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Feb 6, 201909:58 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

King Cake Cocktails



If you are fortunate enough to live within a 100-mile radius of Jackson Square, you, no doubt, have multiple opportunities just about every day to enjoy a cherished and delicious Carnival custom, King Cake.

The usual is still the traditional cinnamon pasty style. However, over the past several years we have seen an amazing array of variations on a theme, including fillings with cream cheese; fruits like apple, strawberry, or raspberry; pecan and pecan praline; chocolate; almond paste; and with or without icing.

Many of our modern expressions of King Cake have even taken a very high baking road and are rightfully classified as brioche, big on the egg and butter content. There is even healthy King Cake, a part of Ochsner’s Eat Fit dietary program, offering a cake that is gluten-free, grain-free, earning a low-carb rating and Keto-approved.

The expansion of the King Cake universe has only further complicated the question: what beverage do I enjoy while devouring another New Orleans gift to the culinary world?

As in all food/beverage pairing decisions, the answer depends on a variety of factors, such as time of day, who are you with, what style of King Cake are you enjoying, are you savoring the moment by eating the cake with your fingers or a fork (the answer to this question could lead you to pop the cork on a bottle of champagne or just put one teaspoon of sugar in your coffee), and, in the final analysis, what do you really want to drink? It’s your deal all the way.

I am more of another-question kind of pairings guy. Whenever someone asks me if this beverage and this food goes together, I ask, “Do YOU like it?” The ultimate test for a good pairing is in your own mouth and nose. Sometimes a comment from a knowledgeable outsider can clear the fog, but mostly, if you like it, then it works. 

Here are a few suggestions of cocktails that should work with your King Cake at any time of day with any group that desires celebration. You know who they are.



  • 1-part orange juice
  • ½ part pink grapefruit juice
  • ¼ part pomegranate juice
  • 1-part Ruffino Prosecco, well chilled
  • Slices of assorted citrus and pomegranate seeds, to garnish
  1. In a large pitcher or punch bowl with plenty of ice combine the fruit juices.
  2. Pour the Ruffino Prosecco over top.
  3. Garnish generously with sliced citrus and pomegranate seeds.

TIPS: For best flavor use freshly pressed juices as available. Ruffino Sparkling Rosé is a great choice for this recipe too.



  • 2 parts Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
  • 3-4 pieces lemon wedge
  • Pinch of mint
  • .75 parts simple syrup
  • Mint sprig
  1. Muddle Mint, lemon and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker 
  2. Add Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 
  3. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice 
  4. Garnish with a mint sprig



  • 1½ parts SVEDKA Citron
  • 3 parts tomato juice
  • ½ part fresh lemon juice
  • Dash Worcestershire Sauce
  • Dash hot sauce
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Build in mixing glass filled with ice, and "roll" from one cup to another until cold and mixed.
  2. Pour into a tall glass and garnish with a lemon slice and a celery stick.


Many thanks to Carolyn Holtzman, Shadow Communications, and Constellation Imports for the recipe suggestions.


Also, if you are a home cocktail enthusiast, and not opposed to a little “mad scientist” action in your kitchen, we suggest the King Cake Syrup from Cocktail and Sons, made here in New Orleans. This particular concoction is only available until Mardi Gras. A great seasonal recipe is on the label.

Cocktail and Sons offers a whole line of cocktail additives which are top-notch in quality and provide amazing props to your creative efforts. They are available wherever fine spirits are sold.  

The joy of Carnival season is that you can "do whatcha wanna," whenever. It’s time to throw the baby out the window and let the sun burn down!           





Read Happy Hour here on myneworleans.com on Wednesdays, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 4:00 – 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 about cocktails in New Orleans, 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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