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New Orleans’ Favorite Punch

New Orleans’ Favorite Punch

Down in New Orleans, they really know how to party. Mardi Gras festivities started a few weeks ago and will continue for almost another month. (And that’s not to mention that the city’s hosting the Super Bowl in 11 days.) So how do they do it?

We think we’ve found the secret to the Big Easy’s celebration stamina: Brandy Milk Punch. The nourishing NOLA classic combines milk, sugar, spices, and, of course, brandy. It’s served all around town and is the perfect eye-opener after a late night.

While we love fixing a big bowl of the traditional recipe, which we got from celebrity chef John Besh, we’ve also recently discovered some interesting variations that you need to try.

SoBou, the latest restaurant and bar from legendary partners Ti Martin and Lally Brennan, has on its menu a quaffable Spiced Rum Milk Punch (pictured above), which was created by their talented bar chef, Abigail Gullo, and calls for, you guessed it, spiced rum instead of the standard brandy.

Bellocq, the craft-cocktail establishment run by Neal Bodenheimer and Kirk Estopinal, who own top spot Cure as well, offers a very unique spin on the drink in the Mary Rocket Milk Punch. Be warned: Making this tipple is not for the faint of heart, since it involves curdling milk with lemon juice. But if you can get past that, you may have found the secret to Mardi Gras. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Contributed by Abigail Gullo

  • 1.5 ounces Old New Orleans Cajun Spice Rum
  • .75 ounces simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)
  • 1 dash pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces milk
  • Garnish: Freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon
  • Glass: Old Fashioned

Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a light dusting of freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon.

Contributed by Kirk Estopinal

  • Peels of 2 lemons
  • 8 ounces sugar
  • 32 ounces cognac
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 40 ounces boiling water
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • 16 ounces whole milk (raw and organic if possible)
  • Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Garnish: Lemon twist
  • Glass: Double Old Fashioned

In a large bowl, muddle the lemon peels and sugar. Let stand for 2 hours. In a separate container, stir together the cognac and nutmeg. Let stand for 1 hour. Pour the boiling water over the sugar, and then add the cognac mixture and lemon juice. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the milk to a small saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer (at least 190 degrees, but do not allow to boil). Pour the milk into the cognac mixture and let stand for 30 minutes without stirring (milk will begin to curdle). Strain through a jelly-strainer bag into bottles or a large bowl, discarding solids, and store in the refrigerator. To serve, add 4 ounces of the strained liquid to a double Old Fashioned glass filled with ice. Stir in a dash of Peychaud’s Bitters and garnish with a lemon twist.

This story was originally published at New Orleans' Favorite Punch. For more stories like this, subscribe to for the best in al things cocktails and spirits.

Bourbon Milk Punch [Big Easy Style]

Published: Sep 2, 2017 · Modified: Dec 14, 2020 · By Katherine · About 2 minutes to read this article.

The day before Christmas, sitting at a candlelit table for two at John Besh's New Orleans restaurant August, I ordered what would soon become my favorite holiday drink - Bourbon Milk Punch.

I had no idea what it was, but I saw a ghostly glass served nearby and once described to me, I had to have it.

At first taste, it captured New Orleans at Christmas for me - quiet and still on the surface, but with an underlying pungent heat. Like a closed door to raucous courtyard party.

The version that Eddie makes for me adds cinnamon to the traditional nutmeg and I prefer bourbon to brandy because I'm that kind girl. A touch of sugar deceives the tongue as you sink further into a warm bourbon blanket.

However, I'm still a bit of a stickler for tradition (that new clear milk punch is way too sci-fi-for my tastes) and Commanders Palace has a classic milk punch recipe made with brandy.

Now, this isn't an actual holiday drink. It's popular in New Orleans throughout the year. But for me, the first time the milky goodness passed my lips is deeply embedded with the spirit of the holidays in my most favorite city in the world.

