Seminar Frequently Asked Questions

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General Seminar Info | Submitting a Seminar | Deadlines | Seminar Criteria | Moderators & Presenters | Next Steps | Cocktail Service with CAPs | Sponsor Involvement

Tales of the Cocktail New Orleans Seminars

What is a Seminar at Tales of the Cocktail?

Tales of the Cocktail is a platform for innovative and informative educational seminars for the drinks industry. Tales of the Cocktail Foundation (TOTCF) categorizes its educational seminars in three streams: Beyond the Bar Seminars, Business Seminars, and Culture Seminars. In 2019, TOTCF asked 24 global drinks industry leaders to join the Business, Culture, and Beyond the Bar committees which comprise our Education Committee.

The Foundation annually hosts Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans as a global, educational event for the bartending community. The goal of the TOTCF Educational Seminars is to Educate, Advance, and Support our industry and seminars should be educational in nature as opposed brand presentation.***

***If you have a brand or concept you would like to showcase, we would suggest hosting a Tasting Room or participating in one of our other events.

What is a "Business Seminar"?

The bar industry is evolving constantly with innovative ideas, progressive bar programs and creative bar concepts that shape the drinks industry. Business Seminars are a platform to address current trends in industry commerce, venture, and style. Seminars under the Business Seminar stream deal with topics like marketing, operations management, human relations, cash flow, investors, real estate, sales, profits and more.
In the past, seminars covering these subjects fell under the following streams: Bar Career, Bar In-depth, Business of Bars, Business of Brands, and #SEDTalks.

These seminars vary in format to accommodate audiences ranging from 30-200. Most of these seminars include tastings and/or cocktails and are 60-90 minutes in length.

What is a Business "101" Seminar?

A comprehensive introduction to a topic, giving good all-round basic information for someone new to that topic, which in this case is all things related to the business or bars or brands. We recommend only having 1 moderator for 101 seminars.

What is a "Bar Career" Seminar?

Any proposal dealing with current or future career possibilities or training, for bartenders and for any alternative or parallel careers. If your proposal deals with issues which can be career-related such as (for example) physical and mental health, harassment, inclusion, or substance abuse, it may fit better into Beyond The Bar.

What is a "Bar In-depth" Seminar?

Bar In-depths are a deep dive into ALL the aspects contributing to the success of some of the world’s very best bars. Bar In-depths involve explaining the evolution of your bar from its beginning and the tools which help the bar continue to operate. Topics include mixology program, PR, HR, financing, marketing, real estate, and operations management. We recommend only having one moderator and one panelist for a Bar In-depth.

What is a #SEDTalk?

A #SEDTalk is a presentation of between 12 and 14 minutes long, on a topic related to SED (Spirits, Education, Development), without any tastings or cocktails served and only optionally with a Powerpoint or similar. It’s modeled after the TED talks. #SEDTalks only have one presenter per #SEDTalk.

What is a "Culture Seminar"?

Covering a variety of topics, these seminars are industry-driven and designed for bartenders of all levels to brush up on their spirit proficiency and drinks industry history. Culture seminars are a space to educate participants on the specifics of the drinks industry.
Seminar streams previously categorized as Cocktails, Spirits, Exclusive Tastings, Technique, History, or General, are now listed under "Culture Seminars".
These seminars vary in format to accommodate audiences ranging from 30-200. Most of these seminars include tastings and/or cocktails and are 60-90 minutes in length.

What is a 101 Seminar?

A comprehensive introduction to a topic, giving good all-round basic information for someone new to that topic, which in this case is all things related to the business or bars or brands. We recommend only having 1 moderator for 101 seminars.

What is an Exclusive Tasting Seminar?

Small, exclusive seminars with a higher ticket price, that include tastings of unobtainium – spirits that are basically impossible to ever taste otherwise, due to their rarity, cost, or because they are from extinct distilleries or brands, or are never released for sale, such as experimental liquids or blend components. We recommend only having one moderator and one panelist for Exclusive Tastings.

Other topics that fall under the "Culture" Seminar category:

Cocktails – Any proposal dealing with the history, components or preparation of cocktails or a category of cocktail.

