Are you planning to go to the Tales Of the Cocktail festival in the French Quarter of New Orleans? It’s on for late July. Sounds like huge fun. I’m bound to go down for a couple of days of gallivanting (Mr. KB, watch out!). This I’ve decided after reading Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, by Brad Thomas Parsons. If you have the slightest interest in cocktails, or culinary craftsmanship of any sort, this book is for you. Many years ago, I used to read GQ magazine not for the fashion, none of which I could afford, but because I loved reading short features about things like a little old English craftsman who makes the world’s greatest penny loafer. I’m interested in people who geek out over things like that. Bitters is definitely for cocktail geeks, and it’s inspired me to plan to geek out and make my own bitters (there are a number of recipes in the book).

Anyway, I know that Brad Thomas Parsons will be at TOTC, because Bitters, which won the James Beard Foundation Book Award for Beverage, is up for a big award at TOTC. My old high school chum and rock star New Orleans bartender Alan Walter will no doubt be in the thick of it. Below, on this Times-Picayune video, watch Alan make a fantastic-looking summer drink called the Red Wing: