Nov 21, 201208:56 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

Holiday Happenings and Sage Advice

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It’s Thanksgiving time, so I’ll take advantage of your good feelings solidly rooted in the holiday spirit and veer off just a bit from our regular diatribe. Thank you for your indulgence.

Party Safely This Weekend

 

First and foremost, we all know what great celebrators New Orleanians are. Even things that people in other towns don’t celebrate, we do it with a vengeance. We party hard. That’s the way we roll. But with all that hard partying, there comes the potential, a nice word meaning it’s going to happen f’sure, to indulge to the point where we are over the legal limit for alcohol. And driving, while we still may be good at it, is not in our or anyone else’s best interests.

 

Point is use cabs. Relying on a Designated Driver is fine but who among us is going to fulfill that role at this time of year. Hell, any time of year. And it does not take much to be over the legal limit of alcohol consumption.

 

Five glasses of Champagne, consumed over a 2 hour period, for a 200 pound person brings you to the brink. If you weigh 160, you have crossed the line of .08 blood alcohol content (BAC). We don’t realize it here because we are always in Mardi Gras training and we don’t act drunk or even impaired, but in the eyes of the law, we are.

 

And the reality is that maybe we did nothing wrong behind the wheel. Maybe some joker runs into us. When the police arrive and the alcohol test begins, who is at fault for the accident is immediately overshadowed by the results of BAC. Losing your privilege to drive, losing your insurance, maybe even losing your job is just not worth the trade-off for the price of a cab ride.

 

Try this nifty website and calculator to help you get a grip on the situation..

 

What to Do with that Turkey Grease

 

Okay, second piece of sage advice: recycle your turkey grease. Cooking those birds creates a good bit of grease, and if you are frying, one of my favorite ways to enjoy turkey, there will be plenty of grease mixed in with the cooking oil.

 

This year, after not being able to offer it last year, Whole Foods Markets at all locations will accept your used cooking oil and recycle it into biodiesel fuel. Free. With this service available, why would you pour your used grease down the storm drain? Why would you do that anyway? It’s nasty and illegal. Attracts bugs and can clog the drainage flow.

 

The best thing to do is pour your used but cooled grease back into the original containers, or if you just have grease from the bird, put it into a jar, and drive it over to any Whole Foods location from Friday, Nov. 23, through the following Friday, Nov. 30. Easy.

 

Thank you, Whole Foods, for a great community service.

 

Upcoming Wine and Spirits Events

 

Okay, now the fun stuff.

 

If you are reading this on Wednesday, November 21, the New Orleans Opera is offering Opera on Tap, which will combine the pleasures of malt, hops, and arias. It will be at the Four Points Sheraton French Quarter Hotel (541 Bourbon St., 524-7611), formerly the Inn on Bourbon Street, but more importantly site of the legendary, long-gone French Opera House.

 

The event begins lasts from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and admission is free, though the beer is not. It’s an event for the whole family and if you have houseguests, it would be a great way to get everyone out for a little recreational activity. The hotel is offering a $5 parking rate during the concert so just tell them you are attending Opera on Tap.

 

On Tuesday, Nov. 27, Koval Whiskey, the first craft distillery to open in Chicago’s City Limits since Prohibition, will be staging Whiskey Dinner at Calcasieu (930 Tchoupitoulas St., 588-2188), just around the corner from Cochon in the Warehouse District.

 

The three-course meal, plus dessert, will include cocktails with every course, of course, along with the great cuisine of Cochon. Nothing shabby with any of it. Cost is $60 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations can be made at 504-588-2188.

 

Speaking of Prohibition, Old New Orleans Rum is celebrating its repeal. Well, I guess. Their whole operational plan depends on being able to sell the rum. From 8 to 11 p.m. on on Dec. 7, at Old New Orleans Rum (2815 Frenchmen St., 945-9400) you can party like its 1933 with the acknowledgement that the Noble Experiment was a flop. Thankfully.

 

Tickets are only $25 in advance and the proceeds benefit People United for Armstrong Park, a most worthy cause. Call 504-945-9400 to purchase tickets.

 

The actual repeal date was Dec. 5, 1933 but importantly we are recognizing that Prohibition is no longer here, in full force.

 

Moving on, and there are lots of activities in December but I am focusing on adult beverage-centric activities, is Tales of the Toddy on Dec. 20. This Tales of the Cocktail-affiliated event will feature the stars of the New Orleans cocktail and restaurant scene shaking up drinks of the season and serving some tasty tidbits. It’s very neat.

 

All takes place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency (601 Loyola Ave., 561-1234). Tickets are $30, and the Hyatt is offering special pricing on rooms so this may be an excellent opportunity to take that good advice offered you earlier in this column.

 

Call 504-948-0511, or visit talesofthecocktail.com, for tickets. I promise you will make this a part of your holiday traditions once you have attended.

 

Hope you, your family and all of your friends enjoy a special New Orleans Thanksgiving weekend. And for this holiday, don’t get all nervous about what wines go with what dishes. You literally cannot make a mistake with that much great food and that many people around the table.

 

Whatever you do is going to be special because you are sharing the joy of living in New Orleans with those you love.

 

Next week, back to our regular columns. Happy Thanksgiving. Geaux Tigers!! Geaux Saints!!

 

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Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

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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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