Bon vivant Charles Henry Baker Jr. was an American author best known for his culinary and cocktail adventures. In 1954, Esquire magazine stated, “If you ever wondered whose oyster the world is, meet Charles H. Baker.”
Baker passed away in 1987, but his legacy lives on — so much so that on Wednesday, July 16, William S. Grant Sons (purveyors of Hendrick’s gin, Reyka vodka, Tullamore Dew, Glenfiddich, among others) used two of Baker’s books — “The Gentleman’s Companion” and “The South American Gentleman’s Companion” – as decorative, libationary and culinary inspiration for its annual Tales of the Cocktail soirée.
The Lakefront Airport, an art déco architectural jewel, proved to be a flawless backdrop with Grant using this era as creative guidance to transform various areas into mise-en-scènes from Baker’s life. In front of the airport, a Moroccan tableau unveiled – there was even a camel (reportedly brought in from Missouri). Inside, women dressed as stewardesses greeted attendees with champagne. To the right, a room was done up like Harry’s Bar, to the left the airport’s cafe featured diner-like food, with cocktail creations by a group of bartenders who travel to events en masse via motorcycle. Another area was a re-creation of the Java Room in Coconut Grove, Fla., on Christmas Day – Baker’s birthday – Christmas tree included. Upstairs one could wander into the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore or Bar Berta in Taxco, Mexico. Each was meticulously decorated and cocktail curated.
Tales of the Cocktail’s Ann Tuennerman and husband Paul Tuennerman were spotted taking the scene. Ann founded Tales of the Cocktail in 2002 and it is now one of the top cocktail events in the world.
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Tales of the Cocktail party goes "Around the World with Charles H. Baker Jr ... - The Times