Monday, February 12, 2007

Mardi Gras Cocktails

Focus: New Orleans (Carnavale cocktails coming...!)

Carolyn Fox invited me to be a guest on her radio show on KHZ radio, to talk about Mardi Gras cocktails. We are recording it today, and it will run later this week. I am very excited about this topic, as there are so many fun cocktails from New Orleans and a rich history behind them. It is even rumored that the term "cocktail" was coined in New Orleans, itself.

The Original New Orleans Cocktail
Legend has it that in 1838, French Quarter resident, and pharmacist, Amadee Peychaud played around with brandy, bitters and an egg cup (called a coquetier in French). Nearly 2 centuries later, this concoction is still popular in the Big Easy and known as The Sazerac:

2 oz Straight Rye Whiskey (or Bourbon)
Dashes of bitters
1/4 oz Pernod (licorice and herbs)
1 tbsp Simple Syrup (or 1 sugar cube)

Shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Feeling Fizzy
Another popular drink from NOLA was invented in the 1880’s by Henry C. Ramos, in his bar at Meyer's Restaurant. It is rumored that Louisiana governor at that time, Huey P. Long, took hs favorite New Orleans bartender with him to New York so he could enjoy a well-made Ramos Gin Fizz whenever he pleased!

2 oz. gin
3 drops orange flower water
1 egg white
1 tsp. bar sugar
1 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. lime juice
1 oz.cream
Soda water

Shake very vigorously for at least one minute. Strain into a tall thin glass, or a very large old fashioned glass, and top with some soda water. Stir.

The secret of its flavor and texture is orange flower water and egg whites. If you don’t find orange flower water in your favorite liquor store, try a Middle-Eastern markets.

Hot Stuff
The French word for “burn” is bruler. Brulot refers to burned with spices or sugar. This Café Brulot recipe is attributed to Dominique Youx, top lieutenant to the pirate, Jean Lafitte.

1 lemon
1 orange
6 whole cloves
2 small cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 ounces triple sec
1 ounce brandy
1 1/2 cups black coffee

A brulot bowl is any silver or copper bowl that can be heated with sterno or candle flames from the bottom. Over your brulot bowl, peel lemon, then orange, allowing any juice to go into the bowl. Add cloves, cinnamon stick, triple sec and brandy. Bring the liquid to a slight simmer, stirring constantly. Ignite the mixture inside the bowl with a long match. Slowly add hot coffee, pouring around the edges of the bowl so that the sizzling sound may be heard. Continue stirring until flame dies out. Ladel into cups.

Hold On To Your Hats - It's A Hurricane!
2 million people come to New Orleans, every year. The city's population is about a million inhabitants and it has more than 3000 bars. Alcohol laws are, shall we say, “fluid” and booze flows every day of the week, at any hour of the day. “To-go” cups are even permitted, so revelers can sip a cocktails while strolling down the street. I've walked right up to a sidewalk vendor and bought this New Orleans classic, myself! The Hurricane, said to have been invented in the 1940’s at Pat O'Briens bar in the French Quarter, and named after the shape of a hurricane lamp.

2 oz light rum
2 oz dark rum
2 oz passion fruit juice
1 oz orange juice
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1 tbsp simple syrup
1 tbsp grenadine

Shake (or blend) all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a hurricane glass. Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice. (Photo courtesy of Acadiana.)

In the mood for a beer?
Try Abita Beer (also called the Mardi Gras beer) A local brew, it is made in Abita Springs, Louisiana

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