Carnival season can be quite chilly. Yes, even a winter season in New Orleans has been known to cast a cold, uncomfortable-to-the-bone damp net over the festivities. Not enough to stop the party, of course, and never putting a chill in one’s heart, but there have been years when this outsized, outdoor festival in the colder months causes an outbreak of sweaters and heavy coats.
It is at those moments when both those throwing the party and those attending turn to warm, decidedly strong sustenance in the form of beverages and heavy culinary styles. Nothing better to stave off a dreary winter’s night, even if you are attending one of the great parties on the planet, than a hearty, warm gumbo and cocktails designed to provide a comforting toddy for the body. It’s the moveable feast concept of parade enthusiasts: locals and visitors committed to a unique celebration that ultimately is the prime definer of what New Orleans is all about.
Don’t suffer the damp, wet cold weather disagreeably. Rage against the conditions and enjoy something warm and pleasurable.
Hot Buttered Rum
1 small slice butter (soft)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 dash ground
1 dash ground nutmeg
1 dash ground allspice
1 splash vanilla extract
2 ounces rum (dark)
5 ounces water (hot)
1. Place the butter, sugar, and spices into the bottom of an Irish coffee glass or mug.
2. Mix well or muddle. Pour in the rum and top it with hot water.
stir and enjoy
823 Decatur St., 525-8676, TujaguesRestaurant.com
Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse’s Irish Coffee
2 oz Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey
Strong coffee with Chicory
A dollop of ginger whipped cream
1. Measure and pour the Irish whiskey into a heat insulated cup or mug, top with coffee and a spoonful of homemade whipped cream.
Homemade whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream (try to find a high-quality cream that is pasteurized and not ultra-pasteurized, a local dairy is your best bet)
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
1. Pour the cream into a well-chilled bowl and add the sugar and vanilla. Using an electric hand mixer or whisk, beat the cream until soft peaks form – the cream will be just thick enough to hold its shape in soft billows. Now, sprinkle the powdered ginger over the cream and gently fold in spice using a rubber spatula. Can be made up to a day ahead. Make sure not to add the ginger before whipping or you will end up with a clumpy, odd textured cream (trust us on this one!)
Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse
716 Iberville St., 522-2467, DickieBrennansSteakhouse.com
1.5 oz Cruzan Black Strap Rum
2 tsp Demerara Sugar
Fresh hot black coffee
Hand whipped cream
1. Preheat Irish coffee glass with hot water. Discard hot water and add sugar to the glass. Add small amount of coffee and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add rum and fill with coffee. Hand whip heavy cream until frothy. Float cream atop drink. Enjoy
Revel Cafe and Bar
133 N. Carrollton Ave., 309-6122, RevelCafeandBar.com
Café Brulot Diabolique
8 demitasse size servings:
2 sticks cinnamon
8 whole cloves
slices of lemon peel
2 ½ teaspoons sugar
7 oz. brandy
1 oz. triple sec
1 oz. orange curacao
1 oz. kirschwasser
3 cups hot coffee
1. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, lemon peels, sugar and brandy in a fireproof saucepan (copper is a great choice)
2. Heat the brandy to hot but not boiling. Bring the saucepan to the table and carefully ignite mixer with a match. Use the ladle to stir and flames will “flare up” for up to 60 seconds.
3. Pour the hot coffee into the flaming brandy and then ladle into demitasse or small coffee cups
713 St. Louis St., 581-4422, Antoines.com
Glühwein: German Mulled Wine
2 medium oranges
10 whole cloves
5 cardamom pods
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups water
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
2 (750-milliliter) bottles dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Beaujolais Nouveau
1/2 cup brandy
1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the lemons and oranges in wide strips, avoiding the white pith; place the zest in a large saucepan. Juice the lemons and oranges and add the juice to the pan. Place the cloves and cardamom in a small piece of cheesecloth, tie it tightly with butcher’s twine, and add the bundle to the saucepan.
2. Add the sugar, water, and cinnamon sticks, place the pan over high heat, and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced by about one-third, about 20 minutes.
3. Add the red wine and brandy, stir to combine, and bring just to a simmer (don’t let it boil). Remove from the heat and remove and discard the spice bundle before serving.
Submitted by Elizabeth Pearce, author and cocktail tour guide extraordinaire