Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

May 2, 201808:05 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

It’s Not, But Let’s Drink Anyway

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with these margarita recipes

Sparkling Ice, 2018

The Mexican army’s victory over the French Empire at Puebla in 1862 was notable to Mexico in its quest for nationhood, but not the usual sort of thing that would attract anyone else’s attention. Unless you factor in the date: May 5. 

Cinco de Mayo has become the de facto day of celebration across the borders of many nations to acknowledge Mexico as a sovereign member of the world community.

But May 5 is not Independence Day to the Mexican people, who practically ignore the party possibilities of the fifth day of the fifth month. There is, of course, a true national holiday celebrating Mexican independence.

On Sept. 16, 1810, in the town of Dolores, Grito de Dolores, the Cry of Dolores, a priest rang the church bell as a signal to begin the revolution, which ended with Mexico’s independence from Spain ten years later. The very same bell is still used today at the National Palace, Mexico City, in annual re-enactments.

Still, why let the details of history get in the way of a good celebration? Americans seem to prefer Cinco de Mayo as a time to go south-of-the-Rio Grande native, and so we load up on cerveza, tequila, mezcal, salsa, guacamole, tamales, tacos, and chips. Crank up the mariachi music and let’s get this festival rolling.

The whole scene is reminiscent of St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland with the Irish not caring or celebrating all that much, and with Americans (okay, New Orleanians) throwing cabbages, carrots, and potatoes through every unprotected pane of glass. Whoopee!

If we have the temerity to commandeer a nation’s special day, then we had better do the action well and with pride. And that means, in New Orleans, replicating or creating special beverages. It has to start there, and then if noshing or snacking are involved, we can really show off. But first, the drinks.

This week I am also suggesting a possibly new ingredient in your cocktail efforts, an effervescent additive, Sparkling Ice, which comes in a variety of flavors, and can save you considerable preparation time as well as add interesting dimensions to your beverage creations.


Slim and Sparkling Margarita


  1.  Shake and pour into a chilled rocks glass rimmed in salt.
  2. Garnish with a lime slice.



Watermelon Ball Margarita

watermelon shot glasses:

  1. Scoop our watermelon balls with ice cream scooper.
  2. Cut slice on bottom to make flat.
  3. Use melon baller to scoop out insides.
  4. Add one scoop of watermelon to shaker using melon baller.
  5. Add lime wedges and Conintreau.
  6. Muddle together.
  7. Add tequila, juice from one-half lime, and ice.
  8. Shake and strain into measuring cup.
  9. Add Sparking Ice Strawberry Watermelon and pour into Watermelon Shot glass.



Triple Crown Lemonade

This one combines the spirit of Cinco de Mayo with the raciness of the Kentucky Derby, running this weekend, May 5.


  1. Shake and pour over ice into Highball glass.
  2. Top with Sparkling Ice Classic Lemonade.
  3. Garnish with Basil leaf.


If, in your flavor trials, the Sparkling Ice seems overwhelming, or not whelming enough, adjust volume accordingly. Special thanks to Sparkling Ice, Preston, Washington for the drink recipes.

Summer is here. Chill!





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.


Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

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. 




Atom Feed Subscribe to the Happy Hour Feed »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags