Here’s Looking at You, Kid.
Le Salon at Windsor Court will be hosting its Prohibition Tea created by New Orleans’ Mixologist of the Year, Kent Westmoreland, inspired by the classic film Casablanca. The exquisite Le Salon will transform into Rick’s Café Americain during the Prohibition Era, serving up its spirited tea service with three courses of brunch bites and nibbles.
“I put that dress away. When the Germans march out, I’ll wear it again.” A note taken from Casablanca, The Cocktail Bar at Windsor Court looks to Ilsa Lund and her symbolic blue dress with a rendition of the French 75 cocktail, adding Crème de Violette – made from violets grown in the Swiss Alps – turning the cocktail blue. Then topped with three blueberries to represent the love triangle between Ilsa, Rick Blaine and Victor Laslow.
Check out what Kent has to say about this one-of-a-kind event and this year’s Tales of the Cocktail.
Tell us about the cocktails you will be serving at Tales.
The four cocktails created for the Prohibition Tea were inspired by the love story told in the classic film Casablanca.
The aperitif is named Ilsa’s Blue Dress. The cocktail is blue like the dress Ilsa said she would wear again when the Germans march out of Paris.
This cocktail is a rendition of the French 75 cocktail made with Hendrick’s gin, lemon juice, sugar, champagne, and Crème de Violette from violets frown in the Swiss Alps. The cocktail is topped with three blueberries to represent the love triangle between Rick, Ilsa, and Victor.
The first course is paired with We’ll Always Have Paris, the line Rick says to Ilsa as he puts her on the plane with Victor representing Rick’s sacrifice of the woman he loved. The cocktail uses Reyka vodka, Lillet Blanc, lemon juice, and honey syrup, topped with ground cinnamon and lemon zest.
Here’s Looking at You, Kid accompanies the second course. It features Flor De Cana 4-year aged rum, Solerno blood orange liqueur, grapefruit juice, and house-made pomegranate grenadine. The cocktail recalls the bitter-sweet line Rick says to Ilsa before they are separated in Paris.
Paired with the dessert course is Last Flight to Lisbon. This champagne cocktail celebrates Isla and Victor escaping Casablanca and beginning their sojourn to the United States. The ingredients are Reyka vodka, Domain de Canton ginger liqueur, lemon juice, sugar, and champagne, garnished with candied ginger.
Created for the Prohibition Tea, the four cocktails will continue to be offered as part of the Cocktail Bar menu after Tales of the Cocktail.
Tell us about the Prohibition Tea.
The Prohibition Tea at Windsor Court is a look to Le Salon’s traditional afternoon tea where cocktails take the place of tea and are served in tea cups paying homage to society’s secret days of Prohibition.
This year for the Prohibition Tea the exquisite Le Salon will transform into Rick’s Café Americain with music and songs such as the classic As Times Goes By performed by a recognized pianist and singer. Attending guests come dressed for the 1920s, channeling the era.
The Prohibition Tea at Le Salon has garnered quite a yearly following with the tea selling out immediately, this year Windsor Court is offering three tea seatings during Tales of the Cocktail.
Tell us your experiences with Tales of the Cocktail.
My experience with Tales of the Cocktail goes back to 2012, which was during my first year as a bartender. I joined the event as a bar back in the Oxley gin tasting room. Since then, I have attended seminars that featured the world’s rarest spirits, watched international bartenders create unique variations on classic cocktails, celebrated my novel Baronne Street sponsored by Bombay Sapphire and created Stoli Elit cocktails to be paired with a tasting menu served at The Grill Room at Windsor Court.
Tales has brought me some incredible moments such as winning the Reyka Vodka competition for my Un Soborno Para Ustedes cocktail, where I was awarded a trip to Tales of the Cocktail in Buenos Aires and had the chance to meet with renowned bartenders from Mexico, Central America and South America. Then in 2015, I participated in a Dynamic Duo shift with Charlotte Voisey, Director of Brand Advocacy at William Grant & Sons USA, UK Bartender of the Year 2006 and a mentor of mine.
What are you looking forward to at Tales this year?
Each year at Tales always brings something new. I always look forward to reconnecting with old friends and mentors; I hope to meet talented bartenders and discuss what original, lasting contributions they are making to the industry through new techniques and ideas.
This year, I’m looking forward to the Getting Down with the new brown: Brandy and Gin Has Blossomed seminars.
The festival has grabbed the attention cocktail lovers around the world, which is exciting. It’s great to have guests become acquainted with new spirits and become more knowledgeable about what cocktail options are available. Many guests are now looking for unique and great cocktails when they go out rather than an unimaginative Dirty Martini or vodka soda.