Share All sharing options for: 12 Classic Cocktails Invented in New Orleans

Despite the popularity of Hand Grenades and sickly sweet Hurricanes on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras, New Orleans’ history of the cocktail can be traced back to its beginning, when drinks were built simply from spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. The city may not be the birthplace of the very first cocktail, but it is where many of the most enduring drinks were invented. To honor the Crescent City for Mardi Gras, Los Angeles cocktail blogger and New Orleans native Chuck Taggart — a verifiable cocktail geek and student of cocktail historians Ted Haigh and David Wondrich — details the history of the Big Easy's classics. From the well-known Sazerac to the more obscure Café Brûlot.

Late 1830s

Drink name: Sazerac
Where it was invented: According to legend, the Sazerac was born at Antoine Amédée Peychaud’s pharmacy on Royal Street. It was then popularized at Sazerac Coffee House, a saloon on Exchange Place in the French Quarter. The drink and eventually its primary source were named for the brand of Cognac that favored the drink, Sazerac de Forge et Fils. The primary ingredient was switched to rye whiskey in 1870 due to imbibers' changing tastes and an absinthe dash/rinse was added.
Who invented it: Apothecary Antoine Amédée Peychaud, who did indeed concoct Peychaud’s bitters, served friends a brandy cocktail spiked with his bitters.
What is it: Absinthe (or Herbsaint), rich simple syrup (sugar to water ratio, two to one), Peychaud's Bitters, rye whiskey. It is New Orleans’ own cocktail in the truest historic definition. It actually bears more resemblance to what Jerry Thomas (considered the father of American mixology) referred to as an "improved" cocktail (an old term from the beginning on the cocktail, basically referring to an Old Fashioned with something added to it) with absinthe, but the Peychaud’s bitters makes it New Orleans’ own.

Drink name: Brandy Crusta
Where it was invented: Jewel of the South, the bar at the New Orleans City Exchange, Gravier Street, New Orleans.
Who invented it: Joseph Santini.
What is it: Cognac, Grand Marnier, maraschino, simple syrup, lemon juice, Angostura. Perhaps the first sour, and the precursor to the Sidecar.

Drink name: Brandy Milk Punch
Where it was invented: Although the drink is now heavily associated with New Orleans, milk punch recipes date back to the 17th century, and one version appears in Jerry Thomas’ first ever bar guide in 1862.
What is it: Cognac, whole milk, simple syrup, vanilla extract. It may not have been invented in New Orleans, but this drink is very much part of the city's culture and history.

Drink name: Absinthe Frappé
Where it was invented: Aleix Coffee House, later called The Absinthe Room and now known as Old Absinthe House.
Who invented it: Cayetano Ferrer, head bartender of Aleix Coffee House and later proprietor of the establishment, which he renamed.
What is it? Absinthe, rich simple syrup, anisette (optional), chilled soda water.

Drink name: Ramos Gin Fizz
Where it was invented: Imperial Cabinet Saloon, Gravier St., New Orleans.
Who invented it: Henry C. Ramos, who popularized the drink at his own bar on Gravier, The Stag, from 1907 on.
What is it: Gin, heavy cream, lemon juice, lime juice, simple syrup, egg white, orange flower water. The Ramos Gin Fizz is Henry C. Ramos' gussied up version of a Silver Fizz (gin, lemon, sugar, egg white, soda water). It is a silky, rich, beautiful, elegant drink.


Drink name: Café Brûlot
Where it was invented: Antoine’s Restaurant, French Quarter, New Orleans.
Who invented it: Jules Alciatore, son of the restaurant’s founder Antoine Alciatore.
What is it: Cognac, Grand Marnier or Cointreau, dark brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, strong New Orleans chicory coffee. A grand after-dinner flaming coffee drink prepared tableside with lots of ceremony and showmanship. At New Orleans’ grander restaurants (and certain grand homes as well), a special brûlot set with a ladle for straining out the fruit peel and spices is used, some of them made from sterling silver.


Drink name: Roffignac
Where it was invented: Signature cocktail at the former Maylie’s restaurant, New Orleans.
Who invented it: Obscure, but named for Count Louis Philippe Joseph de Roffignac, who was mayor in the 1820s.
What is it? Raspberry shrub, cognac, simple syrup, soda water. It's like a brandy highball with raspberry shrub. Stanley Clisby Arthur’s classic tome Famous New Orleans Drinks and How To Mix ‘em gave a recipe with whiskey and an odd ingredient called "red Hembarig." Nobody could figure out the ingredient until food writer Robert F. Moss realized that it was a conflation of the German words for "raspberry" and "vinegar" — himbeeressig, aka raspberry shrub.
*The Roffignac gained popularity around this time but exact year of creation is unknown.

