10 Festive Mardi Gras Cocktails Inspired by New Orleans
January 10, 2023 by Anna-Bet Stemmet
When spring breezes start to play in the leaves of the live oaks and magnolias that line the lively streets of New Orleans, it’s time to whip up Mardi Gras cocktails and let the festivities begin! If you can’t make it to southern Louisiana to join the celebrations in person, take your pick from our list of must-try Mardi Gras cocktail recipes to set the scene for a rollicking fais do-do, cher.
1. Sazerac cocktail
This iconic Mardi Gras cocktail also happens to be one of the first cocktails ever invented! Essentially a celebration of rye whiskey, the Sazerac uses the sweetness of sugar and the complex notes of the bitters to build the cocktail and show off the character of the rye, so it’s essential to choose a good one. We love Wild Turkey Rye with its vanilla and spice notes, spicy citrus aroma, and long, supple finish.
Learn more: Who Invented the Cocktail? Asked & Answered
2. French 75 cocktail
If you’re on the lookout for cocktails for Mardi Gras that pack a bit of a punch, may we please introduce you to the iconic French 75? Named for a field gun used in WWII, this pretty cocktail has a fair amount of kick, but goes down a treat. It combines Bulldog Gin, Prosecco, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup to create a tasty Prohibition-era drink that never seems to go out of style.
3. Hurricane cocktail
A true holiday resort classic, the Hurricane cocktail features a duo of iconic rums (we love using Wray & Nephew and Appleton Estate), mixed with fresh orange and passion fruit juice, a dash of simple syrup and grenadine, and a good squeeze of lime to bring it all together! Make sure you honour the name and pour it in a hurricane glass for all the island vibes.
4. Clarified Milk Punch cocktail
Clarified Milk Punch is a drink that requires a fair amount of prep – it includes 13 ingredients and takes three days to make! However, the result is a sweet, spicy, velvety-smooth drink that is 100% worth the effort. Plus, it has a super cool backstory. According to drink-related folklore, the recipe for Clarified Milk Punch was invented by a 17th-century female spy!
5. Bloody Mary cocktail
The Bloody Mary recipe will always remain a classic. Fair enough, the ingredients list for this Mardi Gras-inspired cocktail is pretty long – it contains SKYY vodka, tomato juice, horseradish, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pickle juice, salt, pepper, and paprika (optional)— but its assembly isn’t too finicky. You simply shake it up with ice (twice if you’re feeling fancy) and strain it into a glass. Garnish to the hilt, and serve!
6. Ramos Gin Fizz cocktail
The extra-creamy cousin of the classic Gin Fizz, the Ramos Gin Fizz calls for 60ml gin, 15ml lemon juice, 15ml lime juice, 15ml sugar syrup, a few dashes of orange flower water, 30ml cream, 1 egg white and 60ml soda water. Add all the ingredients, apart from the club soda, to a cocktail shaker and dry shake for a full minute without ice. Then add ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a serving glass (we like a Collins) and top with soda water.
7. Strawberry Daiquiri cocktail
It’s officially happy hour with the sweet and refreshing Strawberry Daiquiri in the mix. Make it with fresh or frozen strawberries and with just enough citrus juice to kick the flavour up a notch. Remember that your Daiquiri is only as good as the rum you choose, so really invest in a high-quality spirit, like a bottle of Wray & Nephew. Double or triple the ingredients to make a batch ahead and you will never have to buy pre-mixed Daiquiri again!
8. Vieux Carré cocktail
As far as classic Mardi Gras cocktails go, you cannot go wrong with a Vieux Carré cocktail. The Manhattan-inspired drink takes its name from the French term for the French Quarter, which is the oldest part of New Orleans.
This official IBA cocktail calls for 20ml rye whiskey, 20ml cognac, 20ml Cinzano Vermouth Rosso, a few dashes of bitters, and 15ml herbal liqueur. This is all combined in a mixing glass with ice, stirred well, strained into a rocks glass with fresh ice and garnished with a cherry or a lemon twist.
9. Bourbon Hot Toddy cocktail
Made with Wild Turkey bourbon, lemon, sugar, spices, and boiling water, this classic Hot Toddy can be customised with your favourite alcohol and fruit flavours. It not only pays tribute to New Orleans’ most famous party centre, Bourbon Street, it’s also the perfect nightcap to serve when you have friends over for a Mardi Gras celebration.
10. Grasshopper cocktail
Mardi Gras themed cocktails should have a bit of nostalgic flair, and the Grasshopper cocktail certainly scratches this itch. Essentially a creamy, boozy choc-mint milkshake, it is wonderfully easy to make, with just three ingredients: crème de menthe, crème de cacao, and heavy cream. Ultra-indulgent and ever so dreamy.