Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday in French, starts on or right after Kings Day and right before Ash Wednesday and represents the last chance to feast before the fasting that occurs during the many weeks of Lent. But for many people, especially those in New Orleans, this time of year, also referred to as Carnival Season, is an excuse to PAR-TAY! The crazy, naked, boozy, bedazzled, gold, purple & green encrusted, bead & boob covered event that we know as Mardi Gras, arrived in the states in the late 1600s care of a couple of French Catholic brothers sent by King Louis XIV to defend the territory now known as Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. In 1703, fifteen years before New Orleans was even founded, early French settlers of Mobile, Alabama – the first capital of French Louisiana, organized the very first Mardi Gras celebration. And the rest is histoire!
The very sweet, fruity Hurricane cocktail is probably the drink most associated with Mardi Gras. But the classic Sazerac is THE official cocktail of New Orleans and one of my all-time favorites. So, if you are Carnival-ing it up next week, this is the cocktail you should be mixing up. It’s also one that you can make a large batch of and have on hand if you are entertaining.
I’ve covered the Sazerac once before on this blog, using a coffee syrup and Van Brunt American Whiskey. I’ve included here a more traditional recipe. For the rinse of absinthe, you can splash a little and pour it out, but make sure to coat the inside of the glass for the full flavor before discarding the liquid. Or you can leave it in for a more intense flavor. You can also use an atomizer to just lightly mist the inside of the glass to really ensure that you don’t overdo it! In any case, Let the Good Times Roll!