While most New Orleanians view Carnival as a time of raucous celebration, French Quarter bartenders view it with more complexity. Andrew Guerin, bartender at the Bourbon Orleans Bourbon O bar observes, “It is both wonderful and terrifying.” Most of the drinks he makes at Carnival require speed. However, Andrew has created a Mardi Gras pop-up bar within the Bourbon O, where he can make craft drinks. This King Cake Sazerac fits perfectly among those cocktails. Andrew’s front seat on Bourbon Street’s action gives a window to all that Carnival offers. “It is a chaotic and wonderful celebration of life.” He admits that sometimes guests can get a little rowdy, and he sees his role behind the bar as not only there to provide entertainment, but also to look out for people’s safety. As you head out to the revelry, give a thought for all the bartenders who keep the party rolling until Lent. 

  1. The cinnamon simple syrup pairs well with Old Fashioneds and other whiskey-based drinks as well as spiced rum drinks. It is also delicious in coffee.
  2. Drink more water than you think you need. Andrew says that during Carnival “people forget water exists.”
  3. Don’t be afraid to veer away from traditional drinks. Everyone is wandering around drinking a hurricane, and maybe now is the time to try a Pimm’s cup.

King Cake Sazerac

2 ounces Rye whiskey

1/2 ounce cinnamon brown sugar simple syrup (see recipe below)

5 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Absinthe rinse of the glass.

Colored sugar rim

Add whiskey, bitters, and syrup in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir for approximately 12 seconds. Strain drink into a glass that has been coated with absinthe and rimmed with colored sugar.

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Simple Syrup

1 cup water

1 cup of dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 ounce vanilla extract 

Mix all ingredients in a small pot and stir until sugar is dissolved. Syrup keeps in the refrigerator for up to three months.