To be quite honest, I think the true reasons for Mardi Gras actually fall upon deaf ears. As I child, I just assumed Mardi Gras was a big party consisting of floats, masks, and moon pies. It wasn't until later I found out what one actually had to do to earn those famous beads (the horror).
But the real Mardi Gras is so much more than the commercialism most of us have come to know. In fact, Mardi Gras has been around since 1582! New Orleans locals just took it to a whole different level. From the best king cake bakery to which "krewe" one is a member of, they take it all very seriously.
If you're not from New Orleans, it doesn't mean you still can't celebrate Mardi Gras in style. In fact, it's the perfect excuse to throw a party. And my favorite way to entertain is a good ol' fashioned Sunday brunch. It takes a little pressure off (now is not the time to get all formal) and allows you to sit back and enjoy yourself.
We Southerners don't often shy away from a little nip before breakfast, and this milk punch is the perfect way to start off your meal -- not too sweet, not too boozy. Served alongside cinnamon-cream cheese bars, a savory breakfast casserole, and a homemade king cake, you'll be saying "y'all" in no time!
Do you have any Mardi Gras traditions? Perhaps a famous gumbo recipe? I'd love to hear it.
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup bourbon or whiskey
6 tablespoons confectioners sugar
Splash of pure vanilla extract
Chocolate syrup, for garnish
Place milk, cream, bourbon, sugar, and vanilla in a blender. Add a handful of ice cubes. Blend until frothy and chilled. Serve with a drizzle of chocolate syrup.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)