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Aug 2, 201710:57 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans


In which the author shares a diverse array of little known, maybe even unknown, “facts” about enjoying and knowing pieces of wisdom as they relate to adult beverages.


Picking Up a Drink Tab for Your Buddies

You’ve got to pick your spots, and this is particularly true when you choose to pick up a group’s drinking tab. Some places are well-suited to demonstrate your desire to make a certain statement. Other places will cause you to regret the decision to shell out and cover the cost of everyone’s good time.

New Orleans is a middle-tier drinking town when it comes to cost. We neither hit the high saloon, restaurant or retail prices seen in New York, San Francisco, Chicago or Miami, nor do we measure up to potential bargains in Austin, Denver, St. Louis or Shreveport.

A good gauge is community attitudes towards alcohol and taxation. Those places that look upon alcohol sales as government revenue are likely to have high costs due to “sin taxes.”

Drinks Business has released a list of the Most Expensive Cities in Europe, North America, the Far East, Near East, and South America for a round of drinks: Buenos Aires, Seoul, Berlin, Tokyo, London, Melbourne, Auckland, Los Angeles, Sydney, Singapore, Chicago, Hong Kong, New York, Dubai, and Paris are all going to cost you dearly to refresh.

On the other side of the coin, the cities designated the Least Expensive Cities for a cocktail: Toronto, Beijing, Madrid, Marrakesh, Moscow, Santiago, Istanbul, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Bangkok, New Delhi, Mumbai, Lima, Cape Town, and Cairo are easier on the credit card.

Overall, it’s interesting to use your personal gauge and see how the lists compare when looking for places you would like to visit. There are interesting places on both lists but, overall, the most expensive cities hold more interest for me. Darn it!


Water, Water, and You Need It Everywhere

We should hear the advice from healthcare professionals whenever we drink cocktails or wine, warning us to drink water along with the adult beverages. It does not count if the cocktail contains water. I’ve already explored that possible work-around.

But diluting the effects of the alcohol, particularly when drinking over an extended period of time, is a terrific idea both for our bodies and our minds.

That is why I was happy to see during the recent Tales of the Cocktail event that everywhere at every venue there was water, and it was very good water. Mountain Valley Water.

In fact, given the circumstances of some pretty intense parties, along with the effects of the New Orleans heat and humidity, Mountain Valley Water was more than just a good idea, it was a true public service.

I also mention this because of the recent questions raised about lead content in New Orleans water. This pure refreshing water does good duty as a crossover beverage answering a variety of concerns.

A good job, indeed, from the executive crew of Tales to include this benefit for the attendees. I like the glass bottles as they seem to cool down quicker and feel better on the lips. Thanks to all.


Eggs in refrigerator

According to Tasting Table website, eggs should still be good and fresh to 4 weeks after purchase date or five weeks from the packaging date. There are expiration dates on most egg cartons. There are also packed-on dates on those cartons which are consecutive calendar numbers. January 1 is 001, and December 31 is 365.

Of course, you can always tell when an egg has turned. And it is a smell you will never forget.


Bottle shapes

Ever play the blind-wine game. You know the game where the wines are placed into a paper bag so you can’t see the label and the participants voice an opinion as to what the wine is after evaluating the look of the wine, the aromas and the taste.

It’s a great adult party game and fun. There are those who take the game a little too seriously but if it remains in good fun, it offers lessons in being in touch with our own senses. I, for one, don’t mind being wrong about the types of grapes involved, the origin of the wine, its home, the vintage year and whatever else can be gleaned without benefit of the bottle label. And I am wrong more often than I am spot-on.

Next time you play, or get suckered into playing, here is a small hint, and it’s sort of cheating: drink the first pour in your glass then take a little more but you pour your own. Grab the bottle by its neck to do so.

The shape of the bottle can tell you a lot about the wine. A high-shouldered bottle will be a Bordeaux or a wine from Spain or Italy.  A slope-shouldered bottle will be a Burgundy or Rhone wine. The wines may not be exactly from those areas but the wine will contain grapes normally associated with those places. A pinot noir may be from Russian River in California but the bottle is the same shape as the containers used in Burgundy.

If you know those package styles and those grapes, you can eliminate a lot of what a wine is not, or likely to not to be. The bottle shapes are traditional and they cross national boundaries.

You may not be right but by feeling the bottle shape you will be closer to the right answer.


Wine Age

Another “tell” about figuring out what a wine is when you can’t see the label, and when a part of the evaluation exercise is how old is the wine, look on the very edge of the liquid. The more closely a red-grape wine’s edge is to black or red, the younger the wine. The more the wine’s edge moves toward orange, or brick-colored, the older the wine.

These are general observations and sometimes a young wine has led a difficult life so the edge goes “brick-colored” prematurely. But, here again, at least this gives you some good indicators.




Read Happy Hour here on myneworleans.com every Wednesday, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature every month in New Orleans Magazine. Be sure to watch "Appetite for Life," hosted by Tim every Thursday evening at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 5 p.m., on WLAE-TV, Channel 32 in New Orleans. Previously broadcast episodes are available for viewing at http://www.wlae.com/appetite-for-life/


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Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans


In New Orleans, when the subject is wine and spirits, it is very difficult to leave Tim McNally out of the discussion. He is considered one of the “go to” resources in the Crescent City for counsel and information about adult beverages and their place in the fabric of life in this great city.


Tim is the Wine and Spirits Editor, columnist and feature writer for New Orleans Magazine; the Wine and Spirits Editor and weekly columnist, Happy Hour, for www.MyNewOrleans.com; creator and editor of his own website, www.winetalknola.com; all in addition to his daily hosting duties on the radio program, The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, on the air at WGSO – 990AM, every weekday, 3- 5 p.m, and streamed live on www.wgso.com.


Over the years, Tim has proved to be an informed interviewer, putting his guests at ease, and covering tactile and technical information so that even a novice can understand difficult agricultural and production concepts. Tim speaks with winemakers, wine and spirit ambassadors, distillers, authors, people who stage events and festivals, and takes questions from listeners and readers, all seamlessly blended together in a program that is unique in America.


Tim’s love of wine actually came about many years ago from his then wife-to-be, Brenda Maitland, a noted journalist in her own right, and together they have traveled to the major wine producing areas in the US and Europe, seeking first-hand information about beverages that give us all so much pleasure.


They were instrumental in the founding of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a major national and international well-regarded festival of its type. They both continue to be involved with the planning and staging of this multi-venue, five-day event now over twenty years old.


Tim is also considered one of the foremost professional wine judges in the US, being invited to judge more than 11 wine competitions each year, including the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (the largest competition of American wines in the world, with more than 6,000 entries), the Riverside, CA International Wine Competition, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Indiana International Wine Competition, Sandestin, Florida Wine Festival Competition, the State of Michigan Wine Competition, the U.S. National Wine Competition, and the National Wine Competition of Portugal.


Tim is a guest lecturer to many local wine and dine organizations, and speaks each year to the senior class in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.


Staying abreast of the news of the wine and spirits world is a passion for Tim, and he is committed to sharing what he knows with his listeners and readers. “Doing something I love, with products that I truly enjoy, created by interesting people, coupling the experience with culinary excellence, and doing it all in the greatest city in America,” are the words Tim lives by.


It’s a good gig. 




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