Early 1900s

Drink name: Cocktail à la Louisiane
Where it was invented: Restaurant de la Louisiane, New Orleans.
Who invented it: Obscure Stanley Clisby Arthur lists it in his 1937 book.
What is it: Rye, Bénédictine, sweet vermouth, Herbsaint or absinthe, Peychaud’s Bitters. A cousin to both the Sazerac and the Vieux Carré with elements of each.


Drink name: Vieux Carré
Where it was invented: Hotel Monteleone, French Quarter, New Orleans.

Who invented it: Monteleone head bartender Walter Bergeron.
What is it: Rye, cognac, sweet vermouth, Bénédictine, Angostura bitters, Peychaud’s bitters. Pronounced "VOO ka-RAY," it translates from French to "Old Square" and is an old name for New Orleans’ French Quarter. Mr. Bergeron was the head bartender of the hotel’s cocktail lounge, pre-dating the current Carousel Bar, which opened in 1949.


Drink name: Hurricane
Where it was invented: Pat O’Brien’s Bar, St. Peter St., French Quarter, New Orleans.
Who invented it: Benson "Pat" O’Brien and Charlie Cantrell. According to the story, post prohibition there was a glut of rum and Pat and Charlie's liquor distributor would only sell them other booze if they agreed to take 50 cases of rum they didn't want. So, they concocted a mixture using a large amount of rum, passion fruit syrup and lemon juice, and it took off.
What is it: Dark rum, passion fruit syrup, fresh lemon juice or lime juice, garnished with orange slice and a cherry.


Drink name: Arnaud’s Special Cocktail
When it was invented: 1940s-1950s
Where it was invented: Arnaud’s French 75, New Orleans.
Who invented it: It was the popular house cocktail of the bar after World War II, but who actually invented it is unclear.
What is it: Scotch, Dubonnet Rouge, orange bitters similar to a Rob Roy.

Drink name: Bywater
Where it was invented: Arnaud’s French 75, New Orleans.
Who invented it: French 75 bartender Chris Hannah created the drink in honor of his favorite New Orleans neighborhood, Bywater. And like the Vieux Carré is to the Manhattan, the Bywater is to the Brooklyn.
What is it: Aged rum, Green Chartreuse, Averna Amaro, velvet falernum. A variation on the obscure Brooklyn cocktail.

Bourbon Milk Punch

New Orleans is known for a handful of classic drinks, including the Sazerac and Vieux Carré. But when the prior night’s extracurricular activities require a soothing pick-me-up, countless inhabitants of and visitors to the Crescent City opt for the fortifying charms of Milk Punch.

The Milk Punch is an old drink. Printed recipes date its invention to at least the 1600s, well before its association with New Orleans. But French Quarter establishments like Brennan’s and Arnaud’s French 75 Bar deserve credit for perfecting the version as it’s known today. The drink can be made with a variety of spirits, from French brandy (a classic choice) to all-American bourbon, as seen in this recipe from Sarah Baird, author of “New Orleans Cocktails.”

The Bourbon Milk Punch combines its namesake spirit with whole milk, simple syrup and vanilla extract. Freshly grated nutmeg dusts the top of the drink, providing a sprinkling of warm aromatics with each sip. Think of the cocktail like Eggnog without the egg. It’s meant to be rich and creamy, so whole milk is the way to go here. Low-fat milk and certainly skim milk will produce a thinner, less satisfying drink, so it’s best to leave those for cereal.

The Bourbon Milk Punch may be called on most often during brunch, but its comforting sensibilities also make it a great nightcap. Therein lies its super power: the ability to kickstart your day or gently bring it to a close.

13 Best Mardi Gras Drinks That Are Famous in New Orleans

As anyone who has ever traveled to New Orleans for its notoriously raucous Fat Tuesday festivities will tell you: No Mardi Gras celebration is complete without glittery masks, colorful parades, beaded necklaces (in purple, green, and gold, of course), sugar-coated king cake&mdashand lots of extravagant drinks.

