One afternoon, my colleagues and I headed to the Windsor Court’s Cocktail Bar for an after-work cocktail. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but after chatting with the bartender I found myself sipping “Ilsa’s Blue Dress,” a blue-hued concoction named for Ilsa Lund, the “Casablanca” heroine portrayed by Ingrid Bergman.
The cocktail is made with Hendrick’s Gin, simple syrup, lemon juice and creme de violette, which makes it blue-ish.
Why blue? If you know the classic film, you probably remember this line from Humphrey Bogart’s Rick about the day the Germans marched into Paris: “I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray. You wore blue.”
Bartender Kent Westmoreland, who has great respect for the classic cocktail as well as classic films and literature, reaches into fiction — and sometimes real-life — to give his original cocktails a juicy backstory.
He drops three blueberries into each Ilsa’s Blue Dress to represent the love triangle between Ilsa, Rick and Victor in that film. The drink was born in 2016 when Le Salon was transformed into Rick’s Cafe Americain for two “spirited” Tales of the Cocktail tea services.
Now Westmoreland is at it again, flexing his cocktail creativity by fashioning a batch of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald-inspired cocktails for two Tales of the Cocktail’s “Prohibition Tea” events at the Windsor Court.
The “Prohibition Teas,” which will be Friday (July 21) and Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., are among the 2017 Tales of the Cocktail special dining and drinking events.
The cocktail and spirits convention running Tuesday (July 18) through July 23 is based at the Hotel Monteleone, with seminars, tastings and parties as well as separately ticketed items, such as the annual series of Spirited Dinners at New Orleans area restaurants on Friday, and a variety of special drinking events.
The idea is to transform the Cocktail Bar into a speakeasy for “Prohibition Tea” because during Prohibition, folks often drank bootleg booze from tea…