Josh Hull, wine specialist at the Fine Wine & Good Spirits Premium Collection store in Hawthorne Center, Fruitville Pike, offers the following advice for pairing Mardi Gras/New Orleans cuisine with wine.

• Spicy foods make up a good portion of Mardi Gras favorites, including gumbo and jambalaya. Avoid a red wine altogether. The tannins commonly found in most red wines will only exacerbate the heat of spicy foods. Spicy foods pair well with an off-dry white, like Riesling or Gewürztraminer, or a dry Rose, as the sugar cuts through the spice.

• A non-spicy red beans and rice dish pairs well with a light wine. Try a fresh dry Rose, a Beaujolais or other light red.

• Fried shrimp, oysters and other basic seafood pair well with light-bodied wines that won't overwhelm the fish. A Muscadet, Chablis or Vinho Verde goes great with the fresh, clean taste of seafood.

• Beignets pair well with a late harvest dessert wine that matches the sweetness of the sugar. Riesling is a good option for this dessert.

• Crab and shrimp etouffee pairs well with an off-dry Riesling. It won't overwhelm the seafood, and the sweetness will cut through the spiciness.

For those looking for a Mardi Gras cocktail, try this Hurricane recipe from Fine Wine & Good Spirits.

HURRICANE COCKTAIL

2 ounces white rum

2 ounces dark rum

1 ounces lime juice

1 ounces orange juice

2 ounces passion fruit juice

1/2 ounces simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)

1/2 ounce Grenadine

Garnish: Orange slice and cherry

Glass: Hurricane

Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a large Hurricane glass filled with fresh ice.

Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.



Claudia W. Esbenshade is a features reporter for the Lifestyle section and columnist of Crafting 101. She is also the editor of FreestyleShe can be reached at cesbenshade@lnpnews.com or (717) 291-2994. You can also follow @LancLifestyle on Twitter.