INTERNATIONAL bartending festival Tales on Tour will make its European debut this weekend when the event gets underway in Edinburgh.
Set across five days in various venues across Edinburgh, the event gets underway on Saturday (April 1) and marks the first time the cocktail festival has ventured outwith the Americas; previous host cities include Vancouver, Buenos Aires and Mexico City.
A smaller version of the annual Tales of the Cocktail event in New Orleans, Tales on Tour will include seminars on spirits and cocktails aimed at bartenders during the day, with a range of drinks-related events open to the public in the evenings; all events will be supported by a number of drinks companies.
To celebrate Europe’s first Tales on Tour festival, Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands (BBFB) will host a series of ‘Dynamic Duo’ events in partnership with some of Edinburgh’s top bars.
The events will take the form of collaborations between six of BBFB’s drinks brands and five different Edinburgh bars.
The drinks collaborations over the five days comprise Jack Daniel’s and Lucky Liquor (Sunday April 2); Bombay Sapphire gin and Bramble (Sunday April 2); Bacardi rum and Panda & Sons (Monday April 3); Patron tequila and the Voyage of Buck (Monday April 3); and The Bon Vivant, which will collaborate with both Dewar’s whisky (Sunday April 2) and Martini vermouth (Monday April 3).
Each bar will showcase a series of bespoke cocktails made from its respective BBFB partner spirit, which will be available to sample during the festival.
These one-off tasting menus have been curated by what event organisers describe as some of the world’s most renowned cocktail experts, including International Bartender of the Year, Jack McGarry, Elliot Ball and Olly Brading of the Cocktail Trading Company and the award-winning Marian Beke of The Gibson Bar in London.
Shervene Shahbazkhani, UK head of advocacy at BBFB, said Tales on Tour is “undoubtedly one of the most influential cocktail festivals in the world, so we’re thrilled to be involved in its first European venture –and what better place than Edinburgh”.
Hi-Spirits, the firm behind brands such as Southern Comfort, Buffalo Trace, Fernet Branca and Brooklyn Gin in the UK, is another supporter.
The firm said all four of those brands will have a ‘high-profile’ presence across the five-day festival.
On Saturday (April 1), the drinks distributor will host ‘The Branca Breakfast’ at the Voyage of Buck, which will comprise an Italian aperitif – Fernet Branca; the event will be complimentary for the first 150 bartenders who collect Tales of the Cocktail tickets.
The Voyage of Buck will also serve a Branca cocktail menu throughout the festival.
Also taking place on Saturday is the Southern Comfort #SouthernWelcome party at Hoot the Redeemer, featuring Southern Comfort cocktails that are matched to southern-style food, along with a live band.
On Sunday (April 2), events will include a ‘Dynamic Duo’ session for Sazerac. Taking place at Bryant & Mack, the event will see Sazerac brand ambassador Jason Coleman team up with a UK bartender.
And on Monday (April 3), Brooklyn Gin will be in the spotlight at Bramble, where the bar’s Jon Hughes will team up with Jan Warren from Dutch Kills, New York.
Tales of the Cocktail founder, Ann Tuennerman, said: “For our first foray into Europe, we needed to put together a programme that will show off the talents of Edinburgh’s fantastic bartenders and draw their contemporaries from around the globe.
“We’re confident that we’ve achieved this.”