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?

Tale of the Cocktail hosts the world’s most educational seminars for the bartender community. Beginning in 2019, there will be three main categories of seminars: Beyond the Bar Seminars, Business Seminars, and Culture Seminars. Business and Cultural Seminar concepts are submitted and chosen by the Seminar Committee members, who are each assigned to one of the 2 categories (established in 2018). Beyond the Bar Seminar proposals are submitted and chosen by the Beyond the Bar committee. These committees are all comprised of professionals ranging from past presenters, working bartenders and spirits industry professionals from around the world.

Tales of the Cocktail is a global, educational event for the bartending community. Seminars should be educational in nature and not a 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 spirits and hospitality business and propel its successes annually. In the past, seminars covering these subjects fell under the following streams: Bar Career, Bar Indepth, Business of Bars, Business of Brands, and #SEDTalks. In 2019, seminars pertaining to the hospitality sector of our industry will fall under “Business Seminars”.

Business Seminars are a platform for bar management, owners, entrepreneurs, creative directors, brand ambassadors, and the like who thrive on current trends in industry commerce, venture, and style. Seminars under the Business Seminar stream deal with topics like marketing, operations management, human relations, mistakes, cash flow, investors, real estate, sales, profits and more.

This category also includes 101 Seminars on introductory level topics that fit the subjects listed above.

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?

101 Seminars – 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) health, wellness, or substance abuse, it may fit better into Beyond The Bar.

What is a "Bar Indepth" Seminar?

Introduced in 2017, Bar Indepths are a deep dive into ALL the aspects contributing to the success of some of the world’s very best bars, according to a standard template which will be supplied by Tales if your proposal is accepted. Bar Indepths involve explaining how your bar came to exist and continues to operate, based not only on mixology program and PR, but also HR, financing, marketing, real estate, and operations management. We recommend only having 1 moderator and (at most) 1 panelist for a Bar Indepth.

What is a #SEDTalk?

A #SED Talk 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"?

Seminar streams previously categorized as Cocktails, Spirits, Exclusive Tastings, Technique, History, or General, are now listed under "Culture Seminars". From historical relevance to in-depth tastings, these seminars embody all aspects of your favorite spirits.

Covering a variety of topics, these seminars are industry-driven and designed for bartenders of all levels to brush up on their spirit proficiency.

This category also includes 101 Seminars on spirits and other introductory level topics that fit the subjects listed above.

What is a 101 Seminar?

Introduced in 2018, 101 Seminars are 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 spirits, cocktails, exclusive tastings, or history. We recommend only having 1 moderator for a 101 seminar.

For attendees, it is an opportunity to learn the basics of an entire category – history, production and brief rundowns of the 3 most-ordered cocktails with that spirit – in just an hour, from the best minds in the business.
For presenters, it’s a platform to share their knowledge with the next generation of bartenders.
For sponsors, it’s a chance to demonstrate that your brand is committed to mixology and education.

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 1 moderator and (at most) 1 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 is an initiative that was created alongside Tales of the Cocktail Foundation in 2018 to provide a platform addressing serious issues our industry faces on a regular basis; from mental and physical wellness to substance abuse, sexual harassment, diversity, and sustainability. The Foundation has dedicated programming for these topics that will contribute to the industry’s need to Educate, Advance, and Support the spirits community, and facilitate in executing these long-overdue concerns into motion.

Moving forward, Tales of the Cocktail Seminars involving Mental Health and Physical Wellness, Social Justice, 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 with new and relevant material can submit a seminar concept. The person who will moderate the seminar should complete the seminar submission. Please do not have a PR representative or an assistant complete the form that cannot work with us throughout the entire process.

Our Committees are looking for new and fresh material, please take a look through the last 5 years of seminars to ensure you're 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 review the application. You do not want to do this on the fly! However, you do have the ability to save the submission as a draft and go back at a later time to finish and submit it. Submissions are evaluated solely on the quality of the proposal submitted. Make it count!

How do I know what will be asked on the seminar application?

We encourage you to log in to the OpenWater platform and test out the form to learn more about the questions we need. You have the ability to save your work and log back in at a later time to finish and submit your proposal. This way you may simply copy and paste your answers into the form when ready and retain a copy in case of broken connections, etc. Tales of the Cocktail is not responsible for any ideas not received by the seminar collection form. You will receive a confirmation email once we receive the COMPLETED submission.

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 approved. If there are any questions or concerns the CAP team will contact you for further clarification or updates. If we do not have full details of your planned service and execution the committee will have a harder time selecting your seminar.

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

No problem! Please note the type of sponsors you will be looking for (based on your detailed recipes) so that we can assist in pairing you with a sponsor. However, we recommend beginning the sponsor conversations before submitting to allow a seamless integration with the content and cocktails.

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. Please note that “completely” does not just mean filling in the blanks with basics but also takes into account well developed concepts, which are well presented in terms of description, grammar and even spelling. Not everyone on the Education Committee or Beyond the Bar Committee may know your work, so treat the completed seminar application as our first impression of you and give us your best! There are however, no “wrong” answers or specific “types” we are looking for. Honest, natural answers will go much further than ones fabricated or skewed to what you think we are looking for.

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, excluding #SEDTalks.

How can I learn more about the submission process?

If you are new to Tales of the Cocktail please email with your idea or questions and we can assist you.

Seminar Deadlines

When can I submit a seminar idea?

Seminar ideas may be submitted between October 10 and December 1, 2018.

Will there be any deadline extensions for submissions?

At this time, we do not intend to extend the seminar submission period past December 1, 2018.

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

Yes, there are no consequences to submitting your idea on the day of the deadline. We encourage you to spend the time needed to flush out your idea, secure your panelists, touch base with potential sponsors and more. The deadline to submit your idea is December 1, 2018.

When will I be notified if my seminar is selected?

The presenters committee will review the submissions and we will notify you in early January 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, original and timely content in your seminar concept submission. If this topic is your usual specialty and you have presented this material at other events and conferences please do not submit it to Tales of the Cocktail.

What are the criteria used to review seminar idea submission?

  • Overall: quality of submission
  • Relevance: to current and enduring industry topics
  • Would a roomful of working bartenders pay their hard-earned money to attend this seminar?
  • 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
  • Proposed sponsorship: Pre commitments for sponsors will be reviewed to ensure a balance between financial support and reasonably unbiased presentation of educational material. Additional sponsors may be suggested to ensure balance as well as adequate financial support. All presenters are expected to be gracious and professional in discussing all products and not to speak unflattering of any brands.
  • General references: are you who you say you are? What’s your history in our industry? 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?

Sort of. Seminars can fall into many categories but some common ones which Tales of the Cocktail seeks for a balanced event are listed below. The category you select when submitting your proposal is subject to change if our Committees 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?

The person submitting seminar idea is the moderator. This person is the leader that takes charge and responsibility for the panel that he or she organizes, 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 team. Moderators will be responsible for keeping each seminar ‘honest and timely’ on the day of his/her seminar. They will also be in charge of meeting all the deadlines and communicating all those deadlines to their panelists. 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 Director of Education and Tales of the Cocktail Team.

What is the difference between the Moderator and the Panelist?

The Moderator is in charge of all communications between Tales of the Cocktail 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 asking you to confirm that you accept and agree to present your seminar(s), adhere to the deadlines and materials needed, and acknowledge the compensation provided by Tales of the Cocktail.

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 Tuesday, May 7, 2019.

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 staff 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 Tuesday, May 7, 2019 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 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 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 Wednesday, June 26.

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)
  • Jazz Playhouse: 40 (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