Laissez les bon temps rouler!
It’s Mardi Gras….or for those of you in Brazil, it’s Carnaval, which means it’s time for unabashed revelry, debauchery and gluttony (screw the seven deadly sins) until Wednesday (the 9th) when we’re supposed to fast and reflect for 40 days. For those of you who live in Los Angeles, this is a different celebration than Halloween.
So you’re going to be throwing a Mardi Gras party or are going to a Mardi Gras party at some point before Wednesday right? You no doubt are familiar with the Mardi Gras food right? For starters, there’s King cake. That rich and eggy cake that hides a baby somewhere in all that goodness (no, not a real one). If you’re the lucky one to find the trinket, inside your slice of cake, it’s your responsibility to buy the next King cake or to hold the next Mardi Gras party. Then you’ve got red beans and rice, crawfish etouffee, beignets, jambalaya, gumbo, po-boys….
But I suppose the most famous parts of Mardi Gras are the parades, beads and drinks. The Hurricane, not the weather kind, is the most infamous New Orleans drink. During the week leading up to Fat Tuesday, the streets are crowded with hundreds/thousands of people drinking Hurricanes in plastic cups. But I’d like to introduce you to another cocktail recipe that’s also part of the New Orleans history: The Canal Street Daisy.
Arguably, the most famous street in New Orleans is Bourbon street. Well, Bourbon street starts at the intersection of Canal street. Considering that the Canal Street Daisy is a whiskey drink it only seems appropriate to use a bourbon whiskey to make this tangy libation (Get it, Bourbon street…bourbon whiskey in the drink that’s named for the street that intersect with Bourbon street?). I can personally vouch for the drunken debauchery that occurs on Bourbon street. Several years ago, I visited during Mardi Gras and spent lots of time camped out on the balcony of The Cat’s Meow. Let’s just say I came home with LOTS of beads around my neck.
But I digress and I don’t want my mom to stroke out when she reads this. The Canal Street Daisy is a tart and tangy cocktail that pairs really well with most of the Mardi Gras food that you might encounter. The citrus juices can cut through the pork fat that’s found in a lot of the recipes and of course, the smokey flavors in bourbon pair really well with pork. Who am I kidding…bourbon is like the LBD, it’s appropriate for all occasions.
During Carnaval, the whole country of Brazil basically shuts down for a 3 day celebration of dancing, music, food and sex. Which sounds like a lot of fun, but would lead to a 3 day hangover.
A sexier ritual of Carnaval is the wearing of masks. This tradition dates back to Roman spring festivals. So no, it’s not something those kinky Brazilians dreamed up. It’s history people. It’s believed that the masks released people from their inhibitions so they could appreciate their excesses and mischief. Oscar Wilde once said: “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
So this weekend don some beads, a sexy mask, pour yourselves a Canal Street Daisy and lose your inhibitions. After all, we must test out this theory of Oscar Wilde.
Recipe: Canal Street Daisy
- Juice From Half of One Lemon
- Juice From Half of One Orange
- 1 Ounce Whiskey
- Carbonated Water
- Orange Slice (for garnish)
- Lemon Slice (for garnish)
- Squeeze juice from half of a lemon and half of an orange.
- Fill Collins glass with crushed ice.
- Blend whiskey and juices together and pour into glass.
- Top off the glass with carbonated water.
- Stir and garnish with an orange slice (and lemon slice if you wish).
I used bourbon whiskey in this but you could also use a rye whiskey.
Cooking time (duration): 5 minutes
Number of servings (yield): 1
Meal type: cocktail
Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)