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Shake Your Beads: 3 Mardi Gras Cocktails to Sip

Laissez les bons temps rouler! It's time to break out the beads, feather boas, and King Cake because Mardi Gras is here! This is the one day a year when it's socially acceptable to wear your wildest outfit and drink until you can't feel your face.

First things first, let's talk about the most important part of Mardi Gras: the food. Get ready to indulge in all the deep-fried goodness that New Orleans has to offer. Start your day off with a delicious plate of beignets and a strong cup of chicory coffee. For lunch, head to your local po' boy shop and order the biggest sandwich they have. And for dinner? Well, that's where the King Cake comes in.

If you're not familiar with King Cake, it's a traditional Mardi Gras dessert that's essentially a giant cinnamon roll shaped like a crown. But the real fun comes from the fact that there's a tiny plastic baby hidden inside. Whoever finds the baby is considered the "King" or "Queen" of the party and has to bring the next King Cake.

Now, let's talk about the drinks. Mardi Gras is all about the booze, and there's no shortage of it. If you're feeling fancy, sip on a Sazerac or a Hurricane. But if you're really looking to party, grab a big ol' plastic cup and fill it with a strong, fruity cocktail like a Hand Grenade or a Shark Attack.

Of course, we can't forget about the parades. Mardi Gras parades are a spectacle to behold, with elaborate floats, marching bands, and of course, tons of throws. If you're lucky, you might even catch a coveted Zulu coconut.

Check out these cocktails!

The Sazerac:

The Sazerac Cocktail - Photo by Nicole Marriner
The Sazerac Cocktail


Absinthe, to rinse

1 sugar cube

1/2 tsp. cold water

3 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters

2 dashes of Angostura bitters

1 1/4 oz. Rye whiskey

1 1/4 oz. Cognac

Garnish: lemon peel

Glass: rocks or cocktail glass


1. Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe, discarding any excess, and set aside.

2. In a mixing glass, muddle the sugar cube, water, and bitters.

3. Add the rye and cognac, fill the mixing glass with ice, and stir until well-chilled.

4. Strain into the prepared glass. Twist the lemon peel over the drink’s surface to express the peel’s oils, then garnish with the peel.


The Hurricane

Hurricane Cocktail
Hurricane Cocktail


2 ounces light rum

2 ounces dark rum

1-ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

1 ounce orange juice, freshly squeezed

1/2 ounce passion fruit puree

1/2 ounce simple syrup

1 teaspoon grenadine

Garnish: orange half-wheel

Garnish: preserved cherry

Garnish: lemon peel

Glass: Hurricane glass


  1. Add the light and dark rums, lime and orange juices, passion fruit puree, simple syrup, and grenadine into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into a large Hurricane glass over fresh ice.

  3. Garnish with an orange half-wheel and a preserved cherry.


Vieux Carré

Vieux Carré cocktail
Vieux Carré cocktail


3/4 ounce Rye whiskey

3/4 ounce Cognac

3/4 ounce Sweet vermouth

2 teaspoons Benedictine liqueur

4 dashes Dale DeGroff’s Pimento aromatic bitters

Garnish: Maraschino cherry or lemon twist

Glass: Rocks or cocktail glass


  1. Add the rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, and bitters into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice or cocktail glass.

  3. Garnish with a cherry, a lemon twist, or both.


But let's be real, the best part of Mardi Gras is the people-watching. Where else can you see a group of grown men dressed up as giant babies or a woman wearing a wedding dress made entirely out of beer cans? Embrace the weirdness and let your freak flag fly.

Mardi Gras is the ultimate celebration of excess and debauchery. So, put on your brightest colors, grab a drink, and let the good times roll! Just make sure you have a plan for getting home safely because we don't want anyone ruining the fun with a DUI.

Happy Mardi Gras!


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