I find it marvelously comforting when someone genuinely deserving of recognition receives a prestigious award. It’s even better when the person is warm, talented, and industrious as well. Certifiably groovy folk, like spunky underdogs everywhere, rarely reel in the hardware. When they do, which statistically is not often, the matter deserves noting.
As it so happens, the opening program of the Cheers Beverage Conference, as in the previous 10 years, included the presentation of the highly esteemed Awards for Beverage Excellence, the on-premise equivalent of the Nobel. As Cheers’ editor Donna Hood-Crecca approached the podium to make the presentation, the roughly 800 attendees drew quiet, an air of anticipation settled over the room.
“And this year’s recipient of the Cheers’ “Industry Innovator of the Year” award is...Ann Rogers Tuennerman.” The place erupted in applause and enthusiastic whoops, a resounding endorsement of the selection. Presidential candidates would kill for such a spontaneous ovation, not that they’d get it. Applauding for the much liked and respected Ann and acknowledging her considerable accomplishments was a genuine treat.
For those of us in the international drink community, Ann Rogers Tuennerman is something of a celebrity. She’s the founder of the globally renowned “Tales of the Cocktail,” an annual celebration paying tribute to the extraordinary life and times of the cocktail as a classic American art form. The five-day event will be held this July 16-20 in New Orleans French Quarter.
In 2007, the fifth annual Tales of the Cocktail drew more than 12,000 attendees with first-class food and drink and events such as spirit and dinner pairings (Spirited Dinners), cocktail tastings, book-signings, a Bar Chef Challenge, and variety of seminars and demonstrations on classic and popular themes in cocktail mixology. The festival targets mixologists, authors, chefs, bartenders, designers and cocktail gurus from around the world.
The celebrated event draws the finest, most famous mixologists, bar chefs and industry personages, bar stars such as Dale DeGroff, Tony Abou-Ganim, Jim Meehan, Toby Cecchini, Simon Ford, Gary Regan, Ted Haigh, Robert Hess, Audrey Saunders, Julie Reiner, Francesco LaFranconi and Kevin Brauch.
Tales of the Cocktail is hosted by the non-profit New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society. Its mission is to preserve the rich history of the restaurants and bars of New Orleans and the unique culture of dining and drinking famous to the city, while educating locals, visitors, and the hospitality industry about this culinary heritage.
Ann Rogers Tuennerman has created one of the most spirited, thoroughly enjoyable gigs in the country. Tales is a “can’t miss” event hosted by the coolest city in North America. A grateful and parched nation thanks you, Ann, you’re the mint in our Mojito.