Come one, come all to the greatest free show on earth! Mardi Gras 2018 is upon us. With parades rolling nearly every day for nearly half of February, it’s good to have a game plan in place to get the most out of your Mardi Gras. We’ve taken four of our favorite parades and matched them with the perfect cocktail so you won’t have to miss a single minute of the incredible music or leave behind a one-of-a-kind parade throw in search of the perfect beverage (or closest bathroom). And, since it’s New Orleans, you can take your drink with you back to the parade route in any container but glass.
Our guide to Parades and Cocktails
This parade is a local favorite beloved for its satirical jabs at local and national politics. Its natural mate is Three Muses’ Orange Blossom Sazerac, the perfect twist on the classic New Orleans’ Sazerac. The first sip is as in-your-face as the floats but mellows out as the one-of-a-kind flavor and fun ensue. Saturday, January 27, 6:30 p.m.
The best part about the Muses parade is the crowd and the excitement. Since it rolls the Thursday evening before Mardi Gras Day, it boasts loyal local followers with serious traditions, and everyone in the crowd is amped for the five days of revelry ahead. For this fun and fiery night, a Pimm’s cup is a perfect fit with its sweet and spicy undertones. Grab one from the historic and charming Columns Hotel on St. Charles Avenue and fight your way through the crowd and catch a Muses shoe. Thursday, February 8, 6:30 p.m.
This noon “Animal House” style parade is guaranteed to be the highlight of your trip. An early roll time calls for a light and fizzy drink with plenty of punch, making the French 75 at Café Adelaide & the Swizzle Stick Bar an ideal way to start the day. Get ready to catch a golden plunger in one hand as you hold this delicious creation in the other. Saturday, February 10, 12:00 p.m.
Krewe of Bacchus is one of the largest parades of Carnival. It’s has 33 grandiose floats and you are bound to walk away with your bags and arms overflowing with parade throws. They always manage to snag big names for their Kings, along with the best marching bands in New Orleans. Some of the best in the city is the white sangria at Maïs Arepas, a hidden gem located half a block off the parade route. Sunday, February 11, 5:15 p.m.
The Krewe of Orpheus is one of the most diverse and accepting krewes in New Orleans allowing men, women, and the LGBTQ community with open arms into their fun-loving group. With over 1,300 members, including founding member Harry Connick Jr., this krewe has two requirements if you want in: be of good character and have a spirited personality. This parade rolls on Lundi Gras, so make sure you don’t miss it. And you definitely don’t want to miss the Scorpion Shot, at one of the funnest bars on Tchoupitoulas – Lucy’s. Monday, February 12th at 6:00 p.m.
Happy Mardi Gras!