Mardi Gras After Dinner Drinks
New Orleans has a culture and character all its own and this can be seen in its food as well as its beverages, including Mardi Gras after dinner drinks.
- No celebration in New Orleans would be complete without a Hurricane, the drink made famous at Pat O'Brien's in the French Quarter. This sweet, fruity drink was developed during World War II when supplies of whiskey were running low and in order to purchase a single case of whiskey, the salesmen would force bar owners to purchase up to 50 cases of rum, which was still plentiful. Pat O'Brien's developed this drink to help move the rum to its' customer. The Hurricane developed its name not form the storm, but rather because the signature glasses this drink is served in are shaped like "hurricane" lamps. Be careful though, this sweet drink packs a punch and each one has at least 4 ounces of rum, in addition to the line juice and passion fruit syrup. A mix from Pat O'Brien's is also available.
Another popular New Orleans after dinner drink is the Brandy Milk Punch, originally served for brunch, but now popular for after dinner as well. The drink is sweet, but not overly so, and is made of 1 1/2 ounces of brandy, 1 ounce of simple syrup, 1/2 spoon of vanilla extract, two ounces of half and half, and served with a grating of fresh nutmeg over the top.
- A New Orleans tradition is the Sazerac, likely the first cocktail invented in America, developed in the Big Easy in the 1830s. The recipe for this drink varies slightly from bar to bar. The original was made with cognac, the brand Sazerac-de-Forge et Filis likely being the basis for its name. The most often used recipe today includes 1 cube of sugar, 1 1/2 ounces of rye whiskey, 1/4 ounce of Herbsaint, 3 dashes of Peychaud's bitters and a lemon peel. The Herbsaint is an anise flavored liquor substituted for the original Absinthe after its importation was banned. However, in 2007 Absinthe again became legal in the U.S. and many bartenders are switching back to it.
- The Mint Julep is a popular after dinner throughout the South and its roots in New Orleans are deep. The origin of the Mint Julep aren't known, but it was referred to in literature as far back as 1830. The predominant flavors in Juleps are bourbon and mint, and the sweet edge is given by the granulated sugar used to "muddle" or crush the mint leaves before the bourbon is added. The recipe for this includes 3 ounces of bourbon, 5 sprigs of mint leaves, and granulated sugar, to taste.
Mardi Gras is a time to not only enjoy the party atmosphere of New Orleans, but also to indulge in its history, and these after dinner Mardi Gras drinks will help in that goal.