Cocktail Apprentice Program – New Orleans by Cam Brown

Cocktail Apprentice Program – New Orleans by Cam Brown
December 28, 2016 Trevor Kailles

Below is some insight on what the Cocktail Apprentice Program (CAP) at Tales of the Cocktail is all about. The application process, what to expect and what comes after. Cam Brown spent just over a week in New Orleans last summer when he was accepted as a Red Coat – a first year Apprentice at Tales of the Cocktail.

If you have any questions about Tales of the Cocktail or the Apprentice program please feel free to reach out to Cam on Facebook or Trevor Kallies at

The application deadline is fast approaching…


Well it’s almost that time of year again that the Tales of the Cocktail, Cocktail Apprentice Program opens applications to new industry professionals looking to join the ever growing fraternity and provide their service at Tales of the Cocktail 2017. During the week of Tales of the Cocktail the CAPs will have the chance to work alongside some of the biggest names in the industry and execute a large-scale event gaining valuable experience and mentorship along the way.


The application process is built of a couple short answer questions about yourself and your career, current positions and future goals. This is followed by a couple essay style questions which gives the committee a better look at your personality and insight into who you are as person and a professional. I feel the best approach is to really spend time on your answers and really think about the questions. There isn’t any questions made to trick you and there are no wrong answers. These applications are the first step to getting accepted into programs such as the CAP program, Camp Runamok, San Antonio Cocktail Conference, just to name a few. The more practice you get writing these applications the more confident and better you’ll feel about applying. It’s important not to get discouraged if you don’t get in your first time applying, keep trying! The amount of applications these programs receive is truly surreal. Programs like this are amazing learning and networking experiences as well as some of the most fun you will have in a jam packed work week.

(the application form goes live January 4 – we’ll post it here when it launches)

Day to day in New Orleans

The main focus of the work days revolved around seminars, batching, executing and serving the cocktails to guests within the seminars and the Spirit Awards. Day one we arrive in New Orleans a couple days ahead of guests who are just attending Tales to set up, go through training and prepare for the upcoming five days of seminars. The first day we met our roommates, squad mates and the full CAP team which was 70 people from around the world. The first couple days were amazing everything was scheduled including things like sponsored meals, private seminars and training demonstrations.


Once seminars started a lot of the day revolved around what seminars your squad was assigned to that day. Some seminars would be two cocktails and a shot some were five cocktails or eight tastings and two cocktails. We would usually do three seminars a day with one day in the kitchen where all the prep and batching happens. After the seminars ended we would have a day end meeting and go over any housekeeping or issues as well as have guest speakers. After the meeting we would usually have a shuttle waiting for us to take us to dinner, an event or party. By this time we were on our own for the night and could choose to do as we please.

The CAP squad would usually stick together and really watch out for each other. The comradery between everyone was truly amazing, to have a bunch of strangers come together and not only work as hard as we did but to feel like each person there is now a lifelong friend is truly amazing.



The mentorship we received as CAPs was everything you would hope it would be. Every Red Coat (first year) is paired with another Red Coat as well as a Grey Coat (returning CAP) that you spend the week working alongside which is your squad. Each squad is then placed in a platoon with other squads that are led by a Black Coat and then over seeing everything are the White Coats. Constantly working alongside multiple people that have gone through the week makes you feel like you are being coached constantly to be the best you can be. Any questions were always answered, any time there was any uncertainty there was always someone helpful and eager to help out. If you saw anyone doing something you were curious about they would spend the time to explain the technique and be sure you had every opportunity to learn and excel. Even after Tales if there were any questions we were encouraged to reach out in any way to encourage us to continue to learn. The CAP family is mind blowing supportive and so eager to help out in any way.



This post is from my own perspective of being a Red Coat in 2016 but I strongly encourage anyone who has any interest in the CAP program and what it offers to apply. If you don’t get in the first time apply again. It took me three years of applying and I cannot express how much the people I’ve met, the knowledge I’ve gained and the opportunities I’ve had because of the CAP program have shaped my career.