Oct 9, 201309:30 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

Duh Phrases and Bottled Cocktails

bschwehn, stock.xchng, 2013

Okay, go back and read the first part of that headline not assuming “Duh” is a New Orleans stand-in for The, but rather in the newest use as defined by teen-speak. They, and now us, like to use the term when someone says something so obvious it almost did not need to be said.

Duh is shorthand speech, used in a derogatory, condescending tone to respond to a statement, and the one word means, “Everybody knows that,” or “Of course. What else could it mean?” or “Are you really that stupid to state such an obvious fact, or do you think I am?”

I bring this up because I am tiring of hearing the same phrases over and over again, applied to the same situations, at different times, with the speaker assuming they are disclosing something brand new.

In the world of football broadcasting, we hear repetitively, “They will be coming out in the second half with answers,” after a team is burned for 24+ points in the first half. They’d better have some answers or we will all be flipping channels over to The Basket Weaving Network.

Or the announcers note, “It’s Third Down and 27 to go. This is an obvious passing down.” That is unnecessary to say. Dead air, with no comments, is preferable to hearing such drivel.

Or, “This team has so much heart.” Having heart instead of having talent makes for poor television, unless you are watching surgery on The Hospital Network.

However, it’s the wine world that really has raised my duh-index today. I interview a lot of winemakers for my radio show. (shameless plug: "The Wine Show," Fridays, 5 p.m. – 6 p.m., WGSO, 990 AM. Streamed: www.wgso.com) Winemakers are universally nice people. They've got a great gig: working outdoors, growing something wonderful that later will be transformed into something beautiful, having a lot friends who love what you do, always drinking good juice.

But they say things that do not fully express the miracle of their efforts. “All wine is really made in the vineyard” is really not true. Yes, you have to create the raw product of a good quality to get the whole process started, but there are many other matters that must fall into place in order to produce a fine wine. And most of those processes and additive products are fully in the winemaker’s control.

Or they like to share, “It’s been a challenging year.” At what point anytime does nature act perfectly over a nine month period? Just ask any mother. So, when does the temperature, the sun, the rain, the pests, the birds all work together to bring about a perfect season? Such a thing just does not happen. The challenge is that grapes have memory. They know every little thing that affected them during their time in the vineyard. Little things can add up to big problems.

Another accompanying statement is, “We may not see the outcome like we did in ’05.” Or insert some other terrific year. Many winemakers in California said this last year during the entire growing season. 2012 turned out to be a record grape crop harvest and the quality was superb. Last year in May you would have thought winegrowers were on their way to the Food Stamp office.

Certainly a healthy dose of humility is a good quality when you are involved with agriculture. But the quantity and quality of what was unfolding before their eyes last year was not to be denied. Though they tried.

A corollary to the above is, “We won’t be seeing a lot of fruit but what we have is of excellent quality.” Duh! We have not seen wine prices move up even though the 2010 and the 2011 vintages were difficult and somewhat small. I did not learn much in college (had a lot of fun, however) but did learn about supply and demand. A low supply and a heavy demand means prices rise. They have not risen in several years.

To go further with my college thought, as it applies to my situation, having a lot of fun equates to not learning much. It is one or the other on an opposing metric scale.

The last example I will cite of a duh-phrase, and then I will climb off my curmudgeon soapbox, is one that is applied to a lot of industries. But the saying is overused and we don’t need to ever hear it again. “You know how to make a small fortune in the wine business? Start with a large one.”

Honestly, there is no doubt that making wine is fraught with pitfalls and economic disaster. But there are a bunch of people who make wine and have become very, very rich from the activity.

 

A Thirsty Man Walks Into a Crowded Bar...

And the lines are four deep waiting to get a drink. Does he leave? Not if he is at Whiskey Blue in the W Hotel on Poydras Street.

He saunters over (yes, I imagine sauntering in a crowded bar is difficult, but work with me here) to the cooler and takes out a bottled cocktail. Not just any bottled cocktail, like those sappy sweet cocktails in the grocer’s cooler. No, these bottled cocktails are made by the same folks who are currently way too busy with other customers.

Whiskey Blue has established this program and it has proved a rousing success, as you can well imagine in a town that reveres movable cocktails and detests waiting for one. The fresh cocktails in a bottle, which are subject to change, are Mint Dew-Lip, Cucumber Mule, Basil Aviation, Rock the Cas Bar and The Tea Off. As you can see, the bottled offerings have the same sorts of snappy names assigned to new creations on every cocktail menu anywhere.

I guess the younger generation likes such monikers, or the bartenders have way too much time on their hands during those moments when the thirsty hordes are otherwise distracted.

The bottled pre-prepared cocktails are priced at a very reasonable $12, which is about what the drinks would cost if you could get anywhere close to the mixologists.

So, I’m thinking that the W Hotel has a nifty drive-through auto lobby. Wonder if anyone over there has considered the possibilities of bottled cocktails and… nah, it’s been done in this town.

 

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Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

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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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