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Jul 26, 201711:49 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

Sips and Bites

HalfOrc, Getty Images, 2010

And so now, your humble author puts his brain on Automatic Drive, not placing too much pressure on an organ spent to excess from Tales of the Cocktail, which concluded this past Sunday and not a moment too soon.

Let’s take a look at some stories that are of interest or will have market impact, and then at the end, we will glide in for a soft landing with a simple recipe for a cooling treat. Timely.


Protect the Tequila

Many wine and spirits names are protected on the international market from encroachment by other similar products. Such products as Champagne, Bourbon, Sherry, Cognac and the like are considered specific styles made in specified ways in particular places. To be considered one of these protected beverages, the manufacturer has to adhere to a set group of regulations, which in many instances are, in fact, laws.

Tequila has long sought such status and the Consejo Regulador dei Tequila AC and just in time for National Tequila Day, July 24, the industry trade group was awarded a Certification Mark by the United States.

The certification indicates recognition of a product made with certain, defined practices (using the blue agave plant, also known as the agave azul or the agave tequilana), cultivated in the Jalisco region of Mexico, and the heart of the plant, the pina, is heated, fermented and distilled, upon affirmation that the process takes place in Jalisco, the Tequila designation is bestowed.                                                                                

To achieve the certification approval, the Tequila industry had to show it adheres to a strict set of standards. There was opposition. Some manufacturers of “tequila” made outside the defined district argued that the name had entered the common vocabulary and that many manufacturers of “tequila” in the U.S. would be hurt by limiting the term.

While Tequila is now a protected product name, the battle is not over. The opposition has filed suit to stop the process or at least stall the use of the term. Stay tuned.


Mexico, Part 2

Police and brewery construction protestors have clashed over plans for a new brewery in the Baja region of western Mexico. Farmers and other residents of the area fear that the brewery will alter the water table and introduce more pollutants into rivers and bays.

As of now, the police have the upper hand, have cleared paths for containers of construction materials and the plant is proceeding. But many folks are camped out at the site and it’s a tense situation. Complicating matters is that all the beer brewed on-site will be sold in the US.   



In a wholly ironic twist of the obvious, vodka is being accused of not being transparent. The very definition of vodka is an odorless, colorless, tasteless spirit but it seems that many consumers want to know what exactly is in the bottle.

Some outlandish marketing claims are coming back to haunt the spirit. Those claims, like being poured over a woman’s breast before bottling, a product that “naturally increases sexual desire,” and providing anti-aging properties have all been used in advertising messages, mostly in Europe.

In truth, according to some vodka experts and observers, those points have little or nothing to do with vodka and its legal status. Certain quality vodka manufacturers, such as Purity from Sweden and Vestal of Poland, want those and other claims to be affirmed and boldly stated on every bottle. The claims cannot be proven so the hope is that the bad characters will be exposed and leave the industry or straighten up.

In other words, many in the vodka world want more transparency when it comes to claims about the product and its manufacture. But with some of the industry leaders being offenders, there is little chance that vodka, like other spirits and wines, will be releasing the background about secret processes or being able to prove the statements.

The demand for transparency has arrived in Baton Rouge, Washington, D.C. and in large cities all over Europe. It’s not likely to happen in any of those places.

And now the promised sweet treat:


Moscow Mule Ice Pops

Courtesy of the Kitchens at Tasting Table

Thanks to Jake Cohen, Editor


Yield: Fifteen 2-ounce ice pops

Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus 4 hours freezing time


  • 3 cups (two 12-ounce cans) ginger beer
  • ½ cup vodka
  • 6 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2½-ounce ice pop molds and sticks
  • Lime wheels, for garnish


1. In a small pitcher, combine the ginger beer, vodka, lime juice and lime zest. Stir to combine.

2. Divide between the ice pop molds, pouring 2 ounces into each mold. Place a lime wheel in each pop, followed by the mold top and a stick. Freeze until solid, 4 hours. Then remove and serve.




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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