Spirits – Any proposal dealing with the history, components or production of spirits or other alcoholic beverage

History – Any proposal dealing with historical research that does not fit into any of the above categories.

General – Any seminar that does not fit into any of the above categories.

What makes a Beyond the Bar Seminar?

Beyond the Bar Seminars is the place to advocate and support the complex issues that affect our industry. Tales of the Cocktail Foundation Seminars involving Mental and Physical Health, Diversity, Intersectionality, Substance Abuse, and Sustainability will fall under Beyond the Bar. The intersectionality of such topics will allow for attendees to easily distinguish topics of interest they are seeking to participate in while at Tales of the Cocktail.

Submitting a Seminar

Who can submit a seminar idea?

Anyone qualified to submit a seminar submission. The person who will moderate (be the main point of contact, curate, and lead) the seminar should complete the seminar submission. Please do not have a PR representative or an assistant complete the form. The seminar submitter/moderator will need to work with the Education Committee and TOTCF team throughout the entire process.

Our Committees are looking for innovative material, please take a look through the last 5 years of seminars to ensure your proposal is unique.

Can former Cocktail Apprentices submit seminar ideas?

Yes, we encourage former Cocktail Apprentices to submit ideas for seminars.

Do I need previous presentation experience?

Prior presentation experience is not necessary, but encouraged.

How long should I take to submit my seminar?

Please set aside an uninterrupted hour to complete the application. You should be prepared with your seminar description, panelists, and execution specifics. The application platform has the ability to save the submission as a draft and go back at a later time to finish. Submissions are evaluated solely on the quality of the proposal submitted.

Why do I need to submit my recipes and tastings now?

The Cocktail Apprentice (CAP) Leadership team will approve all seminar components prior to being seminar acceptances. If there are any questions or concerns the CAP team will contact you for further clarification or updates. The Education Committee is looking to evaluate the full details of your planned service and execution from your seminar submission. The more detailed and thought out your submission, the more information they have to determine qualification for inclusion in our programming.

What if I do not know who will be sponsoring my seminar?

Seminar proposals do NOT have to be submitted with sponsors in place.Please note the type of sponsors you will be looking for (based on your detailed recipes). The TOTCF Partnership Team will in pairing the seminar with a sponsor.

What happens if I don’t submit a seminar submission completely?

The seminar submission needs to be completed in its entirety or it will be disqualified All submissions should be well developed concepts. Not everyone on the Education Committee may know your work, so treat the completed seminar application as our first impression and give us your best!

Can I submit multiple seminar submissions?

Feel free to submit multiple ideas and concepts, but we will not schedule any one person to participate in more than three (3) seminars during Tales of the Cocktail, excluding #SEDTalks.

How can I learn more about the submission process?

Please contact Tales of the Cocktail Foundation via email with any questions or concerns regarding the Seminar Submission Process.

Seminar Deadlines

When can I submit a seminar idea?

Seminar ideas may be submitted between September 3, 2019 and November 2, 2019.

Will there be any deadline extensions for submissions?

The Seminar Submission deadline is 11:59 PM CST on November 2, 2019. There is not an option to extend this submission period.

Can I submit my seminar on the day of the deadline?

TOTCF encourages you to take the time to propose thoughtful, detailed seminar concepts during the submission process. Please be sure to take the time to ensure you are presenting your idea in it's fullest ideation. There are no consequences to submitting your idea on the day of the deadline, however, please be sure that you are giving yourself ample time to complete the application before the deadline to submit on November 2, 2019 at 11:59 PM CST.

When will I be notified if my seminar is selected?

The TOTCF Education Committee will review the submissions and the TOTCF team will notify you by February, if your seminar has been selected.


Seminar Selection Criteria

What are you looking for in a Tales of the Cocktail seminar submission?

We are looking for new, innovative, influential, and relevant content in your seminar concept submission.

What are the criteria used to review seminar idea submission?

