The Mardi Gras season is celebrated worldwide, as a time of revelry and joy. In the United States, the epicenter of partying is the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, although many other cities along the Gulf Coast and the Midwest host their own celebrations. The season is known as “Carnival” in central and South America, and is a time looked forward to by residents of those regions. In Europe, it is celebrated as well; Germans call the season “Fasching”, while other countries still refer to it as “Carnival”. Officially beginning on Epiphany, or the Twelfth Day of Christmas, masked balls and street parades culminate in the celebration known as Fat Tuesday (translated into French: “Mardi Gras”), the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of the Lenten season in the Roman Catholic calendar.
Mardi Gras is a great time to celebrate, and many people wish to host their own special party to mark this festive pre-Lent blowout. Mardi Gras parties have a reputation for being rowdy, drunken affairs, but a conscientious host and a bit of help from a professional bartending service can create a glamorous, fun, and elegant party for guests to enjoy.
Hosting a Mardi Gras-Themed Party
Several ingredients go into the “gumbo” that is the Mardi Gras party. The four key ingredients are drinks, music, and food — with the fourth element being a group of people ready to have fun. There is no one “right” way to host a Mardi Gras themed party, but a few additional considerations can such a party a celebration to remember.
The Mardi Gras colors are gold, green, and purple. Decorate the party space with these colors to help set the tone for celebration. Plastic beads, just like the ones tossed from parade floats in the Big Easy, are a great addition to the festivities. Masks are a staple of Mardi Gras celebrations since the beginning of the season’s history; Ask your guests to wear masks or provide masks for them when they arrive.
To help enhance the theme, Creole-inspired food choices should be available for party guests. Boiled shrimp or whole crawfish are time-honored favorites, as is a big pot of gumbo or crowd-favorite red beans and rice with Cajun sausage. Spicy foods pair well with bold cocktails, too.
For music, anything upbeat gets people moving. Popular favorites at parties in New Orleans include brass bands playing jazz or funk, as well as R&B groups. Replicate the festive New Orleans atmosphere with a selection of music; create an iPod playlist beforehand and play it through the venue’s stereo system to eliminate the need for a DJ.
Cocktails for a Mardi Gras Party
Drinks, of course, are central to many parties, and nothing could be truer than a wild Mardi Gras celebration filled with delicious beverages. To make party hosting as easy as possible, consider hiring a professional bartending service like the quality services provided by The Bartender Company, known throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for their impeccable service and careful attention to detail. A professional bartending service can help party hosts select drinks to serve, whether they are curated seasonal cocktails, wine selections, or craft beer choices.
Two cocktail favorites stand out at Mardi Gras parties, lending an authentic New Orleans vibe to any celebration. These cocktails are the classic Hurricane and the traditional Sazerac (or even the “flamed-absinthe” version). A talented bartender can mix up these flavorful cocktails, adding life to the party with fresh ingredients and a touch of style.
With these tips, it is easier than ever to host a Mardi Gras-themed affair that party guests will talk about for years to come!