First of all, and importantly, The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (NOWFE) begins tomorrow, Thursday, with dinners in fine restaurants paired with excellent wines. More than 28 dinners, or thereabouts, and then it moves into full swing with activities after that, all weekend long.

You probably know NOWFE, now celebrating its 25th anniversary, so I won’t linger on what will be unfolding through Sunday afternoon. To choose events of particular interest to you, head on over to www.nowfe.com and check it out for yourself. A good time is practically guaranteed.

Now, that being said, just over the past week, the hot weather has descended upon us, and it is not likely to let up until well into October, maybe even November. That’s a long time to walk around complaining about heat and humidity.

As a public service, here are a few well-tested solutions not only to cool you off, but also to make you feel better from the inside of your body working towards the outer shell.

 

Conversation-Starting Cocktails

Put some IPA in your gin cocktail. This way too easy-to-make, unexpectedly good cocktail is not so sweet as it appears, and you can control that aspect anyway.

 

Tom Terrific

(Thanks to Food & Wine online)

  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 ounces Old Tom gin
  • 1/2 ounce Cherry Heering
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
  • 2 ounces chilled IPA
  • Lemon wheel, for garnish

 

  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker, except the beer and the garnish.
  2. Shake.
  3. Then add IPA to top off and the lemon wheel as garnish.

The Old Tom gin is very old-style but it may be too sweet. Substitute your personal favorite gin which has a time-tested proper sugar level for you.


Watermelon Sno-Ball

(Thanks to Treasury, San Francisco, who did not call this made-for-four drink by this name,

But we think this is a better New Orleans name than Boozy Slushy, which sounds too much like a cheap date)

 

  • 12 ounces watermelon juice, fresh
  • 4 ounces chilled vodka
  • 2 ounces chilled Aperol
  • 2 ounces chilled fino sherry
  • 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons agave 
  • 3 cups crushed ice
  • Watermelon wedges and black and white sesame seeds, for garnish

 

  1. Place watermelon juice into ice trays then set into the freezer for 5 hours.
  2. Put the ice cubes into a blender with all ingredients except garnish.
  3. Taste and either add more agave for sweetness or more vodka for bigger kick, or both.
  4. Blend to slush consistency.
  5. Add garnish.

Let’s get this Memorial Day Holiday weekend started and do something for the punch bowl:

Spicy Margarita Punch

(Justin Chapple)

  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish

  • 1 small jalapeño, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish

  • 1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro

  • 1/4 cup lightly packed mint

  • One 750-milliliter bottle silver tequila

  • 2 cups fresh lime juice

  • 1 cup light agave nectar

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice

  • Ice, lime wedges and kosher salt, for serving


 

  1. In a punch bowl, muddle 
the cucumber with the jalapeño, cilantro and mint.
  2. Add the tequila, lime juice, agave and orange juice and stir well.
  3. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour. 

  4. Using a fine-mesh sieve, remove and discard the solids from the punch.
  5. Garnish with more thinly sliced cucumber and jalapeño.
  6. Serve ice and lime wedges alongside, as well as salt for rimming glasses.

Or how about a “pitcher” drink?

Food & Wine names this Cajun Lemonade

(But in reality this cocktail is closer to a Hybrid Pimm’s Cup)

 

  • 12 ounces white rum or vodka
  • 4 ounces Pimm's No. 1
  • 8 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 4 ounces Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon Tabasco
  • Ice
  • 8 ounces chilled 7-Up
  • Thin lemon wheels, for garnish (optional)

 

  1. In a large resealable container, combine all ingredients except ice, the 7-Up and the lemon wheels.
  2. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.
  3. Cover tightly and shake, then pour into an ice-filled pitcher.
  4. Strain into ice-filled rocks glasses, stir in the 7-Up and garnish with lemon wheels.

 

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Read Happy Hour here on www.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. 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/