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.
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
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.