Day Drinking at the New Orleans Bloody Mary Festival
Day Drinking in New Orleans
If you haven't drank a bright green mystery grenade on Bourbon Street at 6:00 in the morning, you haven't lived. Visiting New Orleans is like drifting back to your 21 year old self, but without all the awkwardness, uncertainty, and self-consciousness that accompanies being a young adult. Unlike Las Vegas, there is no expectation of grandeur. No high heels, no flashy suits, no diamonds, money clips or bank account driven egos. It is quite simply, an unabashedly social playground for adults to enjoy other adults amidst unlimited amounts of cheap booze.
In some ways, I am very lucky that my job brought me to New Orleans. In some ways, luck has never had a thing to do with it. While in the French Quarter, I walked pass the well known tarot card shop I had been wanting to visit. Without an appointment, I walked in. A last minute cancellation allowed me a much coveted seat almost immediately. I'd like to say that I learned many things about myself. But that is not true. I remembered things that I had forgotten. I answered questions in ways that a seemingly previous self would. And I gained perspective on something I already knew.
New Orleans clarifies you.
During my weekend, I watched a salty piano player ridicule dopey white boys while enjoying a voodoo daquiri at Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar. I observed a white jacket clad bartender manually shake my Ramos Gin Fizz to full frothy fruition at the Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel. And at the Old Absinthe house, well, I sipped absinthe with beautiful, interesting, admirable friends and smiled till my face hurt. Then I went to work.
The Drive Thru Daiquiri Effect
I had assumed the New Orleans Bloody Mary Festival would be a wild drunken ride of bloody mary filled patrons. In fact, on my arrival, a man had berated me for only having been to New Orleans once before. "You write a blog about day drinking and you've only been to New Orleans once?" he snided. He was an asshole, but I looked forward to the onslaught of boozy masses that were about to descend. As it turns out, the New Orleans Bloody Mary Fest was the most boring bloody mary festival I had ever personally worked. Not because of anything to do with the fest. It was the people.
I have a theory. If I were to coin it, it would be the "Drive Thru Daiquiri Effect." You see, locals are so overly exposed to alcohol that the idea of unlimited bloody marys just doesn't really strike an enthusiastic chord. When stopping at the drive thru daiquiri joint is part of the drive home from work, when bar culture (I don't mean bartender culture) is so heavily ingrained, and when alcohol of all varieties are cheap and readily available at all times, the idea of getting another ten bloody mary samples just doesn't impact the already booze-soaked soul.
Day Drinking as Gratitude
But to the man who scolded my career, I would like to say this. Day drinking isn't about how much you drink during the day. Day drinking is about the freedom to drink during the day, the freedom to drink with friends during the day, the freedom to enjoy life with your fellow human beings without the stresses, pressures, and nagging responsibilities of weekday life. Day drinking is an expression of gratitude. And when your day drinking becomes a listless, apathetic, boring habit, you have lost every single fragment of beauty that comes from this communal act.
I knew this once. And now I know it again.
Day Drinking at The New Orleans Bloody Mary Festival
The New Orleans Bloody Mary Festival marked my 17th bloody mary competition as a judge. I saw everything from bloody marys spiked with ghost pepper tequila and bacon infused vodka to light, bright tomato water cocktails. And the garnishes did not disappoint either. Chicken and waffles, hard boiled eggs, shrimp, pickeled green beans, okra, and more were perched upon crimson filled cups. I was pleasantly surprised on more than a few occasions, and thankfully didn't have a retchful reaction to any of the entrants. Yes, this happens.
I was very happy to judge alongside my fellow day drinkers and professionals: Julian Douglas of Listen Journey Savor, Dr Brian King of Bloody America, Bryan Diaz of NOLADrinks, and Elizabeth Pearce of Drink & Learn. Thank you to all the bars and bartenders who participated in the competition, and thank you to my amazing friends for always supporting dreams and getting day drunk right alongside me.
Congratulations to all the winners. I cheers my collosal fish bowl to you!
Best Bloody Mary New Orleans - Original Recipe
1st place: Ms. Linda Green
2nd place: K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen
Best Bloody Mary New Orleans - Traditional Recipe
1st place: Ruby Slipper Cafe
2nd place Oceana Grilll
Best Bloody Mary Garnish New Orleans
Spotted Cat Food & Spirits