I’ve never celebrated Mardi Gras in style. Once, I feebly attempted to get into the Fat Tuesday spirit by stumbling into Bourbon Street, a restaurant near Times Square, and ordering a Hurricane along with every other tourist in Manhattan. It was about as inauthentic an experience as I could have had. Last February, the fine folks at Southern Comfort sent me a massive (and sticky) King Cake, along with a boa (which still lives in my desk drawer). I was getting closer. This year, I’ll be at a production of Richard 111. Again, not especially festive, but before I go, I’ll be pre-gaming with a signature (yet, lesser known than the Sazerac, pictured above) Carnival drink, the Vieux Carré. I believe Shakespeare would have wanted it that way.
This drink, named for the French Quarter in New Orleans, was created by Walter Bergeron, a bartender at the Monteleone Hotel in the 1930’s, which was incidentally the first revolving bar in New Orleans (danger!).
To make it, fill an old-fashioned glass with ice, along with 1 ounce rye, 1 ounce Cognac, 1 ounce sweet vermouth, and ½ ounce of Benedictine, along with a dash of Peychaud’s bitters. Stir them up, garnish with a lemon twist, and let the Mardi Gras madness begin.