Wine & Spirits: Mardi Gras Cocktail Recipes!

by WL Author

To sample a riff on the classic Sazerac, head to Central Michel Richard. Their Cocktail à la Louisiane also uses Bénédictine, which adds an herbal dash of complexity (The monk-created elixir, incidentally, is celebrating its 500th anniversary this year.) “When I think of New Orleans and cocktails I think of Absinthe and bitters,” explains General Manager Brian Zipin. “Everything here seems to work in perfect boozy harmony and balance.” He recommends the Cocktail à la Louisiane to those who also dig classic cocktails like the Rob Roy and the Manhattan.

Cocktail à la Louisiane at Central

Cocktail à la Louisiane at Central

Cocktail à la Louisiane
Courtesy of Brian Lipin, Central Michel Richard, Washington, DC

1 oz. Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth (Zipin uses Carpano)
1 oz. Benedictine
3 dashes of Absinthe
3 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters
Cherry, for garnish

Combine all ingredients except the cherry in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Stir well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

If you’re in the mood for something fruitier, consider a potent New Orleans punch. Anyone who’s ever spent time on Bourbon Street and paid a visit to Pat O’Brien’s has most likely held in their hand a hurricane glass filled with the signature cocktail of the same name. A deceptively potent mix of fruit juices and rums (and who can really be sure what else is in there,) one Hurricane leaves you dizzily happy. But more than one, especially coupled with the heat of a N’Awlins summer and a few other beverages sipped along the way, is not such a great idea. Years back, I learned that the hard way.

Acadiana’s all about the Big Easy, and their drinks menu offers more than a few New Orleans-inspired beverages, including one that PassionFood Hospitality Group Wine and Beverage Director Scott Clime explains is named for that most destructive of hurricanes: the Category Five. The quaffable concoction combines tropical and citrus fruit juices that are swirled around with light and dark rums. Luckily, the storm in this glass is more delicious than destructive. “The drink is a true Mardi Gras whirlwind!” says Clime.

Category Five cocktail at Acadiana

Category Five cocktail at Acadiana

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Category Five
Courtesy of Scott Clime, Acadiana, Washington, DC

1 ½ oz. El Dorado light rum
½ oz. Goslings dark rum
1 oz. Sweetened lime juice (made from ½ oz. simple syrup and ½ oz. lime juice)
1 oz. Grenadine
½ oz. Passion fruit puree
½ oz. Simple syrup
1 oz. Watermelon juice
2 oz. Orange juice
Orange slice and cherry, for garnish

Combine light rum and mixed juices in a Hurricane-style glass with ice, and float with the Gosling’s.  Garnish with orange slice and cherry.

Kelly Magyarics is a wine and spirits writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, DC area. She can be reached through her website,, or at

Related Articles