It may come as no surprise that New Orleans, the exuberant center of Mardi Gras, is also the birthplace of several classic cocktails. This year, toast to the fun-loving spirit of the city with a glass of classic milk punch (left), a sazerac (center), a sparkling gin fizz (right), a "Stormy Morning," or spicy Cajun bloody mary. As they say in New Orleans, "Laissez les bons temps rouler!"
RECIPE: RAMOS GIN FIZZ
This frothy, refreshing tall cocktail was rumored to be flamboyant Louisiana governor Huey Long's favorite drink.
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. superfine sugar
1½ oz. gin
1 oz. heavy cream
¼ tsp. orange flower water
1 egg white
1 oz. cold seltzer
1. Combine lime juice, lemon juice, and sugar in a cocktail shaker and stir to dissolve. Add gin, heavy cream, orange flower water, and egg white. Cover and shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
2. Add 2 cups cracked ice, cover, and shake vigorously for about 45 seconds more. Strain into a chilled rocks or highball glass and add seltzer.
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RECIPE: CAJUN BLOODY MARY
Cajun spices and pickled okra mix well with the flavors of a traditional bloody mary.
MAKES 1 COCKTAIL
4 oz. tomato juice
1 oz. beef broth
1 tsp. whole-grain mustard
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
⅛ tsp. garlic powder
Tabasco, to taste
Pickled okra juice, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1½ oz. vodka
Pickled okra, pickled green beans and caper berries, for garnish
1. In a mixing glass, combine the tomato juice, broth, mustard, lime juice, lemon juice, vinegar, and garlic powder and season with Tabasco, okra juice, and black pepper; refrigerate mixture until chilled.
2. To serve, fill a rocks glass with ice cubes, pour in vodka, and stir in tomato juice mixture. Garnish with okra, beans, and caper berries.
RELATED: Classic Cajun Recipes for Mardi Gras »
This anise-scented libation was devised at New Orleans' Sazerac Coffee House in the mid-1800s.
¼ cup sugar
6 tbsp. Sazerac rye whiskey
6 dashes Peychaud's bitters
4 dashes Angostura bitters
2 tsp. Herbsaint
2 thin strips lemon zest
1. Chill 2 rocks glasses or old-fashioned glasses in the freezer. Meanwhile, make a simple syrup by putting sugar and ¼ cup water into a small saucepan. Cover and boil over high heat, gently swirling pan over heat occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Transfer simple syrup to a small bowl and set aside to let cool completely.
2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Add rye, Peychaud's and Angostura bitters, and 2 tbsp. of the simple syrup (save remaining syrup for another use) and shake well.
3. Swirl 1 tsp. of the Herbsaint in each glass, coating insides with a thin film, and discard excess. Strain sazerac into glasses and garnish each with a strip of lemon zest.
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RECIPE: STORMY MORNING
As you pour the ingredients, the purple of the creme de violette floats around in the glass and settles in the bottom like a dark cloud - like a stormy morning.
MAKES ONE DRINK
1.5 ounces Rathman crème de violette
1.5 ounces St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1 ounce fresh lime juice
4 ounces Champagne
Lime wedges to garnish
Pour the crème de violette over ice in a highball glass. Add St. Germain and lime juice, and top with Champagne. Garnish with a wedge of lime.
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RECIPE: MILK PUNCH
A frothy, soothing eye-opener, this milk punch cocktail gets foamier the longer you shake it.
7 cups whole milk
1 cup half-and-half
1½ cups bourbon
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
1. Combine all ingredients in a large glass pitcher, then chill in freezer for about 1 hour, or until mixture turns slushy.
2. To serve, pour into chilled julep cups, and dust with freshly grated nutmeg.
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