Tales of the Toddy rolls into its eighth season Dec. 19 with a few changes: expert judges will crown the winning eggnog, toddy, cider, cup of chocolate and sparkler made by local bartenders - now competing in teams; and there will be live music, with Mississippi Rail Company in the house.
The quartet, known for rhythm and blues rooted in New Orleans, will lay down low-key cheer.
"We'll play original music, covers and holiday tunes," says bandleader, pianist and composer Travers Geoffray. "And we'll be wearing suits."
Raised in Virginia, Travers migrated south for college. "I went to Tulane for environmental studies, but I got my music education in the city," he says, following the path of his NOLA-born musician dad and grandfather, who played viola at the New Orleans Opera House in the 40s.
So what is Travers drinking this season? A Sazerac, after strolling through the Roosevelt Hotel's winter wonderland; a Scotch neat, on Christmas.
And this twist on a White Russian - a simple swirl of pecan vodka and chicory liqueur, sweetened only by cream - from the counter at Travers's daytime gig, The Company Burger.
Tales of the Toddy, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 19 at Generations Hall, 310 Andrew Higgins Drive. Tales of the Toddy tickets give you access to the night's cocktails, food stations and festivities. Tickets are $35 each; enter code "FB2013" for $10 off.
Also new to this year's Toddy: Bayou Rum will host an after-party at Barcadia, beginning 8:30 p.m.; show your special Tales of the Toddy coin for a free Bayou Rum cocktail.
Check on Mississippi Rail Company's website in 2014, where they'll release a song a month. Besides Travers Geoffray, the band includes Sam Shahin (drums), Calvin Morin-Martin (upright bass), and Robin Clabby (sax).
The Company Burger, 4600 Freret, 267.0320. Manager Jasmine Linton wrote the Pecan White Russian, as well as other drinks on their list. Let's talk on Facebook or on Twitter @AnneBerryWrites.