Yes, it's true, today marks the last day before lent and the highlight of festivities down in this place (the French Quarter, in case you could not recognize it.) The parades, the floats, the drunk people wondering where the hurricanes went, ah yes, it's all there.
Fat Tuesday is my kind of holiday. It's one of those "eat, drink, and be merry!" days that dot the calendar we all seem to love so much. It's fun! It's a celebration, a party, and a great excuse to get your Mardi Gras on no matter where you might happen to be located. Yes, it's really true, as Fat Tuesday is more a holiday in spirit than anything else. You don't even have to be there to enjoy it although, obviously, if you are there, it's all that much better.
Next year, Fat Tuesday will actually be a bit later, as it clocks in the first week in March (March 4th for those paying attention) so this year marks the last time we celebrate Fat Tuesday in February for a while (well, at least for a year or two.)
We also will be having a new Pope by the end of Lent this year (more than likely anyway, as the current Pope resigned yesterday.) That makes all that many more reasons to celebrate the start of the holy season this year. We should help celebrate the current Pope and all he has done. (He was a good Pope, at least, most Catholics I know seem to agree and tend to like him, although one has to wonder if we can really have a "bad" Pope.) Of course, we wish him nothing but the best in his retirement, post-Pope days (one also has to wonder what that really entails, although I suspect it's probably much the same-he'll go to church, say prayers, read a lot, etc.)
Enough about the Pope though, as this is Fat Tuesday and, as they say in the 'Quarter, "Laissez les bons temps rouler" or "Let the Good Times Roll." Yes, it's Mardi Gras Day, so please have a good one.
In case you in need of a drink, there's always the Pat O'Brien's hurricane. These drinks are bright red and served up in a tall glass, garnished with orange slices and cherries. The name of the drink came from the shape of the glass it's served in - the glass looks like a hurricane lamp. When visiting New Orleans for the first time, I was lucky enough to visit Pat O's and sit in the courtyard, overlooking the flaming fountain, to get my first taste of the hurricane drink. It's a tasty treat that's a bit stronger than one might believe and totally worth the trip if you happen to be in the 'Quarter. Here are two recipes to get you started enjoying your own hurricane from New Orleans, in case you cannot make it down that way this year. (Note that Pat O's serves hurricane made with passion fruit juice, while some other hurricane recipes leave this out.)
Traditional Hurricane Recipe:
2 oz light rum
2 oz dark rum
2 oz passion fruit juice
1 oz orange juice
½ oz fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon simple syrup
1 Tablespoon grenadine
Garnish: orange slice and cherry
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a Hurricane glass filled with ice. Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice.
Pat O' Brien's Hurricane Recipe:
Mix 4 oz. of Pat O'Brien's Rum or any good dark rum with 4 oz. Pat O'Brien's Hurricane Mix
Fill 26 oz. glass with crushed ice
Garnish with a slice of orange and a cherry
Mix can be purchased at Pat O'Brien's (800) 597-4823 or by visiting: www.patobriens.com.
Until next time...