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Cocktails for Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day Will Get You in the Spirit

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The Tart Hart

The Tart Hart

Want to stir up a little fun for Mardi Gras or Valentine’s Day? Then try any of these merry mixed drinks, a heady mixture of classic cocktails and some new libations guaranteed to jazz up your next party, whether it’s for two or 20.

In honor of Mardi Gras, we start with some New Orleans classics, each with a history as colorful as the city itself.

Ramos Gin Fizz

“The Gin Fizz slips on like a fine linen suit,” writes Denise Gee in “Southern Cocktails: Dixie Drinks, Party Potions & Classic Libations.” “It has been a darling of socialites since the 1880s, when it was developed by New Orleanian Henry C. Ramos. Notorious Louisiana Governor Huey P. Long knew its charms well, reportedly hiring New Orleans’s Roosevelt Hotel bartender to accompany him to New York so he could enjoy this white, creamy, floral but tart gin fizz at a moment’s notice.”

2 ounces gin
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 egg white
1 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce orange flower or rose water
1 ounce half-and-half
Club soda
1 orange wheel, for garnish

Pour the gin, lemon juice, egg white, syrup, orange flower water and half-and-half into a cocktail shaker filled with a few ice cubes; shake for about 1 minute. Strain into a pilsner glass or tall, slim glass filled with ice; top with club soda and stir. Add the garnish.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From “Southern Cocktails: Dixie Drinks, Party Potions & Classic Libations” by Denise Gee

The Roffingnac

“Here’s one inspired by a drink popular in the days of Count Louis Philippe Joseph de Roffignac, mayor of New Orleans during the early 1820s,” Gee writes. “Life was much better for the count then, since he’d successfully made a hasty retreat from France to the French Quarter in 1800 to escape the guillotine. Roffignac reportedly settled into a house on Chartres Street between Dumaine and St. Philippe streets, and did much to beautify the growing city. It’s there that he no doubt enjoyed the drink that’s now attributed to him, having been passed down for almost two centuries via worth of mouth and hand of bartender. It comes on strong but finishes sweet.”

2 ounces Cognac or rye whiskey
1 ounce raspberry syrup
Club soda
Fresh raspberries, for garnish

Pour the Cognac or rye and raspberry syrup into a stemmed cocktail glass filled with ice. Top it off with club soda and a swizzle to blend. Add the garnish.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From “Southern Cocktails: Dixie Drinks, Party Potions & Classic Libations” by Denise Gee

Brandy Milk Punch

“As a hard-drinking town with a serious affection for late-night carousing, New Orleans has developed or adopted more than its fair share of what locals optimistically describe as ‘eye-openers’ (basically, that’s shorthand for a hangover cure, also known as the hair of the dog),” write Jimmy Bannos and John DeMers in “Big Easy Cocktails.” “Something this milky and frothy is bound to sooth a protesting morning-after stomach.”

2 ounces half-and-half2 ounces milk
1 1 /2 ounces brandy
1 tablespoon simple syrup
6 drops vanilla
Ground nutmeg, for dusting

Combine half-and-half, milk, brandy, syrup and vanilla, and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled highball glass with a little fresh ice. Dust with nutmeg.

Makes 1 drink.

From “Big Easy Cocktails” by Jimmy Bannos and John DeMers

Pimm’s Royale

“This Champagne cocktail shares much of the same history as the Pimm’s Cup, drawing its spirit (literally and figuratively) from the creation of James Pimm in his London oyster bar,” write Jimmy Bannos and John DeMers in “Big Easy Cocktails.” “This drink, however, is even simpler, replacing the lemonade and soda water with the Champagne of your choice.”

3/4 ounce Pimm’s No. 1Champagne
1 lemon twist, for garnish

Pour the Pimm’s into a Champagne glass and fill with Champagne. Garnish with the lemon twist.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From “Big Easy Cocktails” by Jimmy Bannos and John DeMers

And now a few drinks to share with your loved one on Valentine’s Day:

Honey Bee-Mine

Honey Bee-Mine

Honey Bee-Mine

1 1/2 ounces Irish honey whiskey
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/4 ounce grenadine

Shake whiskey, lemon juice, syrup and grenadine in an ice-filled shaker. Strain into chilled Champagne coupe (or old-fashioned Champagne glass). Garnish with a strawberry.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From the Lexington Social House in Hollywood, Calif.

The Tart Heart

1 1/2 ounces pink grapefruit vodka
3/4 ounce maraschino liquor
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Dash of pomegranate bitters
Black raspberry liqueur
1 sprig of mint, for garnish

In an ice-filled shaker, mix vodka, maraschino, lime juice, syrup and bitters. Shake. Strain over fresh ice. Float a splash of black raspberry liqueur on top. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From the Lexington Social House in Hollywood, Calif.

Lover’s Tango

2 ounces vodka
2 bar spoons sweet vermouth
Dash of lavender bitters

Stir vodka, vermouth and bitters in an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From Belvedere Vodka

Sweetheart Swizzle

1 ounce citrus-flavored vodka
1 ounce lime syrup
Dash of Angostura bitters
Tonic Water

Pour vodka, syrup and bitters in an ice-filled rocks glass. Stir. Top with tonic water. Garnish with lemon, lime and cucumber wheels.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From Belvedere Vodka

 

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