That's because while the Big Easy is the birthplace of many brag-worthy things&mdashCafe du Monde, jazz music, and Reese Witherspoon, to name a few&mdashits greatest claim to fame may be that many of the most enduring drinks were invented in New Orleans, including the nearly two-centuries-old Sazerac, the crowd-pleasing Ramos Gin Fizz, and the famously fruity Hurricane (which also happens to be the unofficial drink of Mardi Gras).

And while Mardi Gras in New Orleans will look very different this year (all official parades have been cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic), the good news is that you can easily get a taste of the action right at home on February 16: Just whip up some of the city's most iconic foods (think: grits, biscuits, and beignets), make yourself one the most popular drinks in New Orleans, and turn on the Hoda Kotb-hosted Mardi Gras for All Y'all (kicking off on February 12).

Ahead, we've compiled a list of the best Mardi Grad drinks&mdashwhether you prefer your cocktails to be tequila-based or rum-based, sweet or stiff, or even nonalcoholic&mdashall of which will get you in the Carnival spirit.

Frozen Southern Milk Punch Recipe

Welcome to Frozen Drinks Week on Food Republic. We&rsquore excited to bring you a bunch of stories that will make surviving the summer heat a little more &mdash spirited. Along with contributing to Food Republic, Kara Newman is the spirits editor of Wine Enthusiast and authority in the shaking and stirring of drinks game. She is the author of the incredibly useful Cocktails for a Crowd, a book that explains the art of &ldquococktail batching&rdquo among other things. We asked her for her favorite frozen drink and she sent us a New Orleans classic.

I first tried milk punch in New Orleans, where it&rsquos a Sunday brunch staple and every bar and restaurant has its own version, often shaken or blended with ice. For a large group, try this tantalizing rendition, which is frozen to a pleasingly slushy consistency. Although it takes at least three hours to freeze, it can be left in the freezer up to a day. Plus, this method doesn&rsquot contain added ice, so there&rsquos no additional water to dilute the drink.

Note that this punch should be served in chilled cocktail glasses or wine goblets, so plan ahead and put them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Classic New Orleans Recipes

Todd Coleman

New Orleans is arguably the culinary capital of the United States. With influences from Europe, Africa, and America, the city has a vibrant, unique food culture. Long-standing Cajun and Creole restaurants like Brennan’s, Brigtsen’s, Bon Ton Cafe, Commander’s Palace, and Galatoire’s are keeping the city’s cuisine alive. Whether you’re putting together a Cajun seafood boil with crawfish and corn or making a classic gumbo, we’ve rounded up all the New Orleans recipes you need for a Big Easy feast.

There are a million ways to make gumbo. Every cook has their own recipe for this thick, hearty meat stew. What remains relatively constant is the base: the trinity of celery, bell peppers, and onions, and a dark flour-based roux for thickening. From there you can experiment—try our versions with smoked turkey, duck, or fried chicken, Andouille is a traditional addition to any gumbo. For an elegant twist on the dish, try using smoking goose and foie gras.

Crawfish are a New Orleans staple. The simplest way to eat them is in a big seafood boil with shrimp, corn, and potatoes. For something cooler, try our cajun crawfish salad creamy with mayonnaise. Maybe the most classic way to prepare crawfish is to make etouffee, a creamy stew of crawfish tails, tomato, and paprika. Served with white rice, it’s an unbeatable comfort food.

While we’re talking shellfish, oysters are another iconic New Orleans food. It’s hard to beat them raw on the half shell, but oysters Rockefeller comes close. To make the dish, invented at Antoine’s in 1889, oysters are topped with chopped vegetables and bread crumbs and boiled.

Get a taste of the Big Easy with these New Orleans recipes.

Boudin Blanc

In 1805, Meriwether Lewis ate buffalo boudin blanc cooked by Toussaint Charbonneau, Sacagawea’s husband, deeming it “one of the greatest delicacies of the forest.” Russell Moore of Camino in Oakland, California, substitutes pork and chicken for buffalo in his modern version, whipping the mixture to yield a smooth, light stuffing.

