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mardi gras!

It’s Fat Tuesday and time to infuse your cocktail hour with some classic New Orleans flavor.

Recently, the Sazerac was named the official cocktail of NOLA, and for good reason–it’s like jazz in a glass!

It’s a whisky-based libation, warm and sultry, perfect when served chilled, “up” in a cocktail glass with a twist of lemon.

Here are two recipes–the first is for the classic Sazerac. The second is my twist–a Sparkling Sazerac, which pairs champagne with a whisper of whisky for a festive effect!

Below the recipes, I’ve included suggestions for some great music to add to your Mardi Gras playlist.

Classic Sazerac
makes 4 cocktails

2 teaspoons simple syrup or superfine sugar
4 drops Peychaud’s Bitters (order this online–it’s from New Orleans)
4 drops Pernod or Absinthe
8 ounces bourbon or rye whisky
4 lemon twists for garnish

In a cocktail mixing glass, combine the syrup, bitters, and Pernod. Add a few ice cubes then pour in the whisky (or bourbon) and stir. Strain into a small cocktail or old fashioned glass. Rub the rim of the glass with the lemon twist and then garnish the drink with the twist.

Sparkling Sazerac
Makes 8 cocktails

This is a lighter, bubbly version of the Sazerac, great for an aperitif or brunch.

1 Recipe of Classic Sazerac (see above), but leave off the lemon
2 Tablespoons orange juice
8 orange twists for garnish
Gold decorator’s sugar for garnish
1 750 ml bottle Champagne or sparkling wine

Make the above recipe for the Classic Sazerac, but leave off the lemon (we’ll use orange instead).
Chill the mixture in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Rim the edge of 8 champagne flutes or coupes with the orange juice and dip each glass rim in the gold decorator sugar to create a “gold” edge.

Pour 1/8th of the Classic Sazerac mixture into each glass, then top off with Champagne and serve immediately.

MUSIC FOR YOUR MARDI GRAS CELEBRATION
Check out your favorite online music site to download MP3s of great Jazz and Zydeco music. Here are some of my picks for your party!

Buckwheat Zydeco, “Waitin’ for My Ya Ya”
Clifton Chenier, “I’m Here!”
“Music of New Orleans Vol. 1” (available on iTunes)–this is a great compilation album of lots of great tunes to get your party started!

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