About Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization, which is the global leader in spirits education and a platform to address issues facing the industry. The mission of the Foundation is to Educate, Advance, and Support the hospitality industry through programs that benefit individuals and organizations in the industry and to make a lasting impact in our host communities.

EDUCATE -

We believe in the power of education to advance the hospitality industry. TOTCF Programs connect the community to the knowledge of industry leaders and innovators via seminars surrounding spirits history, new craft techniques, business training, an online knowledge base, access to emerging products, and direct mentorship that can change career trajectory and lives.

ADVANCE -

We are a platform for thought leadership and development of standards around key issues facing our industry. Woven throughout our programs are professional networking and community building opportunities to better connect our diverse, global community. We accelerate the growth of the spirits industry through forward-thinking partnerships and mentorship programs, such as the Cocktail Apprentice Program, to develop the next generation of industry leaders.

SUPPORT -

We create lasting impact in the communities we serve through financial and promotional support programs geared toward individuals, organizations and communities that define the history and future of the industry. We provide direct resources in areas such as education, healthcare, addiction, sustainability and diversity.

Tales of the Cocktail?

Founded in 2002, Tales of the Cocktail? has grown from an annual walking tour of historic New Orleans cocktail bars to the world’s premier cocktail festival. Each year, the international bar and spirits industry is welcomed to New Orleans for a week of seminars, tastings, networking and special events. With hundreds of opportunities developed specifically for bartenders, distillers and other bar and spirits professionals, Tales of the Cocktail? is the industry’s annual meeting place for the exchange of new ideas, products and techniques. Tales of the Cocktail Foundation also produces Tales on Tour; supports the Cocktail Apprentice Program--an exclusive mentorship program for up-and-coming bartenders; distributes industry focused grants; curates Beyond the Bar programming; produces the Dame Hall of Fame? -- a collection of women who have made unique and lasting contributions to the global hospitality industry; and publishes bartender-focused educational content year-round on TalesoftheCocktail.org.

Tales on Tour

Following successful stops in Vancouver, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, and Edinburgh, Tales on Tour is popping up in Puerto Rico. This four-day festival features renowned bartenders sharing insights during a Day of Education, Beyond the Bar programming (centered on mental health and wellness programming), a Day of Service (community service projects to aid post-hurricane and earthquakes in Puerto Rico), Spirited Dinners, and the organization’s signature Cocktail Apprentice Program as we dive into Old San Juan's cocktail scene by night. Join us in San Juan, Puerto Rico in April 2020 to get a taste of what Tales of the Cocktail? is all about in an unforgettable city.

TOTCF LeadershipNeal Bodenheimer, Board of Directors Co-chair; Gary Solomon, Jr., Board of Directors Co-Chair; and Caroline Nabors Rosen, Executive Director. TOTCF Leadership Team: Neal Bodenheimer, Board of Directors Co-chair; Gary Solomon, Jr., Board of Directors Co-Chair; and Caroline Nabors Rosen, Executive Director.

Gary Solomon Jr., Board Members

A native of New Orleans, Gary Solomon, Jr. has led the development and production of several of the country’s most popular events and attractions. He serves as the Consulting Producer for Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in New Orleans, and was responsible for striking the deal to feature the nationally televised broadcast’s first-ever Central Time Zone countdown. Gary also co-developed the historic Civic Theatre in New Orleans, transforming the city’s oldest theater into a modern, flexible, high-tech event venue. As President and Co-Founder of Solomon Group, he has served as Executive Producer for major events that include the College Football Playoff, ESSENCE Festival, and Katrina 10. Under his leadership, the entertainment design, production and management firm has been listed on the Inc. 5000 as one of America’s fastest-growing private companies for the past four years. Solomon Group creates eye-catching audience experiences for sports leagues and global brands including the NFL (Super Bowl, Draft), NBA (All-Star Weekend), NCAA (Men’s Final Four), NHL (upcoming All-Star Weekend), SXSW and more. He has also overseen the creation of jaw-dropping exhibits and interactive environments for George Washington’s Mount Vernon, The National WWII Museum and the upcoming Sazerac House currently underway. Gary was named to Inc. Magazine’s prestigious “30 Under 30: World’s Coolest Young Entrepreneurs” list, and has been featured in The Atlantic, SUCCESS Magazine, Forbes and USA Today. Gary currently serves on the board of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and is the past-Chair of The NOCCA Institute. Since 2011, Gary and Solomon Group have been a part of Tales of the Cocktail and provided production services for the Spirited Awards as well as major brand activations for the world’s premier cocktail festival.