Crawfish Pie

To make this Louisiana classic, a savory filling of crawfish, aromatics, and tomatoes is baked in a flaky pastry dough.

Crawfish Etouffée

Crawfish tails are cooked with tomatoes, paprika, and cream to make a luscious stew. Get the recipe for Crawfish Etouffée »

Commander’s Palace Shrimp & Tasso Henican

Red pepper jelly and pickled okra and onions add piquancy to this dish.

Brennan’s Turtle Soup

A touch of sherry heightens the flavor of a rich, silky turtle soup thick with tomatoes—a throwback dish in most other places, but not in New Orleans.

Tommy’s Pompano en Papillote

Pompano filets enrobed in a seafood sauce are baked in parchment-paper packets at Tommy’s Cuisine.

Brennan’s Bananas Foster

Banana liqueur heightens the flavor of the bananas in this flambeed dessert from the New Orleans restaurant Brennan’s.

LeRuth’s Red Shrimp Rémoulade

Spicy paprika and whole-grain mustard sauce coats plump shrimp in this classic New Orleans red rémoulade from the late chef Warren Leruth.

Galatoire’s Rémoulade Blanc

Inspired by a rémoulade served in New Orleans’ Galatoire’s, this white, mayonnaise-y blend of Creole mustard, horseradish, cayenne, and white pepper is rooted in the classic French recipe.

Cajun Seafood Boil

This spicy boil is inspired by one served at Charlie’s Seafood in Harahan, Louisiana.

Brennan’s Eggs Hussarde

This take on eggs Benedict incorporates a rich red wine sauce.

Mr. B’s Barbecued Shrimp

Jumbo peel-and-eat shrimp are bathed in a tangy, spicy butter in this classic dish.

Brigtsen’s Oysters Bienville

This oyster dish gets its robust flavors from bacon, ham, and sherry.

Brigtsen’s Scallops with Sweet Potato Puree and Onion Marmalade

Sweet potato puree and onion marmalade enhance the natural sweetness of scallops in this dish. Get the recipe for Brigtsen’s Scallops with Sweet Potato Puree and Onion Marmalade »

Brigtsen’s Jalapeño Shrimp Coleslaw

Creamy seafood coleslaw is the perfect accompaniment to Creole-spiced seafood.

Brigtsen’s Oysters LeRuth

Sweet crabmeat and shrimp enrich the stuffing of these broiled oysters.

Brigtsen’s Jalapeño Shrimp Cornbread

Baked and served in individual ramekins, this spicy seafood cornbread has a spoonably soft, luscious texture. Get the recipe for Brigtsen’s Jalapeño Shrimp Cornbread

Mr. B’s Gumbo Ya-Ya

This dark-roux gumbo originates in Cajun country. Get the recipe for Mr. B’s Gumbo Ya-Ya »

Smoked Turkey and Andouille Gumbo

Made with smoked turkey wings and a dark roux, this is a medley of rich, smoky, and roasted flavors.

Smoked Duck Gumbo

Prejean’s restaurant in Lafayette, Louisiana, dishes up this rich gumbo chock full of smoked duck and andouille sausage. Get the recipe for Smoked Duck Gumbo »

Smothered Okra

Pickled okra is great smothered in tomato. Get the recipe for Smothered Okra »

Smoked Goose and Foie Gras Gumbo

Smoked Goose and Foie Gras Gumbo

Fried Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

New Orleans chef Donald Link was born and raised in the Cajun town of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and this rustic gumbo, which is often served at his St. Charles Avenue restaurant Herbsaint, always reminds him of home. To give the gumbo added flavor, Link makes his roux with the same oil he uses to fry the chicken, which he later shreds and adds to the pot, along with his homemade andouille sausage. The result is a dark, thick, rustic stew with just the right amount of heat.

Crawfish Pasta

Versions of this satisfying, cream-laced crawfish pasta are served at restaurants throughout Louisiana and Mississippi. The level of heat from hot sauce is left up to the cook.

Cajun Crawfish Salad

Cooked and chopped shrimp can be used in place of crawfish for this Cajun salad adapted from one in Justin Wilson’s Homegrown Louisiana Cookin’ (Macmillan, 1990).

