This weblog is part of
looka, <lʊ´-kə> dialect, v.
1. The imperative form of the verb "to look"; in the spoken vernacular of New Orleans, it is usually employed when the speaker wishes to call one's attention to something.
2. --n. Chuck Taggart's weblog, hand-made and updated (almost) daily, focusing on food and drink, cocktails as cuisine, music (especially of the roots variety), New Orleans and Louisiana culture, news of the reality-based community ... and occasionally movies, books, sf, public radio, media and culture, travel, Macs, liberal and progressive politics, humor and amusements, reviews, complaints, the author's life and opinions, witty and/or smart-arsed comments and whatever else tickles the author's fancy.
Please feel free to contribute a link if you think I'll find it interesting. If you don't want to read my opinions, feel free to go elsewhere.
If you like, you are welcome to send e-mail to the author. Your comments on each post are also welcome; however, right-wing trolls are about as welcome as a boil on my arse. Search this site:
"Doctors, Professors, Kings and Queens: The Big Ol' Box of New Orleans" is a 4-CD box set celebrating the joy and diversity of the New Orleans music scene, from R&B to jazz to funk to Latin to blues to zydeco to klezmer (!) and more, including a full-size, 80-page book.
Produced, compiled and annotated by Chuck Taggart (hey, that's me!), liner notes by Mary Herczog (author of Frommer's New Orleans) and myself. Now for sale at your favorite independent record stores (such as the Louisiana Music Factory, because you should be supporting local New Orleans retailers) or via Amazon if you insist.
The box set was the subject of a 15-minute profile on National Public Radio's "Weekend Edition" on Feb. 6, 2005, and a segment on Wisconsin Public Radio's "To The Best of Our Knowledge" on Apr. 3, 2005. Here are some nice blurbs from the reviews (a tad immodest, I know; I'm not generally one to toot my own horn, but let's face it, I wanna sell some records here.)
* * *"More successfully than any previous compilation, Doctors... captures the sprawling eclecticism, freewheeling fun and constant interplay of tradition and innovation that is at the heart of Crescent City music." -- Keith Spera, New Orleans Times-Picayune.
"... if you DO know someone who's unfortunate enough to have never heard these cuts, press this monumentally adventurous box and its attendant booklet upon them. It's never too late to learn" -- Robert Fontenot, OffBeat magazine, New Orleans
"... the best collection yet of Louisiana music." -- Scott Jordan, The Independent, Lafayette, Louisiana.
"[T]he year's single most awesome package" -- Buddy Blue, San Diego Union-Tribune
"This four-CD box set doesn't miss a Crescent City beat ... For anyone who has enjoyed the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, this is Jazz Fest in a box. ***1/2" -- Dave Hoekstra, Chicago Sun-Times
"... excellently compiled, wonderfully annotated ... New Orleans fans will know much of this by heart, though they may not remember it sounding so good; those who don't know what it's like to miss New Orleans will quickly understand." -- Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press.
"... a perfect storm when it comes to reissues. This box set is musically exciting, a complete representation of its subject matter, and just plain fun to listen." -- Charlie B. Dahan, AllAboutJazz.com
"... one of the best impressions of a city's musical blueprint that you're likely to ever find." -- Zeth Lundy, PopMatters.com
"... an unacademic, uncategorized album that suits the city's time-warped party spirit." -- Jon Pareles, The New York Times
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2008: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.
2007: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.
2006: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.
2005: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.
2004: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.
2003: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.
2002: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.
2001: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.
2000: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.
1999: Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.
My Photos on Flickr
My Darlin' New Orleans...
Shop New Orleans! Visit the stores linked here to do your virtual online shopping in New Orleans. The city needs your money!
