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Cocktails for Mardi Gras

Laissez les bon temps rouler

By Wes Marshall, Fri., March 4, 2011

Here are a couple of adult libations that have become traditional party items for (over)consumption during the time building up to Fat Tuesday and the self-denial of Lent. We've made the supreme sacrifice of trying several recipes for each drink in the hunt for cocktail perfection and offer our findings in hopes that you may have all the enjoyment with none of the toil. We finally found the best recipes at their adopted home at the Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt hotel in New Orleans. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Sazerac

This is the definitive cocktail for folks who like the taste of whiskey and plenty of power in their drinks.

1 cube sugar
1½ ounces rye whiskey
¼ ounce Herbsaint
3 dashes Peychaud's bitters
Lemon peel for garnish

Pack an old-fashioned glass with ice. In a second old-fashioned glass, place the sugar cube and add the Peychaud's bitters to it, then crush the sugar cube. Add the rye whiskey to the glass containing the bitters and sugar. Empty the ice from the first glass and coat the glass with the Herbsaint, then discard the remaining Herbsaint. (Note: Herbsaint was used as a substitute for absinthe during the time it was illegal. Since it is now available, I recommend going back to the original.) Empty the whiskey/bitters/sugar mixture from the second glass into the first glass and garnish with lemon peel.

Ramos Gin Fizz

The favorite cocktail of former Sen. Huey Pierce Long, who was so enamored of its complexities and spectacularly silky mouthfeel that, when he was served an inferior version in New York City, the Kingfish (as Long was known) called his Louisiana office and had them fly the bartender from the Roosevelt hotel up to New York to teach the big city boys how to do it correctly. Far be it from us to make a single change to the senator's favorite recipe.

2 ounces gin
1 ounce heavy cream
1 egg white
½ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
3 drops orange flower water (a vitally important ingredient)
Club soda

Shake with cracked ice for at least a minute, and strain into a chilled rocks glass. Top with just a bit of club soda.

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