My husband, Mark, and I just bought a home in Algiers. At the end of our block is the levee where we often walk with our kids, enjoying the soundtrack of Edna Karr's marching band practice against the backdrop of the Mississippi River. Right on the other side of the river is the town of Arabi and the Lower 9th Ward.
When I was (very) pregnant with our son in August 2016, I was working in a high-rise on Poydras St. when a huge funnel cloud formed outside my building, ultimately substantially damaging parts of the Treme. I had never seen a tornado before and was absolutely terrified, in part because I watched the movie Twister at a way-too-young age. When Mark was working as a first responder in 2017, he told me the story of a young women he met in the wake of a catastrophic tornado in New Orleans East. She was pregnant, and had hidden herself in her bathtub to protect herself while the roof was ripped from her home in the path of the tornado.
This past Wednesday night, Mark and I sat on the porch of our new house and held our breath. The clouds changed shape quickly and the color of the sky turned bright green. We couldn't tell what was happening, but we knew it was bad. While we debated if we should wake the baby, where to locate the cat, and which closet to hide in, our five-year-old danced around to the Encanto soundtrack - blissfully unbothered.
After the weather and the commotion calmed down, we discovered that our home had very much been at risk, but we were okay. Instead of hitting us, the tornado hit the other side of our little view of the river - a community that keeps getting hit, where rebuilding is much, much harder. New Orleans is not an easy city to live in, but we do know how to rally for our own in a disaster.
Over the next two Sundays (and then some!), Happy Raptor will be raising funds and giving out free food to all in the tasting room, in the hopes of supporting those impacted by the tornado. We know from experience that we can count on our neighbors to show up and do the work right by our side, supporting those who need it the most. All I can say is that we are blessed to have a space to do this, and there by the grace of God goes I.
Meagen Moreland-Taliancich is the co-founder, majority owner, and Chief Brand Officer of Happy Raptor Distilling. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in getting involved in our tornado relief efforts, drop us an email at email@example.com.
Richard, the newest tour guide at Happy Raptor, is a self-described booze nerd and a native New Orleanian. Filled with facts not only about 504Rum but the history of Rum itself, Richard’s tours provide a historical overview of rum’s creation peppered with jokes and nerdy references. Keep reading for an overview of some of Richard's favorites!
What is your favorite cocktail currently on the menu?
2oz 504Hibiscus Rum
1oz Blue Horchata
1oz Best OJ
1oz Blueberry syrup
2 Shakes Orange Bitters
Orange peel for garnish
Marsh Parsley for garnish
Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain over ice. Garnish as desired with orange peel and marsh parsley.
To Make Blue Horchata
2 parts (1/2 lb) blue mosaic corn flour
2 parts rice flour
1 part pecan flour
2 parts turbinado/raw sugar
5 parts water
One lime, sliced and dehydrated
Zest of one orange
10 dried rose petals
Bring all ingredients to simmer until rice and corn become tender, stirring constantly, about 20 minutes. Add more water as necessary to create desired thickness.
Strain and bottle.
To Make Best OJ
Gather oranges and peel, reserving peels. Juice fruit into a container. Infuse half of peels into juice overnight, reserving remainder as cocktail garnish.
To Make Blueberry syrup.
1 cup Local Blueberry Juice (We use J&D Farms Juice)
1 cup sugar
3 Rosemary sprigs
5 Mint sprigs
Add all ingredients to a pot and heat to a simmer. Let herbs steep in syrup for 30 minutes. Strain and cool.
We developed this cocktail for the annual Garden to Glass cocktail competition at the National WWII Museum, hosted by Eat Local NOLA & the New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee. The challenge was to create a cocktail made from local ingredients that could have been commonly found in victory gardens during the WWII era. Our cocktail won the competition, and we couldn't be prouder! If it's too intimidating to try this at home, you can sample the winning cocktail at The American Sector for the next year.
We got to work, knowing that 504Hibiscus would be the base of our drink. The Blue Mamou is loosely based on a cocktail called The Big Mamou that was served at The American Sector, restaurant at the WWII Museum, around 10 years ago. The Big Mamou originated in the 1940s in New Orleans, and was commonly served as a tiki cocktail at the Sazerac, the Roosevelt's Blue Room, and other high-end bars in the city. The original version of the drink, as far as we can gather from our historical research, commonly used rum, orgeat, fruit juice and herbs.
Our version of the classic tiki drink highlights our floral rum and subs in house-made horchata for orgeat, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and a blueberry-herb syrup with wild-foraged marsh parsley as a perfectly refreshing, sustainably sourced garnish.
We hope you like it as much as we do!
This May, we took to the streets in our neighborhood to clear storm drain catch basins as part of Pontchartrain Conservancy's #StormSweep2021 efforts! We learned from Pontchartrain Conservancy's work that as litter accumulates in our streets and sewer systems, it prevents Lake Pontchartrain from draining properly, threatening homes, businesses and roadways with flooding. We know that our tasting room takes on water FAST if the storm drains on our street aren't properly cleaned, so as a local business and as a community partner of this year's Storm Sweep, we knew it was up to us to clean our streets and protect our building from flooding.
Through May 31, you can stop into the tasting room for a free 8oz. cocktail with proof of Storm Sweep volunteer registration - after cleaning drains this week, we definitely needed a drink.
We cleaned nearly 20 storm drains in our neighborhood, and y'all, it was no easy thing. Our team was armed with shovels, trowels, a rake, gardening and work gloves, and trash bags, and it still felt like it wasn't enough.
Among the trash we found clogging our drains were:
If you want to be part of the solution, head on over to the Storm Sweep website. Hurricane season officially starts June 1, but as we New Orleanians know, street flooding has no respect for the Gregorian calendar and causes the destruction of many a car and home year-round.
At Happy Raptor, uplifting the work of local nonprofits is central to our operations and mission. We're lucky to partner with nonprofits year round, and this May it's our main focus - that's why we're dubbing it the Month of Giving. Keep reading for a full list of this month's partnerships and how you can support these great New Orleans-based organizations!
Are you involved with a nonprofit organization? We offer our space as an event venue at no cost to nonprofits. Contact our Guest Experience Coordinator for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring has FINALLY returned to New Orleans, and with it, the blooms on our back patio!
If you didn’t know, many of the syrups in our tasting room cocktails are made with ingredients grown on-site. We keep multiple varieties of peppers and herbs on our patio, and harvest regularly to make seasonal cocktails (Like our Pomegranate Habanero Daquiris).
Growing your own food may seem like an impossible task, but growing cocktail ingredients and garnishes is actually relatively easy, even in a container garden.
Read on to find out more about our favorite easy-to-grow cocktail ingredients to pair with your next bottle of 504Rum!
TASTING ROOM HOURS
Mon-Wed | 12pm-7pm
Thurs-Sat | 12pm-8pm
Sun | 12pm-6pm
TOURS AND TASTINGS
Everyday By Appointment
Credit/Debit is preferred in the tasting room. We do not keep cash on the premises and cannot give change for cash transactions. If necessary, special arrangements can be made in advance of your visit.
1512 Carondelet Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
Corner of Martin Luther King, Jr Blvd & Carondelet Street
One block off Saint Charles Ave @ Melpomene streetcar stop
Free street parking is available
Bicyclists receive 10% off
*The address may also appear on your GPS as 1512 Robert C. Blakes Sr. Drive. Never fear - you're in the right place! We are located on a renamed, two-block stretch of Carondelet Street.
Happy Raptor Distilling, LLC is a woman-owned business and a member of the Certified Louisiana network.
According to law, we never sell or promote the sale of alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.
Please drink responsibly.