.

The museum's current home, New Orleans, was also the location for the seminars this week. The first seminar on June 1st titled, Margaritas, Melons, and Barbecue was given by the King of Cocktails himself, Dale DeGroff.

In this session, Dale did a brief cocktail history lesson telling the story of how it wasn't tea or coffee that started the American Revolution, but it was actually rum. Great stuff!

Then the discussion moved on to tequila and the different types thereof. We did a tequila tasting of three types: Plata (bottled within 60 days), Resposado (aged two to eleven months in oak), and Anejo (aged for one year or more). All three were 100% blue agava and they tasted fantastic.

The cocktails served included: Naked Margarita, Frozen Margarita, Watermelon Punch, Sweet Charity, and Port Whiskey Punch. The last three are Dale DeGroff originals and were very good. The Watermelon Punch was actually served out of a hollowed out watermelon and consisted of Tequila, lemon juice, Cointreau, fresh watermelon juice, and Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur. The maraschino liqueur is actually kind of hard to come by but Luxardo still makes it.

The second seminar was given by Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist. Tony put the Bellagio in Las Vegas on the map as a must stop location for all cocktail enthusiast. He designed the cocktail and sprits program at the resort, which has 22 bars and thousands of guests daily. All 22 bars use fresh juice and do not skimp on presentation.

Tony's seminar was very interactive. He had several audience members join him to participate in the building of several cocktails. The subject was making great cocktails at home. The seminar covered many of the basics and had us sampling and building the following cocktails: Sunsplash, Cosmopolitan, Martini, Mojito, and Manhattan. All in all, very fun, informative, and wonderful cocktails!

The third and final seminar was presented by David Wondrich. The title, Secrets of the Saloon. This was a wonderful taste down memory lane as we explored: Punch, Whiskey Smash, Brandy Cock-Tail, Martinez Cocktail, Sherry Cobbler, Mint Julep, and the New Orleans' original Ramos Gin Fizz. The seminar was steeped with history and David told some wonderful stories about cocktails pre-prohibition.

The information about punch was especially interesting. As told by David, men use to gather around and make a lively punch in a large bowl and pass it around until they were stumbling and falling all over the place. As individuality became more prevalent in America the punch bowls became smaller and smaller until finally the tenders of the bar were making individual servings of punch and various other libations.

Overall all three events where very fun and I enjoyed them quite immensely. I can't wait for the next round.

If you have not already, please, join the Museum of American Cocktails. They really need the support of all those who love the cocktail and want to keep the rich heritage of it alive and well. The museum is currently looking for a permanent home in New Orleans, but they need more support from everyone to keep the project going.

Happy cocktailing!

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