Jul 8, 201301:00 PM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

Tales of the Cocktail Stands Tall

Tales of the Cocktail

If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.

 

You’ve probably heard or used that expression and applied it to negative situations that just seem to mount up. You can’t solve one crisis before another one pops up and bites you in the ass, or somewhere else.

 

But in this instance, I am applying this expression to the freight train of parties, celebrations and festivals that continually run through this burg. We finish Carnival Season and then along comes St. Patrick’s and St. Joseph’s Days. We get through Jazz Fest and then comes Greek Fest and the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience. The shells from Oyster Festival have not even made it to the dump when the Tomato Festival and Zydeco Fest roll out.

 

And here we are just recovering from a grand celebration of Fourth of July and right on our doorstep is Tales of the Cocktail. I am not complaining but am reminded of another expression: "New Orleans is no place for wimps. Eat, drink, dance and stop complaining about how hard you have it."

 

Tales of the Cocktail is actually more of a marathon than a sprint. If you try to race through this thing, it will own you, with five days from one morning until early the following morning with constant bombardment of alcohol, food, fellowship and frivolity.

 

In the world of distilled beverages, Tales stands tall. It is considered one of the premier, if not the premier, festival of its kind anywhere. Take pride. It’s home-grown, home-operated and every last one of the 25,000+ attendees goes back to their homes with bragging rights that they were here. Okay, it’s not Yankee Stadium, but Tales has great stature in its own world.

 

Starting on Wednesday, July 17, and never slowing down until the afternoon of Sunday, July 21, Tales presents the story of spirits like no one else ever does. Whatever you want to make, whatever you are curious about, whatever aspect of mixology you have a passion for, it will be here, at your fingertips, likely before you can even ask the question.

 

One of the toughest “sells” Founder Ann Tuennerman, and her husband, Paul, had in the beginning were the Spirited Dinners. Eleven years ago, the idea of pairing cocktails with food was not a concept embraced by neither spirit companies nor restaurants. The place for spirits was before or after, but not during. My oh my, how that has changed.

 

Just about 30 fine dining, white tablecloth restaurants in New Orleans will be working with mixologists from all over the globe, using products from every place imaginable, creating pairings that at times are quite amazing, often very interesting. No matter where you go, and you should go to one of these things, likely the whole night you will be noting to your dining companions, “Gosh, I never would have thought to do that and put it here with this dish.”  

 

If you're interested, Spirited Dinner information with reservations are to be made directly with the participating restaurant.

 

There are also seminars if you are intent on sitting down in a formal setting and learning something. Ah, here’s a topical one, “Global Warming: Spirits and Climate Change.” There’s a conversation starter you could use to significantly increase your popularity at cocktail parties. Or how about something less serious, “The Pineapple, a Symbol of Hospitality”?

 

There’s also “Grape's Great Leap Towards Immortality,” “The Tender Topic of Terroir,” and “The Good Books – Cocktail Books Every Bartender Should Know.”

 

There are many, many others, with more than 15 seminars each day on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Check them out here.

 

And then there is a myriad, more than you can imagine, of complementary tastings, featured distillers sharing with you their wares, special rooms and luncheons. It’s what makes Tales so special. All of these companies send representatives and lots of product to New Orleans and they expect us to drink what’s here and to be nice to their people. No problem for us, on either count.

 

Two things to note, and both are very important in different ways: First, make your reservations. Make your plans. Set your schedule. As the time gets closer to Tales, most of the activities will be filled and you won’t be able to attend. So act now and avoid disappointment later.

 

Second: When you leave Tales, carefully consider your transportation options. Maybe a cab is a really good idea. Maybe a streetcar. Maybe a friend or relative. I can assure you, that plenty of alcohol will be served, and I can further assure you, you will take full advantage of this abundance of riches. You don’t want to be fodder for law enforcement. They will be doing their job to stop you if you are driving under the influence. They are not picking on you. They are providing a valuable service to the public. You don’t want to be the problem. Be the solution.

 

                                    -30-

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Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

about

In New Orleans, when the subject is wine and spirits, it is very difficult to leave Tim McNally out of the discussion. He is considered one of the “go-to” resources in the Crescent City for counsel and information about adult beverages and their place in the fabric of life in this great city.

Tim is the Wine and Spirits Editor, columnist and feature writer for New Orleans Magazine; the Wine and Spirits Editor and Happy Hour blogger for myneworleans.com; the Executive Editor and monthly features writer for Gulf Coast Wine + Dine Online; creator and editor of his own website, winetalknola.com; all in addition to his weekly hosting duties on "The Wine Show," a radio program entering its second decade of broadcasting in New Orleans. "The Wine Show with Tim McNally," is on the air at WGSO – 990AM, every Friday at 5 p.m.

Over the years, Tim has proved to be a master interviewer, putting his guests at ease, and covering tactile and technical information so that even a novice can understand difficult agricultural and production concepts. Tim speaks with winemakers, wine and spirit ambassadors, distillers, authors, people who stage events and festivals, and takes questions from listeners and readers, all seamlessly blended together in a program that is unique in America.

Tim’s love of wine came about many years ago from his wife-to-be, Brenda Maitland, a noted journalist in her own right, and together they have traveled to the major wine producing areas in the US and Europe, seeking first-hand information about beverages that give us all so much pleasure.

The couple was instrumental in the founding of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a major, well-regarded festival of its type both nationally and internationally. Tim and Brenda both continue to be involved with the planning and staging of this multi-venue, five-day event now more than 20 years old.

Tim is also considered one of the foremost professional wine judges in the US, being invited to judge more than 11 wine competitions each year, including the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (the largest competition of American wines in the world, with more than 6,000 entries), the Riverside, CA International Wine Competition, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Indiana International Wine Competition, Sandestin, FL Wine Festival Competition, U.S. National Wine Competition, and the National Wine Competition of Portugal.

Tim is a guest lecturer to many local wine and dine organizations, and speaks each year to the senior class in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.

Staying abreast of the news of the wine and spirits world is a passion for Tim, and he is committed to sharing what he knows with his listeners and readers. “Doing something I love, with products that I truly enjoy, created by interesting people, coupling the experience with culinary excellence, and doing it all in the greatest city in America,” are the words Tim lives by.

You can reach Tim by email at timideas@bellsouth.net.

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