New Orleans is the mecca of cocktail culture. Home to the Museum of the American Cocktail, the annual Tales of the Cocktail festival, and numerous historic bars and homegrown cocktail recipes that have since spread worldwide, the city has a magnetic appeal to cocktail fans. But until you have a chance to visit and pay your respects, there are more than a few ways to celebrate the spirits of the city amongst friends wherever you are. Below are a few pointers for a New Orleans-inspired cocktail party.
Fun, but perhaps a little seedy, and tinged with the knowledge that a long line of past deviants have enjoyed this type of fun before and so, well, why shouldn’t you?
New Orleans holds the patents on more than a few classic drinks, most notably the Sazerac. You could do a lot worse than Sazerac Rye in it (and if you’re expecting a crowd, then there’s no shame in going for the slightly cheaper Old Overholt instead), and if you’re unable to find Herbsaint then you can slip in Ricard or another pastis, absinthe, or anise-flavored liqueur.
It’s a party, not a sit down dinner, and so you don’t want people struggling with bowls of gumbo or dripping po’boys down the front of their shirt. Instead, opt for the finger food adaptation of the city’s traditional Muffaletta sandwich with this recipe for Muffaletta Dip. Or try shrimp skewers with Remoulade, the Cajun condiment, as a dip.
New Orleans jazz is the only way to go, and you have a lot to choose from. Look for albums by groups such as the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band or the Rebirth Brass Band or find excellent mixes on www.8tracks.com such as this one, called Only in New Orleans.