While celebrations occur around the world, here in the States it's impossible to say the words “Mardi Gras” and not immediately think of New Orleans. The beads, the masks, the city decked out in all its purple, green and gold glory. And lots and lots of people flooding the streets and enjoying delicious food and drinks.
Fat Tuesday is the day before Lent and is historically a day of excess—excess food and fun with friends— before locking things down in the lead up to Easter. Even if you don’t abide by the rules of Lent, who could resist a day dedicated to good old-fashioned indulgence?
Not everyone can manage a trip to NOLA to celebrate, but that’s okay. We’ve gathered up a few beer and cocktail ideas that will make your Mardi Gras festive no matter where you are.
Let’s start with beer. You won’t go wrong if you choose a beer from Abita Brewing Company. This brewery is located about thirty miles north of New Orleans and has been pleasing beer lovers both near and far since 1986. Southern Living named it Louisiana’s best brewery last year, and in addition to its year-round offerings, it brews a special Mardi Gras bock. Use their website’s beer locator to see where you can purchase in your area.
If you’re planning on cooking up a Cajun feast, you’ll want a plan for pairing the right beer with these flavorful dishes. Craftbeer.com put together a handy guide for all your creole favorites. They have suggestions for doppelbocks to try with spicy gumbo, sour beers to compliment muffuletta sandwiches and brown ales to go with those red beans and rice. For those with a sweet tooth, they even included some vanilla beers to wash down bananas foster.
Mardi Gras is also the perfect time to serve up some classic New Orleans cocktails. The Hurricane may be the most famous—and the easiest to chug down very, very quickly, so be careful! The drink itself is good, but all the more fun when served in the traditional Hurricane glass. Sazarecs, Mint Juleps and Grasshoppers should be on the list of cocktails to consider. And, may we recommend experimenting with the Ramos Fizz. It’s a tasty drink, but never fails to make the list of “cocktails bartenders hate you for ordering” due to its labor-intensive preparation. So, give it a try on your own time before deciding if it’s worth drawing the ire of your local bartender.
If you’re not keen to spend the evening mixing up individual cocktails, we recommend making a batch of another New Orleans favorite, the Pimms Cup, in your uKeg to make refills fast and easy all night long.