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FRESH and Festive: Big, Easy Mardi Gras

Masks, king cakes, beads and hurricanes – it must be Mardi Gras time. If you can’t make it to the really big party this year – the one in New Orleans – we’re making it easy for you to throw your own Mardi Gras fest.

King cake: You can’t have a Mardi Gras party without a king cake, which began as a tribute to the biblical Three Kings, and is enjoyed from the feast of the Epiphany (January 6) through the beginning of Lent. Here at FRESH, we make our own at our in-house bakery, using our freshmade Danish dough and fragrant cinnamon, and decorating each cake in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, gold and green. Traditionally, a king cake has a baby hidden inside. Whoever gets the baby is on the hook for hosting next year’s party.

Cajun and Creole cuisine: Your party menu, of course, should feature rich Louisiana specialties, so check out our specials on things like Andouille sausage (essential in dishes like jambalaya);  ready-to-use, pre-cut “trinity” in our produce section (onions, bell pepper and celery, used in pretty much every Cajun/Creole recipe, ever; and oysters (for oysters on the half shell, or baked Oysters Rockefeller.) And remember, our seafood manager is a chef from Louisiana, so you need to check out his housemade gumbo base, in our seafood department.

Hurricane: The unofficial party drink of New Orleans, made famous by the Pat O’Brien’s bar in the French Quarter. Allegedly it got its name from the glass it’s served in, shaped like a hurricane lantern, but I’m not so sure. I think it’s more that if you drink too many of them, you wake up feeling like you got socked by a hurricane. Traditionally, the recipe uses passionfruit syrup, but we’ve lightened it up with fresh-squeezed juices; the grenadine will give it the red color you remember.

Serves 2

2 oz light rum
2 oz dark rum
1 oz amaretto
4 oz FRESH-squeezed orange juice
4 oz FRESH-squeezed limeade
2 Tbs grenadine
Splash of sparkling water
Maraschino cherry and orange slices, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, combine rums, amaretto, orange juice, limeade, and grenadine. Shake vigorously for a minute. Strain and pour over ice into two glasses. Top each with a splash of sparkling water and stir. Add garnish and serve.