Cajun Benedict


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Easy Mardi Gras Appetizers and Finger Foods

Hot Muffuletta Dip

A fun twist on the classic Muffuletta sandwich, this New Orleans-inspired dip is the perfect cheesy addition to your Mardi Gras festivities.


  • 1 (8-oz.) Package of Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 cup Cubed Salami
  • 1 (6-oz.) Jar Pitted Green Olives, drained
  • ½ cup Roasted Red Peppers, drained and chopped
  • ½ cup Giardiniera, drained
  • 4 ounces Provolone Cheese, cubed
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh Parsley, chopped
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Put all ingredients except parsley into a large bowl and mix until everything is coated in the cream cheese and well-blended. Then, transfer the mix to a 9-inch pie plate.
  3. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the dip is bubbling and hot. Remove and sprinkle with parsley.
  4. Serve with a selection of crackers, crusty French bread, or tortilla chips.

Classic Hush Puppies

This southern staple is the perfect addition to your Fat Tuesday table setting. They’re crispy, sweet and savory, and are surprisingly easy to make


  • 2 cups Cornmeal
  • 1 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3 Tbsp Green Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons Buttermilk
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  • Vegetable Oil, for frying
  1. Sift together cornmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
  2. Stir in onions, buttermilk, and egg until thoroughly mixed. The result will be a batter-like consistency.
  3. Heat oil to about 375 degrees F and drop the batter by the spoonful (about 2 tablespoons each). Fry until golden brown.
  4. Remove each fritter and place on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Serve hot.

Spicy Peel and Eat Shrimp

It wouldn’t be a Mardi Gras party without the kick of something spicy. This spicy shrimp recipe is easy to make and fun to eat, making it the perfect addition to your Fat Tuesday appetizer menu.


  • 6 Bacon strips, diced
  • 1 cup Butter, cubed
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Seafood Seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1-1/2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp Hot Sauce
  • 1/4 tsp each Dried Basil, Oregano, and Thyme
  • 1-1/2 pounds Uncooked Shell-on Shrimp
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until partially cooked but not crispy. Drain excess fat and stir in all other ingredients except shrimp. Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes.
  3. Place shrimp in an ungreased 13 by 9-in baking dish. Add the bacon mixture to the dish and bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes. Throughout the cooking time, stir the shrimp around twice.
  4. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Chicken Creole Deviled Eggs

The creaminess of classic deviled eggs meets the kick of creole spice in these chicken creole deviled eggs. We think your guests will have trouble stopping after just one!


  • 6 Eggs, hard boiled
  • 1/2 cup Chicken, cooked and diced
  • 5 Tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Honey Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Creole Seasoning (or ¼ tsp each of salt, garlic powder, and paprika, plus a pinch of dried thyme, ground cumin, and cayenne pepper)
  • 1/8 tsp Hot Pepper Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, minced
  1. Cut the hard-boiled eggs in half lengthwise and remove the yolks. Set the whites aside and place the yolks in a small bowl.
  2. Mash the yolks with a fork, stirring in all ingredients except parsley.
  3. Once the yolk mixture is blended, pipe or spoon into each egg white half.
  4. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Just before serving, sprinkle with minced parsley.

Kicked Up Creole Sausage Balls

Sausage balls are a traditional southern appetizer for holidays and family gatherings. In this recipe, they get a Creole-twist, making them perfect for Mardi Grad celebrations.


  • 2 1/4 cups Biscuit Mix
  • 2 tsp Creole Seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp Chives, chopped
  • 1 lb hot or mild Ground Pork Breakfast Sausage, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk
  • 3 Tbsp Mustard, whole grain or Dijon
  • 2 Tbsp Onion, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and line 2 baking sheets in parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mix together the biscuit mix, creole seasoning, and chives.
  2. Add the sausage, buttermilk, mustard, and onion. Use your hands to thoroughly combine everything. Once well-blended, mix in the shredded cheese.
  3. Use your hands to roll the mixture into about 1 ½-inch sized balls. Place onto the baking sheets about 1-inch apart and bake for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Serve warm with a side of mustard for dipping.