  • Overall: quality of submission
  • Relevance: to current and enduring industry topics
  • Uniqueness: of topic and certainty that proposed content has not been presented at a prior major trade event
  • Completeness: of presentation plan with distinct start and finish with enough potential body to captivate an audience for allotted time. There may be multiple people submitting a similar idea.
  • Reliability: of proposed research and presentation information. Industry experts will vet proposals for accuracy of information. Proposed new material will be reviewed based on presenter background and expertise within the field.
  • Presenter history: All proposals will be considered from both new and experienced presenters
  • Achievability: of being able to present the material proposed within the time, venue, and financial and logistical constraints of the event
  • General references: What is your experience in our industry or in regard to the subject matter? Do you conduct yourself responsibly? Are you now or potentially setting a good example of education and graciously evangelizing our industry?

Should my seminar submission have a category?

Seminars many fall under multiple categories but submissions should be completed under a seminar stream. The stream you select when submitting your proposal is subject to change if our Education Committee believe it is a better fit in another category.

  • Beyond the Bar: Mental Health & Physical Wellness, Social Justice (including Diversity & Inclusiveness, Intersectionality, Harassment, Assault, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault), Substance Abuse, Sustainability, 101 Seminars
  • Business Seminars: 101 Seminars, Bar Indepth, Bar Career, Business, #SEDTalks
  • Culture Seminars: 101 Seminars, Cocktails, Exclusive Tastings, Spirits, History, General

Seminar Presenters

What is a Seminar Moderator?

All seminar submissions should be completed by the seminar moderator. This person is the leader that takes charge and responsibility for the panel that they curate, organize, and is the main speaker in a seminar. A moderator will be responsible for coordinating notes and presentations between panelists and the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation team. Moderators will be responsible for keeping each seminar ‘honest and timely’ on the day of their seminar. They will also be in charge of meeting all the deadlines, communicating all those deadlines to panelists, and communicating with the Cocktail Apprentices and seminar sponsors. Moderators can lose their ability to moderate in subsequent years due to unprofessional conduct, missed deadlines or numerous changes. Moderators can only lead and participate in 3 seminars total.

What is a Panelist?

A panelist is someone who is asked by the moderator to be on the panel of their seminar. Panelists are contributors on the topic, and are not involved or responsible in leading, organizing, or coordinating a seminar. There may only be a maximum of 4 (four) panelists in any given seminar for a total of 5 presenters maximum (including the moderator). Additional panelists must be approved by the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation Team.

What is the difference between the Moderator and the Panelist?

The Moderator is in charge of all communications between Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, CAPs, Sponsors, and their panelists. They are responsible for meeting all their deadlines and communicating what is expected to the panelists. Moderators are entitled to receive an Honorarium for leading the seminar. Panelists simply present during the seminar.

Presenter Compensation

COMING SOON! Click here to view the Presenter Compensation Guidelines. Once a seminar is accepted, we will outline the incentives or package for the moderator and panelists. If you have questions about compensation please email

What Do I Do After My Seminar is Accepted?

What happens if my seminar is accepted?

You will receive an email from Tales of the Cocktail Foundation inviting you to present your seminar(s), adhere to the deadlines and materials needed, and acknowledge the compensation provided by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation.

What are the other deadlines involved in leading a seminar?

Since your seminar information is due upon submission, any edits to your seminar title, description, and/or panelists are due on Monday, March 4, 2019. Moderators and panelists will also need to upload a biography and photo to the Tales Ticketing Site. The list of tastings and/or cocktails for your seminar are due on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Missing deadlines or other agreements in your presenter and sponsor contracts may result in reduced logistical support or even seminar cancellation.

Am I expected to provide cocktails or tastings for attendees?

No, it is not an absolute requirement that a cocktail or tasting be served during your seminar. However, we do strongly suggest the serving of a cocktail and/or tastings during your seminar to demonstrate your points if they pertain to the topic. View the maximum number of cocktails or tastings per type of seminar.

Am I expected to do an onstage demonstration?

While this is not required, if you wish to do so, there will be a place to indicate what you need in your recipe submission form. Tales of the Cocktail will supply all ingredients necessary for the demo on stage at the time of your seminar.

Do I need to provide tools or glassware for the technique or exclusive tasting seminars?

