Prelude to Lent

mardigras

Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday” and is the last opportunity for indulgence in food and drink before Lent. With a little more than 7 days left until Mardi Gras, what I really want to know is what should we drink to celebrate before Ash Wednesday.

Now there are plenty more drinks out there, but I found these three to be the most popular and consistent everywhere.  Here’s what I have found in no particular order:

Hurricane

The Hurricane became popular at Pat O’Briens bar in 1940’s New Orleans, apparently debuted at the 1939 World’s Fair and was named after the hurricane lamp-shaped glasses the first drinks were served in. It’s said that O’Brien created the heavily rummed drink as a means to get rid of the large stock of rum his Southern distributors forced him to buy.

Sazerac

The official drink of New Orleans (literally—legislation passed in June 2008 naming it so), the Sazerac can trace its origins back to early 19th-century druggist and freemason, Antoine Peychaud, who would host freemason meetings at his pharmacy and serve a mix of Sazerac de Forge Cognac, absinthe and his proprietary bitters.

Ramos Gin Fizz

Also called the New Orleans Fizz, this ethereal mix of gin, citrus juice, egg white and heavy cream was invented in 1888 by New Orleans bar owner Henry C. Ramos.

To learn more about the History of Mardi Gras

It has been said that a Scotchman has not seen the world until he has seen Edinburgh; and I think that I may say that an American has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi-Gras in New Orleans.  – Mark Twain

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National Margarita Day

Saturday is National Margarita day.  No candy, flowers or reservations needed.  Just plenty of ice, fresh limes and a GOOD bottle of Tequila. For Cinco De Mayo we will use a GREAT bottle. But I implore you NOT to use any of the pre-mixes or cocktails to-go.  Take the time and do the work and savor the pleasures of a REAL MARGARITA.

History of the Margarita

Esquire Magazine is the first known publication to put a margarita recipe in print. In their December 1953 edition they listed the drink as:

  • 1 ounce tequila
  • Dash of Triple Sec
  • Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon

Pour over crushed ice, stir. Rub the rim of a stem glass with rind of lemon or lime, spin in salt — pour, and sip.

Many stories exist on who actually invented the drink. One states that in October 1941 a bartender named Don Carlos Orozco from Ensenada, Mexico created the drink for the daughter of a German ambassador whose name was Margarita. He named the recipe after her. Another originates from Galveston, Texas where, in 1948, bartender Santos Cruz developed the margarita recipe for singer Peggy (Margaret) Lee. He allegedly named it after the Spanish version of her name, Margarita. Another popular one indicates that the margarita is just a variation of another brandy based drink called the Daisy. In a 1936 Iowa newspaper, James Graham reported finding this cocktail in Tijuana. The word margarita is Spanish for daisy so its possible the similar tequila based cocktail took on this name.

In 1948, Dallas socialite Margaret Sames had invited friends from Dallas to visit her in Acapulco, Mexico. While preparing for her visitors, Margaret began experimenting with a tequila cocktail to serve poolside. Having tried and enjoyed Cointreau, she decided to pair the two. Tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime juice and a salted rim: the margarita was born. One famous party guest, hotelier Nicky Hilton, went on to feature the margarita at his Acapulco Hilton, popularizing the drink.

 

Here are a few of my favorite recipes:

Jamaica Margaritas

Chocolate Margarita

Grapefruit Margarita

Agave Margarita

Modern Margarita

NEW: Mango Fusion

BACARDIMangoFusion2

Mango and orange-flavored rum imported from Puerto Rico. A fusion of mango and orange juices blended with Puerto Rican light rum. Mix Bacardi Mango Fusion with fresh orange juice for an easy tropical drink.

Now to find out when it will be available…

 

UPDATE: Bacardi’s MANGO Fusion hits stores 1st week in March.  Check your favorite location for tastings!

NEW: Absolut Texas

Absolut-Texas-Cruz-Ortiz-Bottle

Absolut launches its eighth Limited Edition ABSOLUT TEXAS. This is the brand’s first and only state-inspired flavor.

The taste is rich and smooth with notes of fresh cucumber, and a warm spicy character; a flavor inspired by Southwestern cuisine, which is as unique and authentic as Texas. It pairs well with a myriad of ingredients, such as cranberry, cilantro and grapefruit soda.

The bottle artwork has been created in collaboration with internationally renowned contemporary artist Cruz Ortiz from San Antonio. The design features a modern spin on iconic Texas imagery including a cowboy boot against a stylished Texas landscape and his take on the Texas star. The bottle also features Absolut founder Lars Olsson Smith wearing a cowboy hat, marking only the second time in the brand´s history in which Smith´s logo has been altered.

So the first drink I would try is the Heel Spur Martini

HeelSpurMartini

Heel-Spur Martini

2.5 parts Absolut Texas
0.5 part Dolin Blanc Vermouth
2 dashes Celery Bitters

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass, and stir with ice.
Fine-strain into a chilled martini glass, and garnish with a lemon zest.

What else can we can mix with this?

Recipes, reviews and new product sightings from the wonderful world wine, spirits and an occasional beer.

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