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Jan 5, 201205:00 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

Seasonal Wish Lists

And you thought the time had passed for wish lists. Yes, ol’ Santa is back at the North Pole or on Bayou Terrebonne, or wherever the dude hangs, and we’ve either received what we wanted or are left to scramble on our own to find ways to access that iPad, or Wii, or whatever it is. One of my friends was interested in a new Maserati. I don’t think she got it.

But the wish-list season goes on because now we are faced with the New Year’s resolution conundrum – which is, to make them or not. To be sincere about them or not. To even fool with the concept or not.

In my usual strong fashion, I’m taking a hard stance squarely in the middle of this annual activity. What do you expect from a New Orleanian who lives by the code, “Moderation in Excess?”

New resolutions that I will share despite the fact that this is against my better judgement:

• Be more committed to the work at hand. Distractions come way too easily, and I often make no effort to avoid them. In fact, I usually encourage them. If I become the least little bit bored, or become "over" a project, there could then ensue a whole afternoon of web research, if you get my drift.

• Don't be so damn impatient. Sometimes things just take too long. Take a deep breath. Pause. Relax.

• Slow down the driving speed. I've always pushed the speed limit. With traffic cameras, that can get very expensive.

• Be more appreciative of family. Yes, they can be tedious and even tiresome. But they (usually) mean no harm.

• Be more appreciative of friends. See above.

Now, here are a few resolutions that are continuing programs, already in practice in my life, but I want to enhance this coming year.

• Continue to enjoy wines from every corner of the globe. I really don't fully understand people who only drink one thing. Only red. Only white. Only Cabernet, or whatever. We live in a golden age of wine. Great work is being done everywhere. Why limit the possibilities?

• Continue to use only fresh ingredients in cocktails. Citrus, fruit, mint and spices should all be the freshest they can be. No cans of anything. No powdered mixes. If you buy a package that tells you to "just add water," save yourself a lot of mediocrity.

• Coupled with the above resolution, use those bar tools. Squeeze the limes. Muddle the mint. Prepare your own rimming spices. Measure your ingredients. Break up cubed ice into smaller pieces. Always use store-bought fresh ice.

• Experimentation is a glorious thing. Buy a good cocktail recipe book and go for it. Cooking New Orleans cuisine is fun. Making great cocktails is a ball.

And so there we are. Simple New Year's resolutions that have nothing to do with diets, exercise, self-help seminars, children or small pets. These are the reasons you read this column, isn't it?

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Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans


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; 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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