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Defender Picks


Purple, Green, & Gold Cocktails (Recipes)

Carnival time and libations tend to mix well. So, NoDef petitioned Mark Schettler to put together a few words of advice. Schettler is the Bar Director at Purloo and the Vice President of the USBG New Orleans chapter. However, he also enjoy the titles  “Professional Enabler” and “Big Chief Drink Monkey.” Semantics aside, the man knows what to drink this time of year.


Whether you’re catching a doubloon at Rex, a coconut at Zulu, a high-heel at Muses or… something else altogether at Krewe de Vieux, old traditions and new customs combine in the same celebration that’s been called Mardi Gras for so long. We get to be a part of that each year when we polish the cobblestones of the French Quarter with our dancing and stumbling, just as generations before us have done and often fueled in the same ways. With that purple prose in mind, here’s a list of a few great classic cocktail recipes accompanied by suggestions for up-to-date variations. In no time flat, your festooned friends will be calling you a cocktologist, mixologist or whatever word the media is using this week to make bartending sound more fancy and exclusive than it ought to be. Happy Mardi Gras everyone, have fun and be safe!



To start, here is a very old recipe that has always been about the individual drink maker’s spiritous decisions. The earliest records call for Brandy, but the Sangaree can also be thought of a drink type with movable, substitutable parts. Not unlike a jaunt on Mardi Gras day with Kosmic Debris, things can get pretty far out there pretty quickly and not in a bad way. I’ve served a successful variation with Brazilian Cachaca, an absinthe from California and a fruit-forward Rioja— but at it’s heart it was still a Sangaree. Try whiskey and vermouth and you’ll have something like a lazy-man’s sweet Manhattan, or maybe a good aged Spanish-style rum and ginger liqueur topped with sherry and a slice of green apple, or…. 



2 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac

1/2 oz Simple Syrup

1/4 oz St Elizabeth Allspice Dram

1 oz Ruby Port to top

Grated nutmeg & an orange peel to garnish.


Combine cognac, syrup and allspice dram in shaker. Fill with ice and shake the hell out of it. Pour all of it into a wine glass. If you need more ice to make the drink look pretty then just throw a few more cubes in the shaker and smash ‘em up with a muddler. Pour the port on top of the ice, express the orange peel (a fancy way of saying pinch it so the oils spray) and set the peel on the rim of the glass, then grate the nutmeg on top. Carefully add a straw (you don't wanna mix in the port in), and serve.



NoDef wouldn’t publish my very special recipe for Mardi Gras Green Dragon- something about legal liability, I don’t know, I wasn’t really listening-  so here’s a different recipe that can be a lot of fun to riff on as well. Try substituting the Gin in this cocktail for anything from Mezcal to Fernet Branca to Angostura bitters (yes, 3/4 oz of Angostura bitters. Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it). And if for some reason you’re having trouble discerning your jigger from your shaker, fear not— this is one for which any bartender wearing a tie will know the recipe.


Last Word

3/4 oz London Dry Gin

3/4 oz Green Chartreuse

3/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur

3/4 oz Lime Juice


Put it all in a shaker, add ice, shake it up and then strain into a coupe with no garnish. I always fine strain mine and prefer the Fernet variation, but hey, different strokes.



A shot of Goldschlager! Thank you, I’ll be here all week. Option 2: 

Let’s be realistic. As important as your drink choices for the next three weeks is, you have other responsibilities: you’ve also got a costume to sew (or build, for the more ambitious among you), work to get a headstart on so you can take Wednesday off as well, and you’ll want to find the number for a friendly lawyer in town to write on your arm, y’know, just-in-case. These are very real concerns that might cloud your priorities and find you throwing drinks together with whatever you have at hand on Lundi Gras morning. That, friends, is what the Golden Ratio of Cocktails is for. Quite simply put: 2 parts spirit, 1 part sweet, 1 part sour. Tweak to taste. Here’s a popular Golden Ratio recipe you might not have known includes an egg white for texture (while adding no flavor whatsoever, so fear not) and, conveniently, the drink is gold in its hue.


Whiskey Sour

2 oz Bourbon or Rye Whiskey

1 oz Simple Syrup

1/2 oz Lemon juice

1/2 oz Lime juice

1 egg white


Shake with ice, with much vim & vigor. Things then get tricky on account of the egg white— for the best texture, you’ll want to then discard the ONLY the ice and dry shake the ingredients for another few seconds. Then strain it over ice and, if you’re in a garnishing kind of mood, use a cherry and an orange wedge, wheel or twist. 

Added bonus: If while out you want to annoy the hell out of your bartender, simply tell them how you read on the internet that when working with egg whites it’s better to wet shake (with ice) and THEN dry shake (without ice).  

Added added bonus: You actually probably really should not do that. Please and thank you.

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