Jan 7, 201012:00 AM
All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans
This year, make resolutions that will be fun to keep.
We humans certainly can get excited about time and distance benchmarks. We eagerly look forward to the car’s odometer hitting a bunch of zeros, though now that the darn thing is digital, that has taken some of the fun out of watching the rolling of the nines into a line of zeros. (And yes, I am showing my age here.)
We like graduation ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, birthday parties and anniversaries of all types noting special days passed. We look at our watches or cell phones for no real reason except just to know the time. OK, there’s that whole “twittering” thing, but that adds nothing to my diatribe about time.
And then there’s the faux-madness associated with the passing of the old year and the beginning of the new one. We gather the tribe, make silly noises while wearing silly cardboard hats, hug, kiss and then go to bed way too late –– usually after being overserved with both beverages and food. It’s fun. It’s recurring. It’s something we do.
Something else we do at this time of year is making Resolutions To Be Better, or RTBB, which usually we break. The time between the making of the RTBB and the time we break the promises to ourselves and others is inversely proportional to the tenor of the RTBB and how far away the desired outcome is from our real nature. The further away from our personal nature the RTBB is, the quicker they will be broken.
What we end up with is a good intention, a wish and a prayer –– and then back to our same old selves. Often all of that can occur in the same day. There are folks who practice the lively art of self-deception, ultimately dropping the charade and continuing on with their set-in-stone personal agendas.
What I would like to suggest is a few resolutions that can be kept because they involve liquid adult refreshment, something near and dear to just about every New Orleanians' lifestyle –– and they will be fun to achieve.
Learn More About What You Like and Why.
Your comeback here, taking the easy way, is: “That’s why I read this column every week. And if I have not learned more, it’s your fault.”
Fair enough. But (and please don’t tell anyone at MyNewOrleans.com) the seat of knowledge about spirits and wine does not fully reside here.
The attitude you should adopt is that the more you know, the better consumer you are and the more enjoyment you will experience. Besides, learning about beverages is not the worst assignment you could receive.
It’s a big world out there, with plenty of choices, some of them absolutely confounding and confusing.
By knowing more about those choices and playing that knowledge against what you like, you will have a better time. That’s the guarantee.
If you like California pinot noir, take a few moments to work through the confusing, even confounding, array of Burgundy wines made with the same grape. If you like a particular brand of tequila, find out why, and then check out some other labels.
Your curiosity can take you to new destinations. Maybe you don’t understand Armagnac. Well, here’s your chance.
There are books galore about all topics, and then you have the vast resources of the Internet at your fingertips. Use the opportunities to expand your understanding of a subject or two. It’s fun and rewarding.
Attend More Events Built Around Food, Wine and Spirits.
A great way to begin your journey on the first resolution (see above) is to get out of the house and into a restaurant, a tasting room or a festival.
We are fortunate to live in an area that provides limitless opportunities to try new things and meet new people. Just about every night in our community there are dining opportunities built around particular wines and/or spirits. Accompanying these affairs are short lectures that explain what you having, how it was made and why it all tastes so good.
We have at least two major festivals here devoted to beverages, the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience in May and Tales of the Cocktail in July, with a whole raft of other not-so-large festivals, such as the upcoming French Quarter Wine Festival in spring and the Tales of the Toddy evening in December.
We are home base for the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and the Museum of the American Cocktail, both in the Riverwalk and both offering frequent lectures and presentations on a wide variety of topics, liquid- and food-wise. Then there’s the Absinthe Museum on Royal Street. Did you know about all these venues?
Resolve to Drink Better.
Maybe you are already munching at the top of the food chain, but here is a different thought: By drinking and eating better, you can have more by doing less.
Let’s face it: With the passage of time, you are every day limited by how many more opportunities you will have in your life to really enjoy whatever it is you enjoy. You will only have so many more meals, so many more gatherings with friends, so many more chances to sip something really special
Why waste any of those chances? I know it is a bit of a downer of a thought, unless you approach it from this viewpoint: I’m not going to just drink. I’m going to drink well.
You can be the best judge of your own good taste, but don’t waste a moment on something that is not adding to the whole of your life.
Drink better. Eat better. Live better.
Most articles you read put forth some pesky New Year’s resolutions about cheery attitudes and achieving less girth, and there’s nothing wrong with those if that is what needs to be done.
As for me, I like the idea of sharing more good times and good beverages with friends. That’s the sort of resolution I am likely to keep longer and with a smile on my face.
Happy New Year!