The Challenge of Holidays

Holidays, by definition, are special occasions. We are expected to celebrate in some singular manner; eat foods usually banned from our everyday diets, and drink differently, or at the minimum, more.

When holidays occur on inconvenient days, such as this year’s Halloween falling on Tuesday, then we adults are “forced” to improvise, which we adults have done this year by designating Saturday, Oct. 28 as unofficial Halloween, a day when the celebration will be just as manic as if it were the real Halloween. But without the children’s sugar-collection journey around the neighborhood

In New Orleans when there is a party at stake, then flexibility has to step in and be a substitute for the voice of reason and sanity.  That voice is more often than not muted around here and examples abound of us not hearing the call to behave like “normal” American adults, whatever those are.

Halloween is not really a true holiday. Banks are open and mail is delivered. But New Orleans treats Halloween with singular respect. Since we are happy to take any excuse to party in costume, this day fits the bill very well. Keep in mind that we are likely the only people in our native land that actually have closets devoted to costumes, and they are usually in overload mode. We have no second thoughts about throwing a kick-ass party on a Tuesday in February, and stage festivals devoted to every manner of food. Those are not the actions of “normal” Americans.

Have you ever seen the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City where all the spectators stay on the sidewalk and then just stare at the parade? Now compare that to the Irish Channel procession here, where in some spots the spectators are so close to the parade that the parade can barely make it down the route, all for the sake of catching a carrot or a potato or a cabbage the size of your head. Your Honor, I rest my case.

Halloween presents some interesting beverage challenges, however. Like what the hell does one drink? And if you are at a party, is there really any appeal to a punch bowl full of “Dracula’s Used Blood?” Plus, as previously noted, Halloween’s central food item is sugar. What adult beverage gets paired with that?

Once again, it’s time for me to render a public service, and here, courtesy of Well Done website, is what to drink with Halloween candy. Disclaimer: I have tried none of these so if you find these are not the best pairings, follow your own tendencies, and don’t feel compelled to share the information.


Candy                        Beverage

Candy Corn                 Prosecco

Snickers                      Syrah

Butterfinger                 Chardonnay (Think about it. This is logical)

Nerds (the candy)       Riesling

Starburst                     Rosè

Whoppers                   Pinot Noir

Almond Joy                 Sherry

Peanut Butter Cups     Lambrusco


Now, let’s assume there is still a shred of human decency about you and your palate preferences, so here are a couple of adult beverages which should go well with your Halloween celebration activities.




  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • green food coloring



  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup club soda
  • 3/4 cup tequila
  • 3 ounces triple sec
  • 4 cherries
  • 4 teaspoons maraschino cherry syrup

Yield: 4 cocktails

Mix together 1/4 cup light corn syrup with green food dye. Tip: Start with just a little coloring and add until you get the desired color then set aside.

Keep in mind that as you create this version, there is a lot of sugar included in the recipe. Maybe back off the triple sec and cherry syrup amounts, and maybe go a bit heavier on the tequila. Maybe. But let your taste be the judge.

Bloody Orange Cocktail

  • 4 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces Licor43
  • 8 ounces Orangina or 1:3 orange juice to club soda
  • 3 ounces raspberry syrup
  • 1 orange

Yield: 4 cocktails

Add vodka and Licor43 to a shaker with ice, shake until very cold (about 20 seconds). Add Orangina and stir. Pour into iced glasses   Add an orange wedge to the side of each glass and serve

Thank you to HGTV for both recipes.


(courtesy GreatWineNews)

  • Concha y Toro Casillero Del Diablo
  • Bogle Phantom
  • Ghost Pines
  • Freakshow Cab
  • 7 Deadly Zins
  • Dead Arm Shiraz
  • Ghost Hill Cellars
  • EVIL Cabernet
  • The Velvet Devil 
  • Reserve POIZIN
  • Reserve Antidote

All of the wines may not be available in the market, or they may have already been scooped up by earlier sales. If you will tell the merchant that you are seeking some interesting wines for Halloween, I am certain you will be guided to appropriate products. Happy Halloween!




Read Happy Hour here on 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 Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature every month in New Orleans Magazine.


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