Cocktails Fit for a King – Mardi Gras Celebration Cocktails

Cocktails Fit for a King Featured image

As if you didn’t know what is really going on at Mardi Gras already, but it’s common knowledge that you enjoy more than a fair share of mixed drinks while Mardi Gras is going on. Just when you’re already for another one soon enough, there’s always another crazy concoction you haven’t tried…

A celebration of colors in every cup

different colors cocktails

Many people don’t understand the significance of Fat Tuesday, especially if you’re not from New Orleans or the deep south? But for everyone who understands Ash Wednesday, will know that there’s a lot of deep prayer for that hangover to be taken away magically. Actually, for most 1st time visitors who go to Mardi Gras for the celebration of Carnival, most of the noobs end up passed out on the floor.

Locals who enjoy Fat Tuesday drinks also are enjoying the responsibility of knowing their limits to some degree. That is when Fat Tuesday is the one day they can eat and drink everything they want until the fasting begins on Ash Wednesday. By this decree, it only makes sense that dedicated Catholics and most Christians will fast for 40 days afterward. This means that you can only eat one full meal and a couple of snacks per day!

Most modern Christians will also give up unhealthy habits such as smoking or eating very fatty foods, while Catholics will go the nine miles to be very restricted with their intake when fasting begins. So to be perfectly clear, this article isn’t about what you can or cannot do, so it’s more about the many types of Mardi Gras drinks that you’re likely to find being served up until Ash Wednesday.

Here are the most popular mixed drinks at Mardi Gras.

King Cake Festival Mardi Gras Mixed Drink Favorites

The Sazerac

Sazerac cocktail in glass

One of the oldest cocktails that date back to 1838 in a Creole apothecary, it was one of the very first in New Orleans that is now an official drink registered by the city! The inventor of this drink was a Mason by the name of Antoine Peychaud and first served this at his business located at 437 Royal Street. The original cocktail contained Sazerac-de-Forge et fils, which is a French Brandy, but had slowly changed over three decades.

It wasn’t until 1873 that a bartender by the name of Leon Lamothe in a New Orleans pub switched the brandy for Rye whiskey instead with a dash of absinthe. This gave the drink plenty of kick and flavor but was ultimately banned in 1912 since absinthe has been known to cause hallucinations. Instead, it was decided to add Peychaud’s special bitter to replace the absinthe with a touch of Herbsaint.

Luckily, now that many US states have lifted the absinthe ban in 2007 and you can now find the green fairy added to this iconic Mardi Gras Sazerac cocktail.

King Cake Shots

King Cake cocktail Shots

There’s nothing really groundbreaking about shooters since these are mixed shots that often have different alcohol and liquor added to create a layered effect. Mixing alcohol also has another interesting effect likewise which is why you need to be careful when underestimating the impact these can have in a short amount of time. There are many variations of the King Cake shots but commonly uses Fireball whiskey and RumChata liquor.

Take an ordinary tall shot glass and line the rim with vanilla or almond frosting and dip it into colored sanding sugar. The best colors are obviously going to be Royal, so be sure to have purple, green, and yellow on hand. Then combine equal parts of rum and liquor into the shot glass and serve. This drink can pack a punch if you aren’t used to whiskey but the creamy liquor does keep it mild enough for a smooth ride while you tip these shooters down.

If you’re looking for some wine recommendations to pair something with your traditional New Orleans King Cake, check out our write-up on the topic here.

Mint Julep

Mint Julep cocktail in glass

This isn’t going to be the same Mint Julep you find at the Disney parks by a long shot. In fact, it’s been a favorite to those who enjoyed the Kentucky Derby long before 1875 but is a welcome cocktail in New Orleans due to its upper-class style. To get just the right flavors here you’ll need a couple fresh mint leaves, a dash of water, and some sugar ground up at the bottom of a cocktail glass.

After this, it’s all a matter of adding crushed ice and slowly adding a shot or two of bourbon. The real secret is stirring it nice and slow to get all these flavors to engage, but not combine completely. As the ice melts, you get an equal refreshment of melted water as the bourbon slowly melts it away. The perfect Mint Julep at Mardi Gras is always a big hit.

Zombie Cocktail

Zombie Cocktail in glass

Some traditions are hard to forget when someone mentions they put the Hoodoo on you. Drinking a zombie cocktail might have similar effects on you if you aren’t keeping your Mojo bag close at your side, you might get more than you asked for while drinking the potent mixture. And though the Zombie was invented by Donn Beach in 1934, no two cocktails are often the same. This is because Donn liked to protect his Tiki recipe.

If you aren’t ready to consume 6 different types of alcohol in a tall glass, some might say one cup is all you need. But for all the reveling of Mardi Gras, you might see more than a couple of these to start walking around like a zombie yourself. We’ve managed to find one of the original recipes for a great Mardi Gras Zombie that will surely wake the dead!

The Hurricane

Hurricane cocktail in glass

According to those who frequented Pat O’Brien’s bar in the French Quarter around the Second World War, you could find a strong drink when whiskey wasn’t so easy to find. This concoction uses two different types of light and dark rum mixed with the power of high sugar juices with lime and grenadine. And though it’s topped off with a slice of orange or a plain cherry, you’re in for a rip-roaring good time soon enough.

New Orleans is known to be a hotbed for hurricanes that sweep through the city from time to time, but this hurricane cocktail might leave you devastated if you’ve had too many. If you want something that’s a bit on the lighter side, try a daiquiri instead.


Daiquiri cocktail in glass

Long before Cuba became a cesspool of Marxism, it was quite a lovely place before it went downhill in 1959. As far back as 1898, a group of Americans began to explore the potential of iron-ore in the small town of Daiquiri. It was in the Sierra Madre Mountains that the leader of the mining project Stockton Cox is credited for creating the first Daiquiri cocktail. Different stories are often told but it always includes Bacardi rum.

Since this recipe has been modified to include everything besides lime, sugar, water, and ice, there is no limit to the flavors that you can create. The original Daiquiri cocktail is popular at any Mardi Gras party.

Drunk Grasshopper

Drunk Grasshopper cocktail in glass

If you want a real Mardi Gras classic that’s been a favorite of New Orleans locals since 1919, this green and fuzzy cocktail is always considered classic. It’s one of the few drinks that newbies will try if they’re not so savvy about having a cocktail for the first time. Your typical grasshopper includes equal amounts of green crème de menthe, white crème de cacao, and light creamer, shaken together in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, strained, and served.

In some recipe versions, they use real ice cream instead of light cream to get a thicker and milkshake-like drink. Because it’s so sweet, you don’t taste the alcohol which can be deceiving if you aren’t being careful. Just like a Long Island Iced tea, before you realize it has no tea in it, you’re ready to crawl home on your hands and knees!

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