While most of you aren’t going to make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, you can always celebrate in the comfort of your own home. All you need are beads and doubloons, a few choice beverages and some authentic foods to get the party started! Take the celebration community-wide to get everyone in on the fun.
Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, occurs the day before Ash Wednesday and was implemented as a day to eat richer and fattier foods before the 40 days and nights of fasting during Lent in the Christian faith. The first known celebration of Mardi Gras in the United States occurred when French explorers Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Sieur de Bienville discovered what is now New Orleans in 1699.
Over a century later, parades, extravagant street parties and masked balls have become prominent fixtures of the day. The present-day New Orleans Carnival scene is planned by krewes, social organizations dedicated to Mardi Gras. Celebrations feature a variety of delightful treats just as beautiful as every float and decoration.
Try these perfect-for-a-crowd food and drink recipes at your community’s Mardi Gras gathering!
Delicious Mardi Gras Drinks
- French 75 – Made from a blend of gin, champagne, and lemon juice, this cocktail is tasty and refreshing.
- Pomegranate Hurricane Mocktail – Try this fun, fruity non-alcoholic beverage for more family-friendly settings. The hurricane is a popular cocktail that originated when New Orleans bar owner Pat O’Brien was forced to purchase a large quantity of rum in order to receive the whiskey he wanted. He used the rum and a variety of fruit to create what is now a traditional Fat Tuesday beverage. This mocktail has all the flavor of the original, and you can certainly add rum if desired.
- Mardi Gras Festive Punch – Although it takes a little more prep time to create the King Cake soda ice ring, this punch will definitely please the crowd. With candy, fruit and soda in the ice, the punch will never water down and create and even tastier flavor over time. Note: Vanilla soda and cinnamon can be substituted for the King Cake soda. This festive recipe has both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions.
Festive Mardi Gras Food
- Mini King Cake – Each year, more than 500,000 King Cakes are prepared for Mardi Gras, frosted in purple, green and gold colors. Each color represents justice, faith, and power, respectively. Typically, a plastic baby is placed inside each cake and the person who finds the baby in their slice must buy the next cake or host the next party. This simple twist on a long-standing tradition makes a sweet addition to any Mardi Gras party!
- New Orleans Jambalaya – Containing chicken, andouille sausage, shrimp, veggies and Creole seasoning, this mouthwatering jambalaya is perfect for a crowd and will leave your guests wanting seconds! It’s easy to adapt jambalaya to taste, combining proteins or adding extra veggies as desired.
- Beignets – French beignets have been served in the New Orleans French Market since 1862. Although the fried and sugar-coated pastry can be found and enjoyed year round, it is still a Mardi Gras staple.
A trip to the French Quarter isn’t necessary to have a fun, festive Mardi Gras celebration. Try our classic recipes for a Fat Tuesday party to remember.