Tales of the Cocktail — the annual cocktail conference held in New Orleans each July — is always fertile ground for innovative libation creation. This year was no exception: Headquartered at the Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter (but with events at multiple locations throughout the Big Easy), hundreds of unique cocktail sips — most doled out in 4-ounce cups — were created over the course of six days. And while plenty of delicious drinks were on hand, created by the country’s top bartenders and brand ambassadors for leading (and indie) spirits brands, these seven unique beverages beat out the others in terms of sheer creativity.
So is it likely you’re going to recreate some of these drinks at home? One "shot" involves saline solution, a centrifuge, and a syringe (get it?). Another cocktail is composed of moonshine and crystallized ginger. Perhaps a few of these ingenious cocktails are a stretch for the home bartender — but other drinks on our list hint toward larger trends in the spirit world that you may soon see on bar menus near you.
Unusual booze-crossover combinations (like wine and whiskey), floral elements (like rosewater and rosebud syrup), and alternative creams (such as almond milk) seemed to be trending this year at Tales, while the cognac and gin categories remained go-to choices for many cocktail bases. Here’s what made our cut for cutting-edge cocktails: click ahead to see the most outrageous cocktails from this year’s Tales.