Mardi Gras began as a holiday for the Catholics of France. Mardi Gras, which literally means "Fat Tuesday," was a day of excess for the faithful who were about to enter the fast known as Lent. Mardi Gras came to the New World by way of the Caribbean. In later years, southerners created many tropical-inspired fruit drinks to commemorate the special party.
The most popular drink for Mardi Gras is the Hurricane, created by New Orleans bar owner Pat O' Brien. During World War II there was very little whiskey available, so bar owners substituted whiskey for plentiful light and dark rums. After much experimentation, O'Brien found the ingredients his customers loved. He mixed dark rum, lemon juice and passion fruit juice, he added an orange slice and a cherry, and he served the concoction in a special glass. It was a huge hit in the 1940s and remains one today.
Mardi Gras Mojitos
Mojitos are light rum drinks that originated in Cuba early in the 20th century. While there is some argument as to which bartender created this recipe, it is now a Mardi Gras favorite. Like a regular Mojito, this clear drink is a combination of syrup, rum, mint and carbonated water. The Mardi Gras version of this drink is served with champagne as the carbonating factor. Mardi Gras Mojitos are served in tall, slender glasses. Many bars and restaurants carry commemorative glasses adorned with Mardi Gras masks or moon pies.
Another popular but potent drink is the Alabama Slammer. It's orange in color and can be served as a cocktail or a shooter. The components of an Alabama Slammer are Southern Comfort, amaretto, sloe gin, orange juice and sweet and sour mix. The ingredients are placed in a shaker and strained with ice and then topped off with an orange slice or cherry.
A Creole Cocktail is a spicy take on the traditional Bloody Mary. This drink is made of two parts spicy V8 juice and one part vodka poured over ice in a martini glass. It can be garnished with traditional skewered olives on decorative toothpicks or by adding pickled okra. Some people add a dash of Tony Cachere's Cajun seasoning for a very spicy drink.