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Dec 13, 201708:00 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

Holiday Diversity

Maurius Maresan, Getty Images, 2006


By their very nature, holidays are different from average, run-of-the-mill weekdays. Holidays are special with themes, more chances for out-of-the-ordinary events, and they put a spring in all our steps.

Through no accident, New Orleans manages to squeeze in more holidays, more play-time, than just about any other community in the region. Okay, in America. All right already, on the planet.

Everyone everywhere enjoys Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, Fourth of July. We manage to add to that bundle Carnival, Mardi Gras, Sts. Patrick and Joseph Days, Super Sunday with the Mardi Gras Indians, French Quarter Fest, JazzFest, among others. And before you say, “Wait, those items are not truly holidays,” tell me with a straight face that you don’t take time off for these days, and that you are not in a more celebrating mood at these times. Ha! I knew you could not say it.

To make this season even more festive, let me suggest some drinks that have been developed around diverse spirits. I’ve no doubt you have never tried these drinks before, and you should give them a go. You may find your new holiday tradition to liven up the party, or just chill late at night after returning home from a wonderful and festive evening. But all you wanted was to be at home, relaxed and comfortable, not worrying about traffic, weather, or the joys of red-light cameras.


Reyka Spiced Cran Mule

  • 2 parts Reyka Vodka
  • 1 part spiced cranberry syrup*
  • 3 parts dry ginger beer

Combine ingredients. Shake and strain top champagne.


*Cranberry syrup - ½ cup Demerara sugar, 1 cup water, 12 whole allspice berries, 12 whole cloves, Zest of 1 orange, 1 inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled and chopped), 3 cinnamon sticks, 2 cups fresh cranberries

Combine all ingredients over heat except cranberries and stir until sugar dissolves. Add cranberries and bring to a boil... let boil until cranberries burst (about 3 min). Remove from heat and let sit for an hour.

Strain through fine mesh strainer.

Cranberry Sauce Gin & Tonic – Jimmy at the James

  • 2 parts Botanist Gin
  • ½ part simple syrup
  • ½ of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 heaping bar spoon cranberry sauce
  • Q Tonic
  • Lemon Wheel

In a cocktail shaker combine the gin, simple syrup, lemon juice and cranberry sauce. Shake with ice for about ten seconds and then strain into a tall glass with ice. Stir in tonic water and garnish with a lemon wheel.

Sailor Jerry Mulled Cider

  • 1 Part Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
  • 3 Parts Mulled Cider
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves

Heat Sailor Jerry and slowly add cider and desired spices. Stir and let cool before serving.

Green Rabbit – by Proof 

  • 3 parts Homemade Melon Milk
  • ½ part Ancho Verde
  • ¾ part  Hendrick’s Gin

Combine ingredients and shake well.

Strain over fresh ice in a wine glass.

Garnish with pineapple mint and serve with a straw.

Drambuie’s Mulled Wine

  • 8 parts Drambuie
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) Red Wine-Suggest Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2 parts Honey
  • 1 Spearmint-Peppermint Tea Bag
  • Peel of ½ Grapefruit
  • Peel of 1 Orange
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Grated Ginger
  • ½ tsp Whole Juniper Berries
  • ½ tsp Whole Allspice Berries
  • ½ tsp Whole Peppercorns

With a mortar and pestle grind the berries and pepper corns and add to a sauce pan. Add all other ingredients to the sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 minute. Strain and serve. If not hot enough, bring back to a simmer. Serve hot.

Ponche Primavera (pitcher)

  • 12 ½ parts Montelobos Mezcal
  • 7 ½ parts Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
  • 5 parts lime juice
  • 5 parts lemon juice
  • 15 parts sweetened agua de Jamaica (Mexican hibiscus tea water, can be found in most supermarkets)
  • 1 part Oleo Saccharum (an oil made from mixing citrus peels with sugar)

Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl and mix together.  To keep chilled, freeze a large ice block the night before by double boiling water and using a large casserole dish. Add edible flowers to the water before it freezes (optional). Let ice block rest in punch bowl throughout the gathering. Build ingredients into a glass mug

Hudson Hot Toddy

Add to a mug or Irish Coffee glass:

  • 2oz Hudson Manhattan Rye
  • 75oz fresh lemon juice
  • Heaping teaspoon good, local honey
  • 4oz very hot water
  • -OR- substitute a preferred brewed tea or mild/diluted cider for the amount water required.
  • Optional but recommended: dash or two of aromatic bitters

Stir to blend and dissolve honey. Add a star anise and a lemon slice studded with cloves for extra aromatics.



Special thanks to Curichweiss PR for some creative and festive adult drinks suggestions.


As for you, it’s holiday season, quickly go put something satisfying in your hands. 




Read Happy Hour here on myneworleans.com every other 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.


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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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