Historically, public houses and pharmacies were places that dispensed all manner of beverages for social and medicinal purposes. Louis Dufilho, America’s first licensed pharmacist who provided medicines and “mixed potions” to cure what was ailing you, practiced in New Orleans. Today the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, 514 Chartres St., commemorates his professional endeavors.

Just after the time Dufilho was establishing his business in 1823, an elixir, the Sazerac, was invented only a few blocks away, joining a new class of three-ingredient adult drinks known by the strange name of “cocktail,” a term first used in 1803 in New England. But New Orleans was always a part of that scene, embracing the concept that alcohol was good and could even be good for you.

On the heels of the birth of the Sazerac in the mid-1880s, Henry C. Ramos created the New Orleans Fizz, which proved to be such a hit that it soon took on the name of its inventor.

Being held this month in this classic cocktail city is the ninth edition of Tales of the Cocktail, July 20-24 (visit talesofthecocktail.com for more information). Thousands of mixologists, spirits’ brand ambassadors, consultants, beverage journalists and authors, hospitality professionals and informal imbibers will once again come together in this historic place, so dear to their areas of interest and expertise.

The circle is complete as New Orleans plays the perfect host, as it has for almost 300 years, to lovers of good drinks and good times.

The winner of this year’s Tales of the Cocktail international drink competition is Eric Simpkins from Atlanta, awarded for his creative take on a revered New Orleans invention.

The Rangoon Gin Fizz

1.5     ounces Old Raj Gin
3/4     lime juice
1     ounce simple syrup
1     ounce heavy cream
7     drops absinthe
5     drops simple cardamom tincture
3     dashes Fee Brothers jasmine water
1     egg white
1     ounce Fever-Tree lemon tonic
    (bitter lemon soda)

Ice a tall Collins glass. Combine ingredients, except tonic and absinthe, in small cocktail shaker. Remove ice from Collins glass, swirl with absinthe and discard excess. Add tonic to glass. Add ice to shaker and shake vigorously to chill. Strain into Collins glass, without ice, through fine strainer. Slide a tall, thin straw through center of foam and serve.