Double-fisting in the ballrooms at the Rim.
  • Double-fisting in the ballrooms at the Rim.

The Canadian edition of the famous New Orleans festival of drinks is well into its big day of tastings. There's a lot of double-fisting going on in the ballrooms of the Fairmont Pacific Rim (so to speak), as conference-goers make their way through a solid eight hours of drinks, including:

· DiSaronno & Tia Maria Tasting Room
· A Mad Tea Party
· Hendrick’s Gin Tasting Emporium
· Around the World in Whisky Days
· 150 Years of Bacardi [in a hallway that looks like the brand was projectiled out of a hose]
· Havana Cultura

At this juncture, people seem sedated. (How much can you actually discern, tastewise, after more than a few tastes anyway? There are a lot of citrusy cocktails, too—after trying a couple of those, it seems like between the alcohol and the acid, now you're drinking, not tasting.) I tried a milk punch made with Gibson's Canadian whiskey; it was made with two percent milk, and the gentleman making it could not explain why not whole milk. I mean, it's not going to turn into a White Russian or anything, and it did taste thin. I also tried a drink made with whiskey and fig jam, which did not seem like the best idea and did not taste like the best idea, either.

At least one loud hiccup was heard.

Seattle does not seem to be much in the house—no Jamie Boudreau (he's Canadian! but he's probably damn busy at Canon), no Murray (who probably avoids these things like the plague, and why not, for he is king), no Anu, no bartenders at all that I recognize from home. Sniff.

Coming up: Havana Cultura, as listed above, which is a tasting of Havana Club rum (which you can get up here because IT'S CANADA and THEY ARE NOT INSANE) with Cuban music and, apparently, a person or persons who will hand-roll you a Cuban cigar. Yes! And goodbye for now, taste buds.

Tonight: a Genever dinner at the Jean-Georges restaurant Market at the Shangri-La Hotel. Rough!