Greater N.O. Community Data Center
New Orleans Wiki
NOLA.com & The Times-Picayune
WDSU-TV (Channel 6, NBC)
WGNO-TV (Channel 26, ABC)
WNOL-TV (Channel 38, WB)
WTUL-FM (91.5, Progressive radio)
WVUE-TV (Channel 8, FOX)
WWL-TV (Channel 4, CBS)
WWNO-FM (89.9, classical, jazz, NPR)
WWOZ-FM (90.7, Best Radio Station in the Universe)
WYES-TV (Channel 12, PBS)
New Orleans ...
proud to blog it home.
2 Millionth Weblog
A Frolic of My Own
Ashley Morris (in memoriam)
Blogging New Orleans
Dispatches from Tanganyika
Home of the Groove
People Get Ready
Suspect Device Blog
The Third Battle of New Orleans
World Class New Orleans
The Yat Pundit
Your Right Hand Thief
"We are still heartily of the opinion that decent libation supports as many million lives as it threatens; donates pleasure and sparkle to more lives than it shadows; inspires more brilliance in the world of art, music, letters, and common ordinary intelligent conversation, than it dims." -- Charles H. Baker, Jr.
The Internet's most comprehensive
and indispensible database of
authenticated cocktail recipes,
ingredients, reseearch and more.
By Martin Doudoroff & Ted Haigh)
Museum of the American Cocktail
Founded by Dale DeGroff and many
other passionate spirits in Jan. 2005.
Celebrating a true American cultural
icon: the American Cocktail.
The Sazerac Cocktail
* * *
(The sine qua non of cocktails,
and the quintessential New Orleans
cocktail. Learn to make it.)
The Footloose Cocktail
(An original by Wes;
"Wonderful!" - Gary Regan.
"Very elegant, supremely
sophisticated" - Daniel Reichert.)
The Hoskins Cocktail
(An original by Chuck;
"It's nothing short of a
masterpiece." - Gary Regan)
* * *Chuck & Wes' Liquor Cabinet
(Frighteningly large, and would
never fit in a cabinet)
Chuck & Wes' Cocktail Book Collection
Chuck & Wes' Cocktail Menu
(A few things we like to
drink at home, plus a couple
we don't, just for fun.)
* * *Peychaud's Bitters
(Indispensible for Sazeracs
and many other cocktails.
Order them here.)
(The gold standard of bitters,
fortunately available everywhere
worldwide. Insist on it.)
Regans' Orange Bitters No. 6
(Complex and spicy orange
bitters for your Martinis,
Old Fashioneds and many more.
Order them here.)
Fee Brothers' Bitters
(Classic orange bitters,
peach bitters and a cinnamony
"Old Fashion" aromatic bitters,
plus new lemon & grapefruit bitters!)
The Bitter Truth
(A new brand of bitters
from Germany: orange, lemon,
aromatic bitters and more!)
(Fantastic new small-batch
bitters company with forth-
coming products including
Xocolatl Mole Bitters,
grapefruit, "tiki" spice,
and sweet chocolate bitters, wow!)
* * *The Tiki-licious Luau Spirited Dinner, July 17, 2008
(Eleven dishes of wonder by Chef
Chris DeBarr, with fabulous
tropical cocktails by Jeff "Beachbum"
Berry and Wayne Curtis. Full review
of the 11-dish, 4-course meal, with
photos and recipes for all 5 drinks.)
* * *Alcademics
(Gary & Mardee Regan)
The Art of Drink:
An exploration of Spirits & Mixology.
Bar Mix Master
(Brad Ellis, New Orleans)
(Jeff Berry, world-class expert
on tropical drinks)
(Seamus Harris, N.Z. & China)
The Cocktail Chronicles
(Paul Clarke's weblog)
(Group drinks blog by Vidiot,
Mr. Bali Hai, Kosmonaut,
Chico and me).
The Cocktail Circuit
A Dash of Bitters
(Craig Mrusek, bring art and
alcohol together for a
Drink A Week
(Alex and Ed)
DrinkBoy and the
Community for the
(Robert Hess, et al.)
