While it might not be nationally celebrated, and you definitely don’t get the day off to indulge, who doesn’t get excited when Mardi Gras is right around the corner? Mardi Gras refers to Carnival celebrations leading up to Ash Wednesday, with the events culminating on the Tuesday before Lent begins. This is a last chance for those observing the Christian holiday season to let loose before the solemn weeks leading up to Easter.
No city is more directly tied to Mardi Gras than New Orleans, whose strong French and Catholic populations helped foster and support the revelry as far back as the late 18th century, with the first parade reportedly taking place in 1837.
While Mardi Gras today may not look and feel exactly as it did a few hundred years ago, the spirit and party atmosphere still live on, and we hope you’ll be celebrate Tuesday the 28th join in the fun.
If you’re looking for something a little jazzier than a discounted Abita Amber, give these classic tipples made famous in The Big Easy a sip, and check out some of our favorite cups, glasses, and tumblers while you’re at it.
If you’ve been to New Orleans, during Mardi Gras or otherwise, you’ve probably been instructed to get a Hurricane from Pat O’Brien’s. Fluorescent red and served in a glass with the same name, it’s a New Orleans right of passage. The mix is also all sugar and has a shelf life much, much longer than yours. This year, whip up your own with some fresh fruit juice and just one specialty ingredient. Oh, and lots of rum.
- -1.5 ounces dark Jamaican rum (Appleton is nice)
- -1.5 ounces light run
- -1 ounce Passion Fruit syrup
- -3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and add plenty of ice. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is frosted over. Strain into an Old Fashioned, highball, or hurricane* glass filled with ice. Garnish with a cherry and orange wedge.
*Hurricane glasses are rather large, so you may need to up proportions a bit to fill it.
Named after the French designation for New Orleans’s French Quarter—the beating heart of Mardi Gras—the Vieux Carré is as New Orleans as a drink as you’ll find. Think of it as a more aromatic Manhattan or Old Fashioned, this drink (pronounced VOO ka-RAY if you need to ask your local barkeep for one) only requires you to stir together some bar staples. Check out a more detailed history, and the recipe for this classic, from Paul Clarke.
- 3/4 ounce rye whiskey
- 3/4 ounce Cognac
- 3/4 sweet vermouth
- -1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
- -1 dash Angostura Bitters
- -1/4 ounce Benedictine
The new kid on the block for New Orleans cocktails, the Pimm’s Cup definitely has a place in any marathon drinking event like Mardi Gras. It has a relatively low alcohol content, which means you can have a few of these without fear of overdoing it.
We’ve gone into great detail with our love for Mr. Pimm’s namesake beverage, so have a gander at our favorite recipe here.
Laissez les bon temps rouler!