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New Orleans Report: A Happy Hour to End All Happy Hours

One night at Tales of the Cocktail, there was a massive walk-around happy hour. Bars and bartenders from everywhere had various tables and attendees were free to just stroll around and sample the wares, as I did with fellow SF writer Rebecca Chapa. There must have been at least 50 different drinks to choose from in the crowded and raucous room.

Naturally I was thrilled and surprised to encounter Martin Cate (below), the brilliant tiki mind behind Alameda's Forbidden Island, with his own table, pouring one of the best drinks of the evening.

Behind other tables I found other surprising types such as the Thirsty Traveler, King Cocktail Dale DeGroff, whiz Eben Freeman of New York's Tailor, and--serving some of the most delicious drinks with a trio of different heirloom tomato and vodka shots--the chef of Restaurant Zoe in the New Orleans W hotel, Roberto Bustillo (below).

While I'm not typically a fan of walk-around tastings with food and wine, when it came to cocktails, the format worked perfectly.