It's rare that one American city is called upon to play host to two major events almost simultaneously. Yet that is what is happening in la belle New Orleans this week where happy Mardi Gras party goers will mix with hopeful Super Bowl ticket holders.
But have no fear - New Orleans is more than up to the task at hand. Her fine hotels, outstanding restaurants, famous streets and multicultural cuisine can easily welcome them all, especially when the many visitors have a chance to taste one of the City's famous cocktails.
THE SAZERAC COCKTAIL - This honored cocktail is the very first recorded American cocktail to be created and is credited to Antoine Amadie Peychaud, a Creole apothecary before the dark days of the Civil War.
He crafted the cocktail from a mixture of cognac or rye whiskey, absinthe or Herbsaint and Peychaud's Bitters.
According to culinary legend he served his new drink in the large end of an egg cup which was called a coquetier in French. The americanization of word conversed the French word into the word "cocktail" and so gave a name to a whole catagory of over 125,000 drinks!
THE HURRICANE COCKTAIL - Was there ever a cocktail with such a perfect name? This drink can steady the nerves of anyone facing a frightening future whether from high waters or the horrors of war. For you see, this cocktail was created by Pat O'Brien during the early days of World War II.
Faced with both an excess of lower grade rum forced on him by distributors and also many nervous service men, he blended his unwanted rum, fruit juice and grenadine together and happily served his creation in an available bowed glass that mimiced the shape of a Victorian wind-resisent oil lamp.
The name of the lamp transferred to the cocktail and is now the official drink of New Orleans' French Quarter. Today it often served in a plastic cup since the City premits enjoying a cocktail in public but only in a non-breakable despoitable plastic container. Safety first please!
BRANDY MILK PUNCH - Don't be fooled. This is not exactly your mother's good-night glass of milk. Instead, it is a favorite for one of New Orleans' grand tradition: Sunday Brunch. After church, friends and family could (and still do) meet at one of the City's classic restaurants such as Cafe Adelaide or Brennan's to discuss the week's events.
Brimming cups of brandy, milk, cream and nutmeg mixed together were and still are perfect to calm a troubled stomach from the night before or ideal to match the rich foods in the Sunday feast before them. Ah, New Orleans, she always has an answer for every question.
What a grand city!