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Jul 19, 201711:14 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

A Tales’ Table


All this week around the Hotel Monteleone and the Royal Sonesta Hotel, New Orleans will once again claim her rightful place in the wonderful world of cocktails. The atmosphere will be electric with notables, both universally acknowledged and local folk heroes, from the cocktail world sharing their joie de vivre and their dedication to what is truly a craft, assuring that us common folk receive great and creative values every time we order an adult beverage.

As usual in our town, whenever there is a gathering of people for the purpose of achievement of a common goal, we locals want to add to the happiness of the occasion and this time the goal is education about adult beverages. The purpose fits the setting. And the locals are more than happy to join in celebrating this laudable cause. You, of course, knew that.  

Even better news at this point, Tales of the Cocktail is ours, purely home-grown. And this extravaganza has become an important centerpiece in the world of mixed drinks, with these crazy and creative captains of cocktails attending lectures, participating in tastings, swapping techniques and recipes, then returning to their respective home markets to devise new concoctions before announcing, "Oh yeah, I learned this while I was in New Orleans." 

You can't buy better advertising than that for our town.

Also drawn to Tales without resistance, like a leaf in a whirlpool, is the international community of adult beverage sales people wanting to be near their biggest asset, the end-users of what they are selling. It’s the merry dance of the focused business world set in a masquerade of Crescent City fun. Interesting to watch like a fly on a bar glass.

Here is a sampling of the new products and ideas. Some are not so new but not moving onto the mainstream fast enough. These are items likely to be seen on a bar menu in the very near future, or, at best, these will become legendary industry stories told repeatedly wherever cocktailians gather. When you hear or see these items, you will know where it all began:

  • Wild Hibiscus Flower Extract and Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup, along with Butterfly Pea Flowers. “Just add a few drops to your Champagne and watch the color change.”
  • Ford’s Gin and Trash Tiki “The Anti-Waste Tour,” offering drinks and cocktails made from unused, unsold ingredients and soon-to-be-discarded items approaching their “sell-by” date.
  • A special appearance by the Slow and Low Whiskey Company at the Downtown Tattoo Company in the Marigny.
  • Tianguis de Bebidas Mexicanas function with the invitation sent out to a Millennial crowd that is likely not so far removed from High School so their knowledge of Spanish has not yet disintegrated into a state of not understanding the invitation phrase.
  • Cocktails in Seven Countries (not really, I checked. It all takes place at the Hotel Monteleone.)  just to be certain you have a healthy influx of previously unknown, unsung spirits before you are tested for geography skills.
  • A very thinly veiled 5-minute meet-and-move-on hiring interview for a 5-restaurant chain in Houston that wants to meet a bunch of folks it would appear with the intention of expansion, using a strawberry Pimm’s Cup as a come-on.
  • That Boutique-y Whiskey Company has released their 100th line since their founding in 2012, the Supersplendiferousness Speyburn Single Malt Scotch Whiskey.
  • Samplings of Industry Juice, self-proclaimed first, true and real alternative to squeezing citrus juice on-premise with a full-line of cold-pressed lemon, lime, pineapple, orange and grapefruit juices. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome takes a hit.      


This is just a short-list of the types of activities going on all week at Tales of the Cocktail. Know that the line-up above does not include the events sponsored by major companies such as Absolut, Tullamore D.E.W., The Balvanie, Alios Tequila, Hendrick’s Gin, Copper & Kings Brandy, Milagro Tequila, Bacardi Rums, El Silencio Mezcal and many other brands who have rented party facilities, all the accessories, staff, and musicians to assure their voice, their statement is the one that sticks.

All quite crazy and insane. Along those lines, welcome, friends of cocktails, to a city that can keep up with you. Keep in mind that when you leave, New Orleans will still be going the distance.




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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