Sunday, July 20, 2008
The Appletini is Dead!
Whatever anybody did at this year's "Tales of the Cocktail," it's hard to believe it was more fun than marching with the New Orleans Funeral Band that perambulated from Harrah's casino to Cafe Giovanni on Saturday night at midnight.
The "funeral" was for bad cocktails, and you would know that the libation chosen for dusty death would be a vodka concoction. The Appletini—every young urban woman's friend, every cocktailian's bete noire—was delivered the death sentence, and its sweet and simple-minded body was carried aloft in a plain, pine coffin and all about danced and strutted for joy. (Don't be surprised if you go home and find the corpse very much alive in your local bars.)
A good couple hundred people were in the parade. Having just come from a quick visit to Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, blogger Gabriel Szaszko (Cocktailnerd.com) and his wife lovely wife Joana and I arrived on the scene at the exact moment the band struck up. I assumed a position up front near the players and high-stepped it down Canal Street. Most others walked. Funny: the cocktail crowd aren't dancers, by and large. The band was in uniform and in fine fettle. Many cameras were aloft taking films. All waved handkerchiefs emblazoned with the Plymouth Gin logo. (How could anything go down this week without some sort of bold product endorsement?)
The parade ended at Cafe Giovanni, where there was to be the final event of the night, a "Bartender's Breakfast" hosted by Pegu Club's Audrey Saunders, Willy Shine, Aisha Sharp and Plymouth's man, Simon Ford. Guest bartenders throughout the night were to include Dave Wondrich, Gary Regan, Francesco Lafranconi, Allen Katz, Jacques Bezuidenhout, Kenta Goto, John Deragon, Don Lee, Chris Patino, Matt Gee, Leo DeGroff and more. There were some pretty girls in colorful, skimpy costumes, and long tail-like trains, whose job, it seemed, was to saunter about with low-burn seductiveness and sway their hips to the music. They were as much a part of the decorations as any balloon. Where is such talent found? And what purpose does it serve? New Orleans is a curious town.
There was a band inside, too. But the atmosphere wasn't as joyous as it had been on the street. Tired as I was, I had no intention of staying to the bitter end in the wee hours as many, I'm sure, did.