Each year when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, the world seemingly resets. It’s a time to briefly look back at the year that was, and to look ahead to a new year full of new possibilities.

This year, the looking ahead may have never been more important, as New Orleans, our country and the world let out a collective sigh of relief that 2020 is finally behind us. We look forward to new beginnings — healing both physically and mentally — and a rebuilding of all of the traditions we treasure.

In New Orleans, we treasure hospitality, and especially our drinking establishments and traditions, like no other place. In this issue, we highlight the places, brews, beers and concoctions that set our imbibing culture apart from everyone else. We have all the essential ingredients you need to mix and match, stir and shake, and drink like a local. 

January is also a great time to make a plan to try to incorporate new habits and new ideas into your usual routine. From learning how to (indoor) surf to learning a new language or volunteering in the community, we have an eclectic mix of ideas to try for your mind, body and spirit.

This past year provided an unprecedented array of challenges for our community, from the overwhelming effects of the pandemic to a relentless series of storms putting us in the “cone of uncertainty.” For this reason, we toast the arrival of a new year. And while things may still be on hold for a little while longer, we can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. 

May we all have patience and health, and in the meantime, we can practice our dance moves at home, perfect our festival recipes and plan our costumes for safer times ahead. Because y’all know the first festival, first concert, first Carnival celebrations will be bigger and brighter than ever before, and that is truly something we can look forward to.