MENU: Big Easy Cocktail Party

Brighten up any night by hosting a New Orleans-style cocktail party, complete with classic cocktails, spicy small bites, Oysters Rockefeller, and some show-stopping barbecue shrimp.


  1. For sweet non-alcoholic alternatives to the cocktails, prepare some mulled apple cider or fruit punch.

  2. Prepare the cocktails in large batches and serve them from pitchers so you don't have to play bartender mixing individual drinks all night.

  3. For authentic New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp, make sure to use fresh, head-on shrimp.

  4. Set the mood for the night with our playlist on Spotify »

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Anna Stockwell RECIPE: Crab Maison
A popular appetizer at Galatoire's restaurant in New Orleans, this light and satisfying salad is a great lunch on Mardi Gras with crusty French bread.


½ cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp. high quality olive oil
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. Creole or Dijon mustard
1 tsp. small capers, rinsed, drained, and finely chopped
½ tsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
½ tsp. kosher salt
⅛ tsp. freshly ground white pepper
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 lb. jumbo lump crab meat
12 large leaves butter lettuce
4 slices tomato, halved

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1. Whisk together mayonnaise, oil, vinegar, mustard, capers, parsley, salt, pepper, and scallions; add crab meat and fold gently to combine. Place 3 leaves lettuce each on 4 salad plates. Divide crab mixture evenly among plates and garnish with two half slices tomato.

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Todd Coleman RECIPE: Classic Oyster's Rockefeller
Oysters Rockefeller were created in New Orleans, at the legendary Antoine's. The restaurant refuses to give a recipe, but we do know that neither bacon nor spinach is involved. Instead, the oysters are topped with a roux full of herbs and vegetables, then combined with bread crumbs and broiled until the bivalves are tender and a delicate crust forms.


Rock salt, as needed
12 bluepoint oysters, chilled
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 tbsp. flour
¼ tsp. cayenne
6 scallions, minced
2 ribs celery, minced
2 sprigs tarragon, stemmed and minced
1 bunch parsley, stemmed and minced, plus sprigs to garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
3 tbsp. fresh bread crumbs

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1. Fill 2 ovenproof baking dishes halfway with rock salt. Shuck oysters over a bowl to catch their liquor (you should have about ½ cup), discarding flat top shells. Loosen oysters from bottom shells with a knife. Nestle 6 shucked oysters in their shells into each bed of rock salt; chill.

2. Melt butter in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; cook until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add oyster liquor; cook until thickened to a paste, about 2 minutes. Stir in cayenne, scallions, celery, tarragon, parsley, and salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until soft, about 1 hour. Transfer to a food processor, add bread crumbs, and process into a smooth paste, about 2 minutes.

3. Heat broiler to high. Place paste in a pastry bag fitted with a ½" fluted tip. Pipe paste completely over oysters. Broil until paste begins to brown and oysters are just cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Garnish each dish with parsley sprigs, if you like.

Penny De Los Santos RECIPE: Gin Fizz
A mix of orange flower water and gin gives this New Orleans cocktail a floral character and a hint of juniper.

2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. superfine sugar
1 ½ oz. gin
1 oz. heavy cream
¼ tsp. orange flower water
1 egg white
1 oz. cold selzer

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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.