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Mar 8, 201708:00 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

Multi-Directional

GoNola.com

Multi-tasking is an essential skill in today’s society, and many of you pride yourselves on doing it well. Some of you are better at this than others. And some of you think you are better at this than you really are. Far be it from me to suggest that you are not as good as you think. That is a role for your very best friends, your analyst, or your Mom – which, I suppose, could be the same person.

Multi-tasking is a necessary trait of living in the Crescent City. Here you must be able to participate in several unrelated activities simultaneously. That’s because this town is always tossing multiple pursuits of great interest in your direction, all at the same time, and you hate to miss any of them.

As a prime example, coming up is St. Patrick’s Day. For those of you who are focused on March 17, which is the actual liturgical commemoration date of Ireland’s favorite saint, know that if you wait for the date, you will have missed several parties and a number of parades.

This year the New Orleans Irish community will be tossing beads and cabbages this coming weekend on March 11 in the Irish Channel – new parade route this year so don’t assume your old spot is still a good place – and March 12 in Metairie. The Downtown Irish Club parade in the Bywater, the Marigny and the Quarter will roll on March 17.

By way of suggestion, if you have not already figured it out, green beer is a strictly American invention – and not a very good one at that. First of all, the beer used is usually not great. If you enjoy cheap suds, think 99 Cent Big Ass Beer on Bourbon Street, then have at it. Secondly, where do you think the green comes from? It’s food coloring. And if it can color beer, it can do the same to your teeth and lips. Not a becoming look, not even on St. Pat’s.

St. Patrick’s Day is a special event. You really should enjoy the brewed product from the Emerald Isle. Guinness at the tap comes to mind. Be certain the bar gives you a “proper pour” – like Erin Rose in the Quarter, Irish House, Ryan’s and Mick’s do so. It takes time but it’s worth the wait. Then most Irish bars also have Smithwick’s and Harp’s on draft.

Now, in keeping with the topic of today: this time of year, when we can be pretty certain the really cold weather is gone (not that we had any really cold weather this winter), I love all the fresh fruits and vegetables we are seeing. You already know what I am thinking: great drinks.

 

With festival season upon us, make up a big batch then have a pre-festival or post-festival gathering.

 

Cucumber Mojito

Yield: 12 servings

 

  • 8 cups water
  • 4 medium cucumbers, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • ½ bunch fresh mint
  • 1 ½ cups agave syrup, honey or natural sugar
  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle light (white) rum
  • Crushed ice
  • ½ liter sparkling water

 

To serve:

  • 1 medium medium cucumber, cut into thin rounds for garnish
  • ½ bunch fresh mint
  • lime wedges

 

  1. Combine water, cucumbers, mint, agave syrup and lime juice in a blender and pulse until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve; discard solids.
  2. Combine cucumber mixture and rum in a large pitcher. Stir well. Refrigerate up to 4 hours.
  3. To serve, fill glasses with crushed ice. Fill halfway with cucumber mixture and top with sparkling water or soda. Garnish with a slice of cucumber, sprig of mint and lime wedge. Serves 16.

 

*For a kid-friendly alternative, make two batches and omit the rum in one. Serve with lemon-lime soda.

Note that in the “adult” version, sparkling water was used instead of the soda. Otherwise, to my taste, the drink becomes too sweet with the soda. But you may prefer your Mojito on the sweet side, and you can control the freshness and sweetness levels with a combination of sparkling water and soda.

 

Thanks to Relish Cooking Show and Brian Morris


The GBC

(Gin, Basil, Cumber)

 

  • 3 cucumber slices
  • 3 basil leaves
  • ½ tbsp. sugar (or ½ tbsp. of simple syrup)
  • 1 ounce gin
  • Fresh lime juice (to taste)
  • ½ cup crushed ice
  • ½ cup tonic water

Rocks Glass

 

  1. Roll two basil leaves together, slicing them into smaller pieces.
  2. Add sugar (or simple syrup) to glass, along with 1 ounce of gin, stirring until dissolved.
  3. Add two cucumber slices and two sliced basil leaves, muddle 5-10 times.
  4. Add lime juice to taste
  5. Add ½ cup crushed ice and ½ cup tonic water.
  6. Make a cut halfway through your last cucumber slice, placing it in the rim of the glass along with a basil leaf for garnish.

 

Thanks, Bob, at BS’ in the Kitchen


Won’t be long before Louisiana strawberries arrive in force, but some of us cannot wait. Here’s a well-named recipe, courtesy of the Imbibe® website, and created by a talented couple from Los Angeles, Dave Whitten and Arianna Reel Cook, and formerly featured at the sadly now-closed, One-Eyed Gypsy in L.A.

 

Bourbon Street

  • 2 oz. Bourbon. Don’t skimp on quality here. Buffalo Trace is a good selection.
  • 2 fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 3/4 oz. ginger syrup (equal parts fresh ginger juice and granulated sugar)
  • 1/2 oz. honey syrup (1:1 honey dissolved in water)
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 dashes rhubarb bitters (click here for a DIY recipe)
  • Club soda or Tonic, depending on your desire for sweet
     

Highball Glass

  1. In a shaker, muddle the strawberries with the honey syrup. Add the remaining ingredients, except the club soda, and shake with ice. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass, top with soda.

Garnish: fresh strawberry slice and mint sprig

 

-30-

 

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, 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

about

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; the Executive Editor and monthly features writer for Gulf Coast Wine + Dine Online; 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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