5@5 - Lu Brow
February 22nd, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

There's no place like our concrete jungle home, but we're not ready to bid adieu to our newfound love, New Orleans, just yet - especially with Mardi Gras right around the corner.

Lu Brow is a cocktail book author and bar chef at the Swiz­zle Stick Bar. She puts the bourbon in Bourbon Street - and for that, we are forever indebted.

Five Cocktails I Enjoy Creating and CONSUMING During Mardi Gras: Lu Brow

So I know what you are thinking: Good grief, in New Orleans we all drink in the morning, the afternoon, the evening and we consume heavy cream, sugar, eggs, pork, the whole nine yards. We do. I do. But not on a regular basis. This is Mardi Gras, the most fantastic time of the year in New Orleans. Lent is just around the corner and I'll get back on my diet, start cutting out things that are white, and not eat bacon again for a long time.

Oh, shoot. I just remembered. The Saint Paddy's day parade is exactly one week after the beginning of Lent. Moderation is not my strong point and one of the reasons I live in New Orleans.

1.  First thought is a Sazerac
"Why?  I guess here in New Orleans the question would be 'why not?' It's the official cocktail of New Orleans. It's the perfect cocktail to kick off Mardi Gras season and I always choose to consume it on the evening of our Krewe du Vieux parade held in the French Quarter.

The parade attracts mostly locals who will understand the political picking and inside jokes of Louisiana politics.  The parade is not for children or the faint of heart.  Or for those easily offended.  If you do not fit in any of those categories plan on having the time of your life!"

2.  Brandy Milk Punch
"It's a beautiful thing to live in a city that is known for morning cocktails. Yes, you heard me right!  Morning cocktails my friends. The kind you have when getting dressed to go to a parade.  A mixture of WHOLE milk, vanilla, nutmeg, sugar and brandy.

I've always said it would be a better world if we had Brandy Milk Punch shops like we do coffee shops.  Now, this is not consumed to replace a proper breakfast. One must find something to eat for nutrition.  Like applewood smoked bacon and fried eggs. Combine that with a BMP and you've got a breakfast fit for kings. Or queens. After all, we do live in New Orleans."

3. Champagne Cocktail
I like to have this if I'm going to an evening parade.  A little toast in the afternoon when it's gathering time for the celebration. Nothing beats a little champagne to toast Mardi Gras and the greatest city in the world.  I like mine with a  bit of liqueur to liven it up.

This year I'll be serving Jill's cocktail which is named after Jill DeGroff who is a lovely woman and talented artist.   It's made with crème de violette, St. Germain, lemon and champagne.  It turns out a beautiful violet color which is perfect for Mardi Gras.  See how easy this is?"

4.  French Market Coffee Cocktail
"This can be classified as a morning cocktail but certainly fits for the early evening if you plan on having a good time all night.  And perhaps into the next morning.  It's a cocktail that is made of rum, cold chicory coffee, orange bitters, a bit of vanilla simple syrup and whipped cream. I top it with an espresso bean for a little crunch."

5. Mardi Gras Punch
"Okay, this is a fun punch.  Not a serious cocktail punch of the likes of the incredibly talented David Wondrich. This, my little revelers, is a work of art that requires a little creativity.  This punch was born while standing in my kitchen wondering what the you know what I was going to make for my guests to pack for the parade.

I had gotten home late and had guests literally walking in the door when I arrived.  I took one look at my liquor cabinet and thought,  'Okay, here goes.' It has a little vodka (I know, but come on we all drink it), a little gin, more than a little rum, a little Cointreau, a little cherry brandy, a little lime and lemon, a good shake of bitters and whole lotta love. It's best consumed in a plastic cup when taking a cab or walking to the parade."

What's your favorite Mardi Gras tipple? Laissez les bons temps rouler in the comments below. (And, be sure to come back tomorrow for a "hair of the dog" with Lu, in which she advises what NOT to do during the bead-throwing festivities.)

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Cocktail Recipes • Cuisines • Events • Mardi Gras • New Orleans • New Orleans • Sip • Spirits • Think • Travel

soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. FL Native

    Breakfast at Camellia Grill and some cold ones at Cooter Brown's...then you're good to go! Stayed at Soniat House in Dec....wow, what a dream and believe me, there's more to NO than the qtr....

