We spend a lot of time and effort finding ways to make the most of the calendar. New Orleans is happily bound to festivals. Carnival is a biggie, and then the Saint celebrations (Patrick and Joseph), followed by French Quarter Fest, JazzFest, Tomato and Oysters Fests, etc.

Within those parameters, we insert appropriate beverages and foods. What to eat and what to drink drives a lot of action around here.

Against those standards, we choose to either go with the flow or buck the trend. Sometimes we do both. At the same time.

For instance, the hum or roar of the air conditioner tells us that about now we should have the blender strapped to our belt loops with a long cord and never letting the darn thing be empty of fruit, rum or gin, and accompanying essentials, like juice and ice.

Those obvious indicators, like temperatures in the mid-90’s, do not deter many of you from enjoying wines comprised of heavy red blends from Napa Valley or Bordeaux. I will refrain here from the obvious points of going a bit lighter in styles and weight of clothing, which includes drink choices, in the middle of summer in the semi-Tropics. Then again, drink what you like when you like. And you do not need my permission to do just that, do you?

Still there is much evidence that tells you to “lighten-up” with all life choices right now.

And, as a public service, I am here for you – since many of you do not have the enthusiasm or the desire to think through the heat. Sure, you can always pick up a chilled can of beer, pop that sucker, and not even think about it. Not a bad choice, all in all, but maybe with just a little more effort, you can knock one out of the park, to use the vernacular of the sport of the season.  We are multi-dimensional, if nothing else.  


Monkey Juice

Created by Raveen MIsra, Executive Bar Chef, Nektar, Singapore

  • 3 parts Monkey 47 Gin
  • 1 part LIllet Blanc
  • 1 part fresh Pink Grapefruit Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Honey
  • 2 drops Aromatic Bitters

Shake all ingredients over ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass, either long or rocks. Garnish with grapefruit twist


Monkey 47 is a premium gin created post World War II by British Wing Commander, Montgomery “Monty” Collins. During his assignment to a divided Berlin as an administrative officer involved in the rebuilding of that destroyed world capital, Monty took particular interest in the Berlin Zoo.

Monty had a passion for watchmaking (honestly, you know this is true because you can’t make this stuff up) and to learn that trade/craft, he soon moved to the Black Forest in Germany. Actually, he really was not very good at watchmaking so he opened a country guest house, Zum wilden Affen, which translates, “To the wild Monkeys.” Monty sponsored the monkey exhibit at the Berlin Zoo and one monkey in particular, Max, struck his fancy.

Monty, because he was far from home and being a good British soldier, had a particular affinity and desire for gin. To soothe his savage thirst, he created a unique gin recipe, which he set down on paper. It featured plant life native to the Black Forest.

The recipe was discovered in 2006 by Alexander Stein, managing partner of Black Forest Distillers, who respectfully followed the ingredients and the technique of Monty, long gone and presumed passed away. In keeping with the theme, the new gin was named Monkey 47 in respect for Monty, in honor of Max and noting the number of botanicals used in the manufacture.


While we are on seasonal concoctions, let’s slide into France by way of Cuba with an important stop in New York City.


Champagne Mojito

As served and created at Restaurant Daniel, New York

  • 2 parts FACUNDO NEO Rum
  • 2 parts Champagne, Brut
  • 1 dash of Angostura Bitters
  • 1 bar spoon Sugar in the Raw
  • 3/4 parts Fresh Lime Juice
  • 3/4 parts Simple Syrup
  • 8 Fresh Mint Leaves

Combine mint, sugar in the raw, lime juice and muddle. Add simple syrup and rum in a shaker. Shake the mix with ice and double strain into a high ball filled with ice. Top with Angostura bitters & Champagne. Garnish with a lime wheel and a fresh mint sprig.



Both of these cocktails should do the trick in the many days of heat and humidity that are certain to follow us around until about October. We don’t have to like the weather but we can’t fight it either. And why should we as long as good spirits and fine ingredients are available?