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Entertaining
10 Cocktails for Mardi Gras

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Celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans is an experience like no other, packed with epic parades, costumed performers, jubilant onlookers and, of course, lots and lots of cocktails. But there’s no reason you can’t do Fat Tuesday right from the comfort of your home. Grab some beads, turn up the zydeco and whip up these festive Mardi Gras cocktails.

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No drink is more iconically “New Orleans” than the Sazerac. An apothecary named Antoine Peychaud invented the drink in the 1800s, originally using Cognac and absinthe, and the drink went on to inspire his company’s name. The modern-day, rye whiskey-based Sazerac also uses Peychaud’s own anise-tinged bitters. Top it off with an absinthe spritz, and you’ll instantly feel like you’re parading down Bourbon Street.

The Essentials

Rye
Absinthe
Bitters
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The Absinthe Frappé may not taste like a Frappuccino (there’s no cream in it), but it still is rich, frosty and delicious. Invented in 1874 by Cayetano Ferrer, a Big Easy bartender working at the Old Absinthe House, the Absinthe Frappé is prepared by muddling mint leaves with simple syrup, shaking it with absinthe and ice, and pouring it over a mound of crushed ice. It’s incredibly refreshing, and much more sippable than the potent Absinthe Drip.

The Essentials

Absinthe
simple syrup
mint leaves
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If a strong, rummy drink is what you’re looking for, look no further than the Hurricane, which calls for a whopping four ounces of dark rum. New Orleans bar owner Pat O’Brien came up with the Hurricane in the 1940s when he was faced with a surplus of rum (a problem we wish we had). Ignore flashy variations—the original recipe of dark rum, passion fruit syrup and lemon juice is still your best bet.

The Essentials

dark rum
Passion fruit syrup
Fresh Lemon juice
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Originally called the New Orleans Fizz, this cocktail was invented by Henry C. Ramos in 1888 at the Imperial Cabinet Saloon, where Ramos employed two dozen “shaker boys” to shake each drink for the required 12 minutes. To avoid the ire of bartenders, mix this one up for yourself at home, preferably not after arm day at the gym.

The Essentials

London Dry Gin
Cream
Egg white
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Named for the old moniker of the French Quarter, this cocktail is quintessential old New Orleans in a glass—vibrant, bold and smooth, with a touch of mystery. A mix of French Cognac, sweet vermouth, Bénédictine liqueur and American rye whiskey, it seamlessly blends the the two cultures together, just like the Franco-American city itself.

The Essentials

Rye
Cognac
Sweet Vermouth
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While it may date back to pre-colonial times, this frothy, decadent cocktail found its audience on Bourbon Street. The creamy mix of bourbon, dark rum, vanilla syrup and milk is soothing, sweet and not too boozy, making it the ideal nightcap after a long day on the parade route collecting beads.

The Essentials

Bourbon
Dark Rum
Milk
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This signature cocktail comes from Jason Sorbet of New Orleans’s 21st Amendment Bar at La Louisiane, and was named in honor of a frequent hotel guest—Evangeline the Oyster Girl, a popular Bourbon Street burlesque dancer in the 1950s. The gin, blackberry and orange juice cocktail gets added sweetness from a homemade vanilla syrup, making it as seductive as Evangeline’s act.

The Essentials

Gin
Crème de Mûre
vanilla syrup
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Created at Tujague’s Restaurant in New Orleans in the early 1920s, this low-ABV sipper is best enjoyed in place of dessert after you’ve stuffed yourself on jambalaya. Bonus: You can use up some of those aging liqueurs from the back of your liquor cabinet.

The Essentials

white crème de cacao
green crème de menthe
heavy cream
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Chicory coffee is as much a staple in NOLA as beignets and po’ boys. Made from mixing coffee with roasted and ground chicory root, the bitter, tobacco-like flavor is a perfect foil to those sugary beignets; it also makes a great base for this creamy, bittersweet cocktail from local brunch spot Maypop. French pressed, iced chicory coffee blends with nutty añejo tequila, and gets topped with a saffron-infused whipped cream, resulting in a drink that is sure to wake you up in the morning.

The Essentials

Tequila
Chicory Coffee
Saffron-Infused Cream
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Ok we admit it: the plastic baby frozen in an ice block in this punch is definitely terrifying. But to be fair, so is biting down on the miniature baby in an actual King Cake. The Fat Tuesday treat is a circular, buttery, brioche-style cake, glazed with sweet icing and garnished with sparkly purple, yellow and green sugar. Our boozed up version includes baking spices, creamy condensed milk, lemonade, dark rum and rye whiskey. It’s very strong, very tasty, and if nothing else, a conversation piece for your Mardi Gras party.

The Essentials

Dark Rum
Rye Whiskey
Don’s Mardi Gras Mix

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