    March 8, 2011 at 10:05 am |
  2. Shawn M Adams

    So with Mardi Gras (literally Fat Tuesday in French or Shrove Tuesday in English tradition) only a day away and the Mardi Gras season hours from starting, I decided it would be a great idea to write a little bit about the season and the events, where it all comes from and what the meaning of the whole thing is.
    Read More: http://www.shawnmichaeladamsonline.com/2011/03/mardi-gras-carnival-fat-tuesday-shrove.html

    March 7, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  3. Kathleen

    As a native New Orleanian, and drinker of Hand Grenades, Skylab Fallout, Hurricanes, Pete Special's, Comikazi's (am I skhowing my age here???) and the like...I can tell you that the last one, Mardi Gras Punch is what natives call, "JUNGLE JUICE"...HA HA HA HA ....

    February 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  4. Adam

    Herbsaint is a form of Pastis, but is more floral. It was used in the Sazerac when Absinthe was outlawed in America. Absinthe was in the original formula for the sazerac, but herbsaint is used more often now in new orleans, and i prefer it to absinthe. if u have to in a pinch u can use pernod or ricard, but its just not the same. make sure that u add a generous amount of ice to your sugar/rye/bitters mixture and stir...at least 50 times to properly chill. NEVER SHAKE A SAZERAC!!! only stir. the combo of the ice, and stirring will produce the best effect. enjoy!

    February 24, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  5. vtxrider

    Won't be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras but I will be there for Jazzfest. Excellent suggestions for proper libations.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Sam Barnes

      Tipitina's, Pat O' Brians, Avenue Pub. Don't just stick around Bourbon, lots will be missed if you do. Try local beers as well. New Orleans has lots of local microbreweries springing up. Great stuff.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  6. jillmarie

    I had never heard of Sazerac drinks before, does anyone know what's in it?
    This was such a fun read! I'd love to try these cocktails!

    February 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Scott

      * 2 oz rye whiskey
      * 3 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
      * 1 sugar cube or 1 tsp simple syrup
      * Splash of Herbsaint

      Pack a rocks glass with ice and water to chill the glass. In a second glass, muddle sugar or syrup with bitters. Add rye. Stir to combine. Empty the ice from first glass. Pour Herbsaint into glass and swirl to coat the sides of glass. Discard any excess Herbsaint. Pour the rye/sugar/bitters mixture into coated glass. Twist a lemon peel over glass and rub the rim of the glass with peel. Place peel into cocktail.

      February 23, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
      • jillmarie

        Thanks, Scott! I've never heard of Herbsaint, either. I'll have to research this if I want to buy the ingredients to make it.

        February 23, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  7. Justin Bieber

    I like rum, even though I'm under age. It helps me get over my horrible music that I sing.

    February 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  8. NOLA79

    Bloody Mary and/or Champagne Brunch at The Columns; start your day off right.
    Then maybe off to Fat Harry's and drink some Abita.
    After a while, find your over to Popeye's on Magazine St. and bring your beer with you.
    Since you're on Magazine St., go over to St. Joe's, but stop at The Bulldog and The Balcony on your way there. More beer.
    For dinner, go back up Magazine and stop at Juan's Flying Burrito, or maybe stop at Parasol's or Magazine PoBoy Shop. I suggest a cab at this point.

    February 23, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  9. AleeD

    Where would you recommend I go to find an authentic recipe for a Hurricane?

    February 23, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • DenverYeti

      If you want what they actually serve on Bourbon Street, Red KoolAid and cheap 151. If you want "authentic" try topsecretrecipes.com and search {at O'Brien's or just google it, not really sure.

      February 24, 2011 at 4:55 am |
  10. sazerac

    Sazeracs are delicious (I love the ones at Mr. B's and of course the ones at the Sazarac Bar in the Roosevelt), but I think they're a bit strong for a Mardi Gras drink (maybe for a Mardi Gras party in the evening or something). I stick with ice cold Abita beer and/or frozen daquiris at the parades. And, yes, I'd say a Hurricane or Hand Grenade is for the drunken tourist who thinks the only place for Mardi Gras is Bourbon Street.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  11. Sam Meyer

    As my pal Chuck Taggart - himself a proud son of the Crescent City - notes, "Hurricanes are for tourists. Sazeracs are for natives." The Hurricane, or at least the Pat O'Brien's version of it - is too-sweet, inspid, and tastes like it's full of artificial flavors.

    New Orleans has a storied, thriving cocktail culture - *good* drinks like the Ramos Gin Fizz, the Sazerac, the Brandy Milk Punch, the Cafe Brulot, the Vieux Carre, Herbsaint, et cetera, et cetera. It isn't all pap like the Hurricane or the (copyrighted!) Hand Grenade.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • VoodooJazz

      I LOVE Chuck Taggart.....he's truly a pork-gorging, cocktail swilling, home-spun God. If you know him personally Sam, please tell him how admired and respected he is within the culinary community around here.

