‘It’s 100% about giving back’: Tales of the Cocktail returns with new mission

NEW ORLEANS -- One of the largest gatherings of bartenders and spirits industry pros is back in New Orleans this week for its 16th year.

Tales of the Cocktail, which runs from July 17-22, is expected to bring more than 15,000 people to town for a wide range of events.

Board member Neal Bodenheimer said the annual event has transformed into the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation -- and "it's 100 percent about giving back."

The organization plans to give away $250,000 worth of scholarships and grants to deserving entities.

"We watched these really passionate folks come together and decide where we want to give money,"  Bodenheimer said . "It's local, national, and it's also international. Tales is an amazing platform. It reaches all across the world. Now the great honor that we have is to move forward, use that platform to do good across the world."

Although the focus has changed, what remains the same for Tales of the Cocktail is the big business impact it has on local bar owners, bartenders, waiters and hotel workers.

"This is kind of the dead center of summer if you count in the beginning of September as an extension of summer because of hurricane season,"  Bodenheimer said. "If you are swimming a channel and you find a sandbar, it's like this midpoint. It's a great infusion of money and tips and business for everybody that works in the hospitality business."

For information on seminars, parties and more Tales of the Cocktail events, click here.