DrinkBoy's Cocktail Weblog
(Online magazine for the
Esquire's Drinks Database
(Dave Wondrich and
Fine Spirits & Cocktails
news & insider info)
(Celebrating the world in a glass. All-new site with recipes and back issues!)
In the Land of Cocktails
(Ti Adelaide Martin & Lally Brennan,
"The Cocktail Chicks," of Café Adelaide
& Commander's Palace, New Orleans)
(Bartender/mixologist, Eugene OR)
Jimmy's Cocktail Hour
(Rick Stutz, bringing us cocktails
and great photographs)
La Fée Verte
(All about absinthe
from Kallisti et al.)
(Ladies United for the
The Ministry of Rum
(Everything you always wanted to know)
(The Munat Bros. host
cocktail gatherings in
Seattle, and write about them
here. I'm jealous that I can't go.)
(Cocktail chat online, and
Thursday Drink Night!)
The Modern Mixologist
Mr. Lucky's Cocktails
Swanky et al.)
(Hundreds of cocktail recipes ...
in Hungarian. Well, why not?
Sajnos, nem beszélek magyarul.)
The Munat Bros.
(Seattle-based brothers and
ardent proponents of fine drinking.)
Off the Presses
(Jay Hepburn, London)
Rowley's Whiskey Forge
(Matt Robold, The Rum Dood)
Save the Drinkers
(Kevin Kelpe, Boise, Idaho!)
(F. Paul Pacult)
Spirits and Cocktails
Tiki Drinks & Indigo Firmaments
Trader Tiki's Booze Blog
The Wormwood Society
(Dedicated to promoting accurate,
current information about absinthe)
Culinary Concierge (N.O. food & wine magazine)
Mr. Lake's Non-Pompous New Orleans Food Forum
The New Orleans Menu
Notes from a New Orleans Foodie
Chocolate and Zucchini
Mise en Place
à la carte
Chef Talk Café
The Global Gourmet
The Hungry Passport site and weblog)
A Muse for Cooks
The Online Chef
Pasta, Risotto & You
Slow Food Int'l. Movement
Southern Food & Beverages Museum
Southern Foodways Alliance
So. Calif. Farmer's Markets
In vino veritas.
The Oxford Companion to Wine
The Wine Spectator
Zinfandel Advocates & Producers
Wine/spirits shops in our 'hood:
Colorado Wine Co., Eagle Rock
Mission Liquors, Pasadena
Silverlake Wine, Silverlake
Chronicle Wine Cellar, Pasadena
Other wine/spirits shops we visit:
Beverage Warehouse, Mar Vista
Wally's Wine & Spirits, Westwood
The Wine House, West L.A.
Reading this month:
Lisey's Story, by Stephen King.
The Ghost Brigades, by John Scalzi.
In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan.
Listen to music!
Chuck's current album recommendations
La Bottine Souriante
The Old 97s
The Red Stick Ramblers
Tom Morgan's Jazz Roots
Miles of Music
New Orleans Bands.net
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Appalachian String Band Music Festival - Clifftop, WV
Long Beach Bayou Festival
Strawberry Music Festival - Yosemite, CA
WWOZ (New Orleans)
Live audio stream
Bob Walker's New Orleans Radio Shrine
(A rich history of N.O. radio)
Air America Radio
(Talk radio for the
rest of us)
Grateful Dead Radio
KPIG, 107 Oink 5
KRVS Radio Acadie
Mike Hodel's "Hour 25"
(Science fiction radio)
(Irish language & music)
Raidió na Gaeltachta
RTÉ Radio Ceolnet
(Irish trad. music)
WXDU (Durham, NC)
Films seen this year:
In the cinema:
Close Encounters of the Third Kind: The Director's Cut (****)
Hellraiser: Bloodline (**)
Third Man Out (***)
Lookin' at da TV:
A Gallery for Fine Photography, New Orleans (Joshua Mann Pailet)
American Museum of Photography
California Museum of Photography, Riverside
International Center of Photography
Paul F. R. Hamilton
Clarence John Laughlin
J. T. Seaton
The Mirror Project
(My pics therein: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.)