      February 23, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  12. rudejohn

    DenverYeti just got served.

    February 23, 2011 at 2:50 am |
  13. Adam

    and to correct myself..its pat o'briens...or pat O's for those of yall that are from here.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:56 am |
  14. Adam

    ugh denver yeti...guess what...the hurricane as we know it down here is for dumb, uneducated sappy tourists who think its a real cocktail. bourbon street is not the epicenter of cocktails in new orleans anymore. if you really knew anything about the city you would understand how we are trying and succeeding at pulling ourselves away from what is expected, marketed, and poorly executed. The cocktails she talks about are some of the most legitimate drinks we have to offer. not some rum concoction that has been watered down and bastardized for the yokels that walk into Pat O'brians. Just because the hurricane has come to define drinking on BOURBON street...and that street only, doesnt mean we here are destined to be associated with it. Lu is a respected bartender in the city and has been published, if you would take the time to think before you speak you would kno this. mardi gras happens around the entire city, not just bourbon street. open your eyes and find out for yourself before you criticize in a blanket manner. why dont you come down here in two weeks and ill show you a proper time without having to drink a red drink that makes you vomit because of all the sugar. facts on the ground? are you an expert on cocktail culture in new orleans? please i would like to hear your "facts". its people like you that perpetuate mediocrity and never demand better than what you have as hearsay, or what you read in a travel book. shameful

    February 23, 2011 at 1:53 am |
    • DenverYeti

      Wow didn't mean to offend, I apologize. I totally get that a Hurricane is KoolAid and 151 if you're lucky. BUT she didn't say this was her this was her top five NO drinks. She said it was THE top five Mardi Gras drinks, and I made it clear in my post that I didn't think she needed to list the Hurricane in the top five but only that she should have made mention of it. You said it was the drink of "Bourbon Street" well as much as I get it annoys locals (hey I'm from Denver ask me how I feel an Texas drivers in the mountains) Bourbon Street IS Mardi Gras for 90% of people who attend (most of whom I get are annoying tourists). Again, sorry for my tone I really didn't mean to offend – but I stand by the idea that no mention of the Hurricane in a "Mardi Gras" drink article was an omission. PS Although born and raised in Denver I've been to five Mardi Gras' and to NO seven times. (I had one Hurricane my first time, never again, its KoolAid and 151 and its nasty)

      February 24, 2011 at 4:51 am |
  15. DenverYeti

    To write a article about drinking at Mardi Gras and not mention the Hurricane shows you have never been on Bourbon Street or if you were you were drinking so much you didn't notice the official of Mardi Gras. CNN why would you let this women write this article? She clearly has no clue as to what she's talking about, my guess is she's never been to NO and wrote the article from a desk far far away. All it would have taken was a line to the affect "in additional to the traditional Hurricane" or "most people have heard of the Hurricane but" just a mention. Sorry to be so blunt but this is a silly article that has no connection to facts on the ground.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • Queen of Everything

      Yes, and with the name "DenverYeti" you just scream NOLA native.

      February 23, 2011 at 7:35 am |
      • DenverYeti

        Denver native born and raised. Benn to five Mardi Gras' and to NO seven times.

        February 24, 2011 at 4:32 am |
    • Jerv@DenverYeti

      "far far away." A place you need to be so we don't have to deal with your complete irrelevancy.

      February 23, 2011 at 7:45 am |
      • DenverYeti

        She made a top five list, I complained about what I see to be an omission; what irrelevant?

        February 24, 2011 at 4:34 am |
      • Jerv@DenverYeti

        Okay, perhaps I was a bit harsh. My opinion is no more relevant than yours when you get right down to it. So, keep in mind that this is what 5@5 is all about.

        "5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe."

        It's just her opinion and a light hearted venue.

        February 24, 2011 at 7:18 am |
    • VoodooJazz

      Lu Brow....never been to New Orleans? She's the mixologist at the Swizzle Stick you dumb mook! I don't know how much more "on the ground" you can be.

      As for the Hurricane, yes. It is a storied old cocktail from New Orleans...Pat O'Brien's to be precise, and was invented during prohibition times with masking the flavour of rum in mind. Although popular with tourists and even the odd local debutante, it most certainly is NOT the official cocktail of Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras has no "official" cocktail, although a stiff Brandy Milk Punch on Mardi Gras morning is a long standing tradition at many of the historic restaurants.