Neal Bodenheimer, Board Member

Neal Bodenheimer is the owner, bartender and restaurateur behind Cure Co., which is comprised of acclaimed bars, Cure and Cane & Table, in New Orleans.

A New Orleans native, Bodenheimer discovered his passion for the beverage industry early, when he started working in a bar at 18-years old. He later went on to graduate from the University of Texas at Austin and embarked on a year-long trip around the world to explore global food and beverage traditions. Hungry to get back to the states and start working, Bodenheimer moved to New York where he invested six years working his way up the industry for respected restaurant groups including Steve Hanson’s B.R. Guest Corporation and Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality.

When Hurricane Katrina hit, Bodenheimer felt the call back home to New Orleans. He opened Cure in 2009, which quickly gained national recognition as a pioneer of the New Orleans’ craft cocktail movement. Cure was named one of “America’s Best Bars” by Esquire, listed as one of the “Best Cocktail Bars in the U.S.” by Food & Wine, and hailed among New Orleans’ best cocktail bars by Forbes, Conde Nast Traveler, USA Today, Thrillist and Coveteur.

In 2012, Bodenheimer and his partners purchased an existing bar and restaurant in the historic Vieux Carre of New Orleans which they developed into a new bar and restaurant project, Cane & Table. With a focus on rum, proto-tiki cocktails and Caribbean culinary traditions, the establishment opened in 2013. Since then, Cane & Table has been named one of the “Five Best New Cocktail Bars in America.” by Bon Appétit, cited as one of the best bars in America by Food & Wine, Esquire Network, Eater, and THRILLIST and one of the best new bars in the South by Garden & Gun and Southern Living. Cane & Table also garnered a coveted semi-finalist nomination for the James Beard Foundation Awards’ “Outstanding Bar Program” in 2015. Bodenheimer and partner, Kirk Estopinal, continue to oversee the operations of Cure + Cane and Table.

Cure received the coveted nod for the James Beard Foundation Awards “Outstanding Bar Program,” in 2018. In the same year, Bodenheimer partnered with the Solomon family to take ownership of the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, the beverage industry’s premier cocktail and spirits festival and non-profit.

Caroline Nabors Rosen, President

Caroline’s career in the hospitality industry began with Mountain Valley Spring Water in 2009, where she served as a Marketing Director, with a focus on national accounts and sponsorships. Five years later, Caroline became a partner at Matter Creative Studio, a full-service brand consultancy. In 2015, Caroline joined the John Besh Foundation as Executive Director. In that role, she furthered New Orleans’ culinary community by providing culinary school scholarships to qualified minority applicants and by offering micro-loans to farmers in the New Orleans region. Within this role, Caroline developed deep relationships with chefs, food brands, and numerous publications as she created events, community partnerships, and fundraising opportunities for the Foundation. Caroline left the Besh Foundation in November, 2017 and went on to accept her current role as President of the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation. In her present role, Caroline serves on the leadership team of the new Foundation, shaping its global suite of events and forming new philanthropic initiatives and grants programming. Caroline is very active in New Orleans and the broader Southeast community. She was named a 2016 “Person Changing the South” by Southern Living magazine and served on the board of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. In 2018 she was also named of the "55 Most Influential People in Dining and Nightlife" by the Observer. Caroline currently serves as Vice President of the New Orleans chapter of the Les Dames d’Escoffier.

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