My photographs at Flickr
The Abominable Charles Christopher
by Karl Kerschl
The Amazing Adventures of Bill,
by Bill Roundy
Bloom County / Outland / Opus,
by Berkeley Breathed
Bob the Angry Flower,
by Stephen Notley
by Aaron McGruder
Calvin and Hobbes,
by Bill Watterson
by Garry B. Trudeau
Electric Sheep Comix
by Patrick Farley
Get Your War On
by David Rees
by Jonathan Rosenberg
L. A. Cucaracha
by Lalo Alcaraz
by Peter Blegvad
by Al Capp
by Emily Flake
The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green,
by Eric Orner
by Walt Kelly
by Greg Peters
by Ted Rall
This Modern World,
by Tom Tomorrow
XQUZYPHYR & Overboard,
by August J. Pollak
AlterNet.org (Progressive politics & news)
Daily Kos (My favorite political weblog)
Eschaton (The Mighty Atrios)
Hullaballoo (The Mighty Digby)
Media Matters for America (Debunking right-wing media lies)
Orcinus (David Neiwert)
PostSecret (Secrets sent in via postcards; astonishingly beautiful, funny and sad.)
Talking Points Memo (Josh Marshall)
TAPPED (The American Prospect Online)
TruthOut (William Rivers Pitt & Co.)
Borowitz Report (Political satire)
The Complete Bushisms (quotationable!)
The Fray (Your stories)
Landover Baptist (Better Christians than YOU!)
Maledicta (The International Journal of Verbal Aggression)
The Morning Fix from SF Gate (Opinions, extreme irreverence)
The New York Review of Science Fiction
The Onion (Scarily funny news/satire)
"Rush, Newspeak and Fascism: An exegesis", by David Neiwert. (Read this.)
Whitehouse.org (Not the actual White House, but it should be)
Weblogs I read:
The Carpetbagger Report
Ghost in the Machine
Hit or Miss
Neil Gaiman's Journal
Not Right About Anything
August J. Pollak
This Modern World
Your Right Hand Thief
Friends with pages: The Final Frontier:
Déanta: This page is coded by hand, with BBEdit 4.0.1 on an Apple iMac 24" and a G4 15" PowerBook running MacOS X 10.5 if I'm at home; occasionally with telnet and Pico on a FreeBSD Unix host running tcsh if I'm updating from work. (I never could get used to all those weblogging tools.)
"Eating, drinking and carrying on..." -- Adelaide Brennan
Friday, May 1, 2009
ANNOUNCEMENT! Mixology Monday XXXIX: Amaro. Happy Mayday, y'all. (Whistle "The Internationale" if you're of a mind to.) Another month, another Mixology Monday is rapidly approaching. Mixology Monday is a monthly online cocktail party that unites cocktail enthusiasts from around the globe. Once a month, on a Monday, we ponder a topic or theme, and either create new cocktails or find historic ones that fit in with that theme. Everything from bursts of creativity to unearthing near-forgotten cocktails to old favorites are welcome. It's my honor to be hosting MxMo for the month of May, finally getting my lazy keister in gear and offering to do so after 39 months. I'm hoping the topic will be worth the wait, as it's one near and dear to my heart.
The topic for this month is Amaro, which refers to the bitter liqueurs usually drunk as an after-meal digestive, either alone (neat or on the rocks) or in some kind of mixed drink or cocktail. They tend to all share certain characteristics -- drinking bitters are generally made of alcohol with any number of herbs, plus sugar and some kind of coloring. The word "amaro" means bitter in Italian, and although the more famous drinking bitters tend to come from Italy our amaro theme this month is most certainly not limited to that country. Amaro, amer, amargo, what have you. Italy, Spain, France, America, Serbia, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland ... wherever somebody drinks a bitter liqueur, that's a source for your drink this month.
