1 tsp. absinthe or pastis (Herbesaint, Pernod, or Ricard)
1 tsp. simple syrup (or more to taste)
3 to 4 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
3 oz. of rye whiskey or bourbon
Chill an old-fashioned glass. Coat the inside of the glass with the absinthe or pastis, leaving a slight puddle in the glass bottom. Add the simple syrup and the bitters. In a separate mixing glass, combine the whiskey and the simple syrup with ice and stir. Strain the contents of the mixing glass into the old-fashioned glass. Twist a strip of lemon peel over the surface of the drink and place in drink.
A couple of notes here on preparing to make this drink: you may find Peychaud's Bitters hard to come by. If it's not available in your local liquor store, you'll have better luck ordering it online.
Commercial distillation of absinthe was illegal up until 2007 due to its high alcohol level. It is becoming easier and easier to find; this your local liquor store may stock.
Finally, simple syrup. Easy for me to say, you say. But don't be afraid to do a little home cooking to prepare for your cocktail hour. It is as simple as it promises: one part sugar to one part water, shaken in a bottle until the sugar dissolves. Sealed and refrigerated, simple syrup will keep for up to six months.
Finally, and because we here in New York are expecting yet another snowfall, let's try a Milk Punch, a drink that that warms the heart. It's a cold weather drink that Brennan's on Royal Street lays claim to inventing. Perfect for a snowfall, and perfect for beginning a Mardi Gras with a truly Fat Tuesday flair.
Brandy Milk Punch
2 oz. brandy or bourbon
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. superfine sugar
3 ice cubes
In a cocktail shaker, combine the brandy, milk, and sugar with three ice cubes and shake until frothy, about one minute. Strain into a double-old fashioned glass with cracked ice. Sprinkle with nutmeg and serve.
It's a "clear the calendar, don't answer any email" kind of drink. But you weren't going to do anything anyway. It's Mardi Gras.