Dec 20, 201209:22 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

The Morning After the Night Before

melodi2, Stock.xchng, 2006

As a public service, we are pleased to cover this material as we enter the teeth of a season the likes of which even this almost-300-year-old town has not seen too often. Oh sure, I guess the news of the Louisiana Purchase caused more than a few parties to break out, and Andy Jackson’s victory at Chalmette was duly noted throughout the village, yet what we are about to experience is not just one event, but one darned event after another.

Sort of a long train of celebrations, which is nothing like the long trains through Metairie. Nothing.

Right on our doorstep is Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, followed by New Year’s Eve, immediately after is the Sugar Bowl, which is then followed by Twelfth Night, and that is the starting signal for Carnival Ball(s) and parades, those annual rituals interrupted this year by Super Bowl, followed by Mardi Gras itself.

It’s a New Orleans truism that anything worth doing is worth doing to excess. Whatever the official motto is for this city, and I spent about 90 seconds trying to find it and could not, that sentiment about going overboard in every way is on-target depicting the reality of living here.

Somewhere during all of that celebrating, enjoying life to its fullest extent, and beyond, will come a retched reminder that we are not as young or as “good” as we used to be, or think we are. Good morning, Mr. Hangover.

A hangover is nothing like Carl Sandberg’s poem, The Fog. Hangovers do not creep on like little cat feet. Hangovers stomp all over you like an elephant that does not like you. Like a jackhammer that won’t leave your head alone. Like a queasy stomach that no amount of fizzy-tablets will begin to resolve. And sometimes like cramps in your calves that will bring you to your knees, just in case you were standing, which will only happen with the greatest degree of difficulty. If standing upright with a hangover were an Olympic event, the judges would not score you over a 1.7.  Even that would be a pity score.

To start at some point near the beginning of your road to de-gra-dade, alcohol is not the body’s favorite additive. Your mind adores the feeling of freedom, maybe even euphoria, brought on by alcohol but your body is fighting alcohol every step of the way.

Part of that resistance is the continual attempt by the body to rinse the toxin out the door, as it were. And that explains why there are always lines for the restrooms in bars, at festivals and sporting events. The more you drink, the more ya’ gotta go.    

Your feeling of fatigue, headaches, dry mouth and general discomfort is a tired, dehydrated body’s response after trying to save you from yourself. At this point even the brain is in a recovering state from all that lovely, happy emotion. You are not a bad or mean drinker, are you? With alcohol, you do become a more charming and beautiful person, don’t you?

The next morning, or maybe even in the night as you try to sleep, your various muscles and organs that depend on liquids for proper functioning are gasping for anything that lubricates….except alcohol. Remember, alcohol is a diuretic. It’s a drying agent. That’s why you are in this shape in the first place.

Despite popular opinion, and that can mean what we really want to believe even when it flies in the face of reality, the next day “hair of the dog” will not by itself accomplish the right result. Yes, I hate to hear that as much as you do.

Your mind will enjoy the uplift, again, and so you will “feel” better, but make no mistake about this, you are not better. Drinks like Bloody Marys or Screwdrivers feel right because there are fruit or vegetable juices as the base, but they have alcohol, don’t they? That really is not the way to resolve your hangover. Still, you are on the right track.

Fruit juices in large quantities are excellent hangover remedies. Water is also good. Get those liquids back into your system as soon as you can. Don’t hold back. Drink a bunch. And stay near the aforementioned restrooms. Baños. Becausah. Terlet. Your Call of Nature will not be long distance and it will be stronger than Jack London’s.

Over-the-counter hangover medications, comprised of lots of vitamins and minerals, are not bad. Yet they are, in the final chapter, not going to accomplish any more than just putting healthy liquids back into your system.

Then there’s the matter of time. And in most cases it comes down to time. You will best overcome your hangover by doing the liquid routine, resting and allowing the passage of time to do its work.  

You no doubt have friends who swear by some elixir, based on many experiences and experimentations, which will hasten, they say, the return to normalcy. Maybe it works for them. And it may even work for you. If feeling better quicker is the real goal, then give it all a try.

But the real solution is to drink plenty of fresh juice and lay that aching head down for a nap.

To minimize the effects of what alcohol does to a body, while you are drinking whatever adult beverage you choose at the moment, drink water, too. Maybe not on a one-to-one ratio, but the closer you come to that equation, the lesser the negative effects will be going through the night and into the morning.

Of course, you will be excusing yourself from the proceedings with greater frequency to charge towards the door with the outline of a man or a woman. Try not to confuse the two, although sometimes the distinctions are not that clear. After going through the door, you’ll figure it out soon enough, or someone will do the figuring for you.

Anyway, given the upcoming gauntlet of holidays, festivals and days of celebration, it is a good idea to at least know when to say “when,” to know what you need to do to stay in a rational state of mind, and to recognize what needs to be done to get you rolling again the next day.  

There is no substitute for common sense. Yet, if we had that, would this be the right place to live? I choose New Orleans every time. Crank up the fruit juicer.

 

                                                            -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 weekly columnist, Happy Hour, for www.MyNewOrleans.com; the Executive Editor and monthly features writer for Gulf Coast Wine + Dine Online; creator and editor of his own website, www.winetalknola.com; all in addition to his daily hosting duties on the radio program, The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, on the air at WGSO – 990AM, every weekday, 3- 5 p.m, and streamed live on www.wgso.com.

 

Over the years, Tim has proved to be an informed 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 actually came about many years ago from his then 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.

 

They were instrumental in the founding of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a major national and international well-regarded festival of its type. They both continue to be involved with the planning and staging of this multi-venue, five-day event now over twenty 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, Florida Wine Festival Competition, the State of Michigan Wine Competition, the 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, Auburn, Alabama.

 

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.

 

It’s a good gig. 

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