Cool Ideas

The month of April, like many months in the New Orleans calendar, is littered with happy events. We started the month with the French Quarter Festival, and will now run and party at the Crescent City Classic (19), see if we can make another wine festival in Destin (24-27), check out the professional golf action at the Zurich Classic (21-27), head into the two weekends of Jazz Fest (24-27; May 1-5) really without working up a sweat or showing a care.

All the while we are glancing towards the onset of summer which means our culinary desires change to cooler fare and our beverages become lighter in style. Wouldn’t it be great if we could take two favorites, combine them, and come up with a wonderfully refreshing result?

Iced tea is practically the official drink of summer in New Orleans, and then we do love our cool Pinot Grigio — same as Pinot Gris — wines with our fresh seafood and Creole tomatoes. Let’s combine the two beverages to have something delightfully different but wonderfully familiar.

The folks at Tattle Tea have just released a packet that when added to one bottle of Pinot Grigio wine makes for a refreshing summer quaff. No need for other additives because the fruit-sweet and citrus qualities of the wine along with the specially-blended-for-this-purpose character of the tea provide every facet you could want in an iced tea, or in a hot weather wine.  The mix benefits from a good overnight steeping in the refrigerator.

The tea blend is South African Rooibos, hibiscus, ginger, lemon peel, orange peel and blue corn flowers.

Summer in New Orleans is celebrating the joy of life with lots of sunshine. Now add a little wine and a spot of tea.

Tattle Tea is available here.

Rebirth and Beer

The folks at NOLA Brewing, that cathedral to our community’s love of fine ale on Tchoupitoulas, have really done it this time, and they have even found a way to let everyone know of their latest venture.

Paying tribute to The Rebirth Brass Band, and simultaneously raising money for the amazing youth musician program Roots of Music, is nothing less than sheer genius. Truly an inspired coupling of tradition, music, youth programs and beer. Does that sound like New Orleans or what?

Tonight, Wednesday, April 16, the brewing gang, CEO Kirk Coco and Brewmaster Peter Caddo, along with all the staff at NOLA, will introduce Rebirth Pale Ale at 5 p.m. until 8 at the brewery at 3001 Tchoupitoulas St. It is highly likely two music heavyweights from our city, members of the Rebirth Brass Band and the kids of Roots of Music, will be there and ready to play.

No matter what else you have planned, come by NOLA Brewing first. You are going to enjoy the event and you are going to love the beer. Admission is free. Proceeds from the sale of the beer and donations are going to be well used by the kids, as they hone their craft, even at their very young age.


I’ve been handing out a lot of accolades lately (see last week’s Happy Hour column) but I have not been gratuitously gracious just for the sake of trying to change my image and being perceived as a nice guy.

What I have noted with a number of companies and folks are accomplishments that reflect well on our community, and, besides, there’s enough bad news floating around. We can always pause and enjoy some good once in a while.

Along those lines, the CoolBrew gang, located right here, is celebrating of 25 years of putting a real New Orleans experience into our collective coffee cups with the easiest preparation possible. Packaged in an otherworldly plastic container that I fully expect to say, “Take me to your leader,” CoolBrew allows the user to make a cup or a pot of great New Orleans coffee with such ease that having another is a no-brainer.

CoolBrew’s fresh, intense, concentrated, cold-brewed, real coffee essence — nothing artificial — is as fine a cup of coffee as you are likely to enjoy anywhere. CoolBrew’s rainbow of eight flavors from the French Roast to the recently revived and very popular Chocolate Almond, translate to New Orleans in the cup. It’s a mystery to me how our city has never been given the props it rightly deserves as a coffee capital and that other place out west gets the attention.

The good New Orleanians at CoolBrew are doing all they can to support our town and to enhance our correct reputation as a place where you can get a good and honest cup of coffee. This Mid-City product is available at all the authentic local grocery stores and supporting them is so easy because the end result will make you happy you don’t live in Seattle.

Oh, and you may want to visit Great recipes, including many with spirits and liqueurs. Told you these folks were New Orleans through and through.

Happy 25th Birthday, CoolBrew. I’m heading for a second cup right now. 


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