In most cases Tales of the Cocktail can provide specialty glassware and tools if we know in advance. Please make sure to include items needed in your initial application to be considered. For obscure or hard to find items we might need your assistance in sourcing an item or having it brought in. You will be asked to work directly with the Tales of the Cocktail and CAP teams on special needs.

Cocktail Service and the Cocktail Apprentice Team

What is the Cocktail Apprentice Team?

Onsite, the Tales of the Cocktail seminars have, since 2007, relied on the Cocktail Apprentice Program (CAP) staff to prepare and serve batched cocktails and tastings to seminar attendees. This group is comprised of 70 of the world’s leading bartenders hired through a rigorous application process attracting over 300 applicants each year. The Cocktail Apprentices are fully trained in an established system unique to Tales of the Cocktail to successfully execute over 300,000 cocktails each year.

It is expected that the presenters work with the Tales of the Cocktail staff and CAPs to provide accurate and achievable recipes. While the staff will usually do all preparation and serving in order for the presenter to focus on their talk, it is always helpful for the presenter to taste their batches to make any last moment adjustments. Each presenter will be assigned a Cocktail Apprentice Team leader to directly coordinate recipe preparation specifics, batch tasting, serving cues, etc.

How will I serve cocktails or tastings for these attendees?

Any cocktails or tastings you wish to serve guests during your seminar will need to be entered into our online recipe database by the Moderator by Thursday, May 7, 2020.

Recipes will be reviewed for accuracy and achievability and approved if falling within the specified requirements of the event. If they do not, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation team and the Cocktail Apprentice Leadership Team will work with the moderator to adjust recipe.

The CAP Leaders will calculate the amount of each ingredient needed and all spirits will be ordered through a Louisiana distributor.

When will I know if my recipes and/or tastings are approved?

Upon notification of your seminar being selected you will be made aware of any questions or issues with your original recipes or tastings submitted. You will have until Thursday, May 7, 2020 to submit your final cocktail recipes and tastings through the online form.

Why do I need to resubmit my recipes and tastings?

All recipes and tastings will need to be submitted via the online form, which assists in automatically calculating ingredients and amounts. Recipes cannot be submitted via email or phone.

Can I change my recipe or tastings once they have been submitted?

No, the recipes and tastings must adhere to a strict deadline to ensure all products are ordered by a specific date.

Is there a limit to how many cocktails and or tastings I can serve?

Yes. There is a different limit for each seminar category:

  • Straight Tastings: Maximum 8 tastings
  • Tasting with Cocktail Batching: Maximum 4 tastings and 2 cocktails
  • Straight Cocktail Batch: Maximum 3 cocktails
  • Interactive: Requires approval from the CAP Leadership
  • Non-Sponsored Seminars: 1 tasting OR 1 cocktail
  • #SED or Intellectual (No Cocktails/Tastings): No cocktails or tastings

For definitions of the categories please make sure to review the CAP Support Overview: Definitions and Limitations.

Is there a limit to what type of cocktails and/or tastings I may serve?

Yes. Please remember that Tales of the Cocktail Seminars have a specific event set up for hundreds of attendees and not a bar focused on individual servings. The Cocktail Apprentice Team will accommodate as much as possible but please be accepting of venue and event limitations.

How are my cocktails or tastings served and what size are they?

Cocktails are served in recyclable, TOTCF logo plastic cups. The cups are 5 oz and the cocktail is served at 2 oz each.

If glassware is specifically requested at the time of submissions we can make accommodations and recommendations for you. Glassware will be standard industry stemware unless otherwise requested. Tastings are 1 oz.

Can I simply do my own batch math by multiplying my recipe by my room size?

No. There are many factors involved in the math to batch. Over the past several years Tales of the Cocktail and its Cocktail Apprentice Team have developed a proprietary system which takes into account room size, original and finished drink sizes, dilution, ingredients at batch scale and many other factors including potential unpublished attendees such as sponsors, media, etc.

When are my cocktails batched?

Cocktails will be batched between one and three hours prior to your seminar. Each Moderator will be assigned a Cocktail Apprentice Team leader to directly coordinate recipe preparation specifics, batch tasting, serving cues, etc. We strongly encourage you to taste your batch before service.