My own journey to being an amaro geek took many years. About 9 years ago I first read about Fernet Branca in an article on epinions.com, back when I was writing reviews for them. I wasn't familiar with it, but the writer referred to it as "the medicine cabinet in my bar." His Italian grandmother had turned him on to the beneficial effects of Fernet after a large meal, particularly an overindulgent one. Her method of serving it was "calda lunga" -- four parts hot water to one part Fernet, with a tablespoon of honey. I was fascinated by this, and picked up a bottle on my next trip to the liquor store. I opened the bottle after my next indulgent meal, and instead of the calda lunga I tried it in the most traditional style, semplice -- by itself in a chilled glass, with a bit of ice. The flavor was ... well, fairly horrid, I thought at the time. Extremely medicinal. But ... I felt better within about five minutes. Truly amazing stuff, and a testament to the power of herbal medicine.
For years I only used Fernet for medicinal purposes, quite literally, but over time began to appreciate the flavor a little bit more. I tried other amaros that I really liked, especially Averna, and eventually got to the point where I drink Fernet Branca for pleasure. Along the road I started picking up more and more amaro, and now I can't get enough of it. Wherever it's from, I want it. I want to sip it alone and I want to use it in cocktails, and since I don't recall our having this particular topic in MxMo so far, I thought it was about time! Now, what to do?
You could use something gentle, like the lovely Amaro Montenegro, or something in-your-face, like the aforementioned Fernet. You could go insane, like a few intrepid Chicago bartenders have done, and actually make cocktails with Jeppson Malört, which is the most mind-bogglingly, unrelentingly bitter liqueur ever. Or you could find something relatively rare, like a pelinkovac from Serbia or Croatia. Just remember we're talking about a bitter liqueur you drink from a glass, not an aromatic bitters you add by the dash. Oh, and one more thing ... while technically Jägermeister is a digestive bitter liqueur and is perfectly legitimate for your post-prandial sipping, it's been done to death by frat boys nationwide. Unless your Jäger cocktail is destined to be a modern classic, I'd recommend skipping that one (if for no other reason that someone will undoubtedly taunt you for it). Or you could say, "In your face, Taggart!" and do a brilliant Jägermeister cocktail that blows everyone away. The world of bitters is your canvas.
Here's what to do:
1. By Monday, May 18, either find or create a cocktail containing amaro or some kind of drinking bitters from any country.
2. Write a post about it on your own site (or on The Spirits and Cocktails Forum on egullet.com if you don't have a site of your own) on Monday the 18th, then leave a comment with a link to your post either here or on the main post I'll do on the 18th. (They'll have the same comment link.) For safety, email the link to me as well, to mr.sazerac (at) gmail (dot) com.
Link back to me and to the main Mixology Monday site, and please include the MxMo logo as well.
I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with this time. Viva amaro!
Permalink for the announcement post:
Several of my friends and loved ones (and a few kind strangers) contribute regularly to this weblog, providing links, comments and sometimes lots more. Thanks to Wesly Moore, Mike Luquet, Mary Herczog, Steve Hochman, Dave Schmerler, Nettie DeAugustine, Diana Schwam, Andy Senasac, Michael Yasui, Steve Gardner, Michael Pemberton, Steve Kelley, Barry Kelley, Eric Labow, Tom Krueger, Greg Beron, Sean Burke, Shari Minton and Barry Enderwick.
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creole and cajun recipe page | search this site
chuck taggart | email chef (at) gumbopages (dot) com
This site ©1994-2009 by Chuck Taggart.
All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.
This means that you may not copy my writing onto other web pages or anywhere else without my specific written permission. (Quotes of short passages, properly attributed, may be considered fair use.) If you do copy my work and pass it off as your own, it's called "stealing" and "plagiarism".
People who steal my stuff will be étoufféed and served to Dr. Lecter, with a nice Chianti. (I'm serious. Just don't do it. Thanks.)