Slideshow: 12 Cocktails to Make at Home for Mardi Gras

French 75
French 75

It may be simple, but this gin drink, made tart with lemon and sweetened with a touch of sugar, is just the thing to make sparkling wine a little more exciting. It's an herbal sipper for when you're just not feeling the casual gin & tonic.

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[Photo: Maggie Hoffman]

Sazerac
Sazerac

This rye cocktail is a New Orleans original, and you must get the ritual right. Be sure to use enough absinthe (or Herbsaint or Pernod). Some leave the twist in, others argue fervently that you should discard.

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[Photo: Robyn Lee]

Ramos Fizz
Ramos Fizz

You'll need to put a little work into this classic New Orleans gin drink—you've gotta shake and shake until the eggwhite gets super foamy. It's flavored with lemon, lime, and aromatic orange flower water, and the results are totally worth the effort.

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Milk Punch
Milk Punch

Ok, Brandy and rum-spiked milk punch is a bit like eggnog without the eggs, but it's surprisingly refreshing when poured over a mountain of crushed ice. This is a pretty potent way to kick off brunch, but when in New Orleans...

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[Photo: Robyn Lee]

Daiquiri
Daiquiri

New Orleans has drive-in frozen daiquiris available to go, but this is a different beast entirely. It's a classic drink made with just light rum, fresh lime, and a teaspoon of sugar.

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[Photo: Robyn Lee]

Hurricane
Hurricane

Ignore the umbrella: a Hurricane, when made right, can be a totally serious drink. It's fruity from a hit of passion fruit syrup, but boozy from dark rum, and tart from fresh lemon.

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[Photo: Robyn Lee]

Arnaud's Special
Arnaud's Special

If you visited New Orleans in the '40s and '50s, you would have spotted this signature Scotch cocktail at Arnaud's restaurant. It's like a Rob Roy, but with Dubonnet Rouge instead of sweet vermouth, and some bright orange bitters instead of Angostura.

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[Photo: Robyn Lee]

Upgraded Grasshopper
Upgraded Grasshopper

The classic Grasshopper, made with equal parts cream, creme de menthe, and creme de cacao, was created by New Orleans restaurant owner Philibert Guichet Jr. before the end of Prohibition. This version is reworked for modern tastes, made with a fresh mint-infused cream, rum and cognac, plus creme de cacao and mint and chocolate bitters. It's a little more fussy, but definitely delicious.

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[Photo: JL Studios]

Basin Street Blues
Basin Street Blues

This cocktail, adapted from the menu of Domenica in New Orleans, starts with a one-to-one mix of Pimm's and Nardini Amaro, which has a rich chocolatey flavor and wonderful peppermint bite. It's rounded out with fresh citrus juice. A touch of smoky Scotch adds interest.

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[Photo: Wes Rowe]