How do I know how much product will need to be provided for the recipes/tastings in my seminar?

The CAP Team will calculate the amount of each ingredient needed and the Tales Team will work with our partners for the products to be in New Orleans for the event.

What happens if I need an ingredient that cannot be found in New Orleans or is homemade?

It may be necessary to ask you to provide an ingredient if it is homemade or of a special nature. We will let you know if this is the case once you submit your recipes Tuesday, May 7, 2019. If you must self supply the ingredient, you have the option of either altering your recipe to include available product or shipping the ingredients at your cost to either the Tales of the Cocktail office or your hotel room. All ingredients must be provided to the Cocktail Production Kitchen 24 hours prior to your seminar. No spirits can be self supplied or shipped to the Tales of the Cocktail office or hotels per Louisiana law and must be purchased through a licensed distributor.

Why does the CAP Leadership team have the ability to veto my seminar?

The CAP Leaders are experts at Tales of the Cocktail seminar execution. While we strive to offer the best educational seminars in the world, there are some limitations to what can be efficiently and safely done at our host hotels. The CAP Leadership Team will do their best to work with you on alternatives, but there may be some seminars that are not 100% feasible.

On the Moderator (presenter) side, if we are not able to get a hold of you via phone or email the decision to veto the seminar may be made. The seminars are a collaborative effort and we need all hands participating to ensure a top quality seminar.

Sponsor Involvement

What is the role of the sponsor in a seminar?

Sponsors are woven into the content of the seminar where the primary focus is the educational component. A seminar is not the place for a brand presentation. Sponsor spirits are also incorporated through the cocktails and/or tastings. We encourage the sponsor brands to work closely with the Moderators ahead of time to ensure all parties are satisfied with the seminar.

Do I have to have a sponsor confirmed before I submit my seminar?

No, you don't have to have a sponsor confirmed before you submit your seminar. If you have a brand that you are interested in working with but don't have a relationship you can list them as a suggested sponsor. If you have a sponsor already confirmed go ahead and list them. Once the seminars are confirmed we will work with you in finding a sponsor if you need one.

How much does it cost to sponsor a seminar?

Below is 2019 pricing:
Traditional Seminars

Sponsorship Fee: $3,500 to $7,000 dependent on assigned room and capacity. This fee does not include the donation of product required for the seminar.

Sponsor Seating: Guaranteed 5-10 Seats for Sole Sponsorship (depending on room)

Exclusive Tasting Seminars
Sponsorship Fee: $1,750.
Sponsor Seating: 5 Seats for Sole Sponsorship

Do sponsors get tickets to the seminars?

Sponsors are guaranteed a certain number of seats depending on the type of seminar and room. If sponsorships are split amongst brands the number of seats will be divided amongst the total number of sponsors.

How does Tales of the Cocktail acquire the sponsor products?

Tales of the Cocktail will place an order for all spirits used in the seminars through a Louisiana distributor. A TOTCF team member will also notify the main point of contact on the sponsor side to make sure they communicate this donation with their distributor.

Sponsorship dollars and product donation will be a tax free donation to the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.

Can I distribute promotional items in my seminar?

Yes, we encourage shipping the items directly to the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation office prior to the event and your room team will have the items placed in each seat before the start time. If you choose to bring items with you, please notify Tales of the Cocktail Foundation of the items and arrive early enough to have our team assist in placement.

To ship your items to the Tales of the Cocktail office, please fill out this form and make sure the items arrive no later than mid-June.

How do I know how many seats are in the seminar room?

In April, the Moderator will be notified of the final date, time, room location and size of the seminar.

  • North Ballroom: 150 (classroom seating)
  • South Ballroom: 150 (classroom seating)
  • Evangeline A: 20 (classroom seating)
  • Evangeline B: 34 (classroom seating)
  • Acadia Suite: 114 (classroom seating)
  • Parlor Suite: 20 (theatre seating)

Non-Seminar Submissions

What if I have another idea that is not a seminar?

If you would like to submit an idea for an event that isn’t a seminar we will have a separate form that you can use to submit those ideas to. If you have any questions please contact