Celebrate Mardi Gras with Help from Foodtown

Why travel all the way to New Orleans when you can have your own Mardi Grad celebrations right here at home? With these easy appetizer recipes, any gathering can feel like an indulgent Fat Tuesday celebration. Plan a visit to your local Foodtown grocery store to stock up on everything you’ll need.

Browse our Weekly Circular and download our digital coupon app to ensure you never miss out on great savings. After all, indulging is all the more enjoyable when backed by low prices!

For 66 years, the Foodtown banner has proudly served the communities of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Our mission is to be the best grocery retailer in our market by:


Hear us out: Yes, the official cocktail of NOLA is the Sazerac, but if there was an official drink of Mardi Gras, it'd be the Hurricane. And that's exactly why no Mardi Gras party (yes, eating beignets on your couch counts, too!) is complete without the bright and boozy cocktail, which includes two types of rum, passion fruit juice, orange juice, freshly-squeezed lime juice, simple syrup, and grenadine. (Bonus points if you serve it in the tall glass—that resembles a hurricane lamp—that it was named after.)

Holiday Milk Punch

What is the official drink of New Orleans? According to the Louisiana state legislature, it’s the Sazerac, with its old-world decadence of cognac (and later rye) and absinthe. Unofficially, others swear by the Ramos Gin Fizz, named for Henry Ramos, who ran the city’s Imperial Cabinet Saloon. But a small, though vocal, minority will make a strong case for another Crescent City favorite: milk punch.

Traditionally, milk punch is exactly what it sounds like: usually whole milk or half-and-half, combined with either brandy or bourbon, rum, some sweetness (usually simple syrup), and a touch of vanilla extract. Most bartenders will grate nutmeg or cinnamon on top. If that sounds like a great drink for the holidays, it is. In its classic form, milk punch is like a boozier, less saccharine version of a Christmas eggnog. But it’s also great with lunch, especially after a long and indulgent evening—the sort of leisurely midday idyll that makes New Orleans New Orleans.

“We make gallons of it,” says Chris Hannah, the head bartender at Arnaud’s French 75 in the French Quarter. Arnaud’s has had milk punch on its menu since the 1930s. “Every single table orders them.”

Though milk punch has a long history in Louisiana, its American origins lie in the colonial-era cities along the East Coast, back when both milk and brandy were thought to have powerful medicinal properties. From there, it spread quickly, even meriting a mention in the barman Jerry Thomas’s 1862 classic guide, How to Mix Drinks, widely regarded as the first-ever cocktail book.

Like most time-honored recipes, milk punch is flexible. You can swap out bourbon for brandy, use darker or lighter rum, add maple syrup in place of simple syrup—you name it. Last spring Parliament, a cocktail den in Dallas, made a St. Patrick’s Day–themed variation using Jameson Irish whiskey and Lucky Charms cereal. There’s even a clarified milk punch, in which hot milk is added to the booze mixture when the milk curdles, you skim off the solids, leaving behind a clear, but still sweet and creamy, liquid. More popular along the East Coast, the clarified version has been making inroads in the South—including New Orleans itself.

Just don’t tell that to the folks at Arnaud’s, who still prefer their milk punch the old-fashioned way. And while it might not harbor the medicinal qualities once claimed, Hannah says his noontime crowd well appreciates the drink’s restorative powers. “It’s an eye-opener,” he says. “It coats your stomach. It puts you back on your feet with a little buzz.” This time of year, who couldn’t use a little of that?

Planter's Punch Cocktail

Planter's punch is a classic rum drink that first appeared in print in a 1908 edition of the New York Times. Like many other drinks, its origin is disputed: One claim refers to the Planter's House Hotel in St. Louis, and another tells of its invention in Jamaica. But no matter where it was created, it is known as a cheerful cocktail that is designed to be garnished with a variety of fruits, as many as your glass will hold. Top with berries, cherries, citrus, or tropical fruit—whatever may be in season.

The planter's punch takes the name "punch" in the traditional sense. Rather than the party-sized serving associated with the word today, the definition of a classic punch is that of a fruity mix spiked with liquor and garnished with lots of fruit. This means that every single ingredient in this punch, including the rum, grenadine, and pineapple juice, can be replaced with whatever you like, so feel free to give it your personal spin. Though it is optional, adding a splash of club soda creates a livelier drink.

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