      ...the official toast to the end of the season at my house is a straight shot of Early Times followed by a chaser of fizzy water and two aspirins.

      February 23, 2011 at 10:27 am |
      • DenverYeti

        I'm happy to acknowledge that Mardi gras has no "official drink" and I used the word "official" loosely. I'm sure you'll acknowledge that no mention of the Hurricane was a serious omission in the story.

        February 24, 2011 at 4:38 am |
    • Sam Barnes

      I see your point, but their intent might have been to enlighten the rest of the nation and show them other Nawlins' drinks that aren't your everyday idea to get them to try something different.

      Really wish everyone would stop complaining that they didn't lop a bunch of unoriginal suggestions on a page. And if you want to try some great drinks NOT during mardi gras, come down in August during Tales of the Cocktail. Week long drinking fest.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  16. tintala

    Alcohol kills, yet cnn blatantly tells you how to get your freakn drink at a party???? WTF? I mean yeah alcohol is legal, but it shouldn't be. There are 50,000 cases of alcohol poisoning are reported each year in the United States, this does not include damage to liver, drinking and driving, the domestic violence and rape caused by alcohol. go ahead cnn promote drinking alcohol.... I say legalize cannabis.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:13 am |
    • 23TN

      Or why not just have them both legal? Saying "alcohol kills" is the same as saying "guns kill".

      February 23, 2011 at 2:47 am |
    • VoodooJazz

      Yeah, and maybe we could go back to prohibition days...that was fun!

      February 23, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Debbie Downer

      Whom Whom

      February 23, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Taylor

      woah woah woah – So you want to ban alcohol cause when you aren't careful it can harm you? How about we ban cars- they do the same thing. And you talk about damage to your liver – well smoking damages your lungs. Get it straight and don't mess with my vodka.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:40 am |
      • Cane

        Hilarious and right on!

        February 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • D

      Shut up, pothead.

      February 24, 2011 at 3:25 am |
    • D

      Shut up tintala you dumb pothead

      February 24, 2011 at 3:26 am |
    • TD

      I think you need to get a life. It's a party, dude, lighten up. And have a Burboun Milk Punch!

      March 8, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
  17. Nawleans

    Hand Grenades from Tropical Isle. Anyone who has EVER been to Bourbon Street knows exactly what I'm talking about.

    February 23, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • Lovin' NOLA

      You should never have just one!!! I can see the street and the crowd right now...lol

      February 23, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Lebeau

      Jungle Juice or Crawgator at drive thru daquiri. Every Sunday on the way to the grocery store. I LOVE NEW ORLEANS.

      February 28, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  18. Salman

    Is there where females show tits for beads? I saw video of this on the net. when I come to American I will bring suitcase full of beads. We don't get to see tits in my country.

    February 23, 2011 at 12:40 am |
    • Snowbunny@Salman

      Please stay home. You sound like a pervert.

      February 23, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants

      I like this guy.

      February 23, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • Sam Barnes

      No, this is where stupid tourists and college girls show their boobs for beads/thrown items.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  19. Will V

    Just give me a couple of Hand Grenades & Hurricanes and i'm ready for mardi gras in the big easy!

    February 23, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • Lovin' NOLA

      I second your suggestion!

      February 23, 2011 at 1:09 am |
  20. Maggi

    Oh, this makes me homesick!!!!! :>

    February 23, 2011 at 12:25 am |
  21. Nate

    Simply put.

    Shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey and a Beer. ( you choice)

    February 23, 2011 at 12:20 am |
  22. Huey P. Landrieu

    The Sazerac: yes.
    Milk Punch: delicious.
    Champagne Cocktail: I'll never know.
    Coffee Cocktail: Just go to Molly's at the Market and get a Frozen Irish for 5 bucks.
    "Mardi Gras Punch": I think we can do better.

    How about a REAL Hurricane? N.O. Rum, Passion fruit juice and squeeze of lemon.
    Bloody Mary: Should taste like a vodka soaked, spicy gaspacho.
    Pimms Cup with fresh cucumber slice
    Wild Turkey
    and of course my man ijreilly's suggestion.

    February 22, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
  23. joe

    no pimms sour?!

    February 22, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  24. ijreilly

    Ice cold beer out the keg, mixed with a red cup... and after a couple, a cigarette.

    February 22, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
  25. Jdizzle McHammerpants


    February 22, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Ferdinand

      I'd like to try a natural redhead sometime...

      February 23, 2011 at 10:49 am |
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