Last Call

Big events demand big actions.

Communities all over the world yearn for some attention-getting, visitor-enticing, image-enhancing activity that focuses news media and millions of eyes on celebrations where everyone who sees what’s going on wishes they were there. New Orleans has such an astounding – sometimes confounding – annual event.

Storied, historic and grand, Mardi Gras is staged in full view of international media attention and we take it in stride; not for granted, but in stride.

And every year, no matter how many Carnival seasons we’ve been through, we struggle to resolve the challenges, such as what to wear, what to eat, what to drink and where to “go” – you know what I mean.

I can’t help you with most of that, but the solution to the drinking challenge has actually been solved by, whom else, a mixologist. Because Mardi Gras is late this year, we should enjoy some warmer weather, and that calls for adult refreshment directly out of the Tiki cocktail playbook.

Tiki drinks are citrus, rum-filled concoctions beloved by everyone. As the “big day” goes along, that love grows. Or is it the rum kicking in?

Every year Chris Hannah, professional bar guy over at French 75 – the classy bar in Arnaud’s Restaurant – mixes up a huge batch of punch, places the final product into what’s considered a water cooler everywhere else, sets the cooler in a shopping cart and walks through the French Quarter enjoying his concoction and the party, freely providing samples to revelers.

He has no set route, or else we would all be there along the way to enjoy this year’s punch du jour: Pago Pago – a four-ounce drink expanded to five gallons by Hannah in the spirit of the season.

PAGO PAGO (paraded)
Group sized recipe
150 ounces (18 3/4 cups) fresh lime juice
150 ounces (18 3/4 cups) fresh grapefruit juice
150 ounces (18 3/4 cups) fresh orange juice
100 ounces (12 1/2 cups) honey syrup mix
75 ounces (9 1/4 cups) dark Jamaican rum
75 ounces (9 1/4 cups) light Jamaican rum
150 dashes (around 5 ounces or 1/2 a bottle) Angostura Bitters

Mix all ingredients in the order listed. Stir well. Tap spigot and allow drink to flow into “go-cup” (no glass on the street). Add ice. Enjoy and revel in the thought that everyone else in America is working today.

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